Atheist Scruples: the alibi

Today’s scenario:

A good friend is having an extramarital affair. S/he asks you to provide an alibi. Do you?

Short answer, I wouldn’t want to have to lie to anyone. I suck as a liar. I’d need to ask a few questions to figure out if I’d want to help keep this a secret:

Are you being an ass and messing up something wonderful by sleeping with someone else?
Or does it only look like a wonderful marriage on the surface but is really fraught with frustration and stress?
How well do I know your spouse?
Are there kids involved?
Is the affair with someone also married/also a parent?
Is this seen as some kind of revenge thing? Has the spouse been suspected of sleeping around before this? Not that such a truth would legitimize more cheating…
How long has the affair been going on and to what extent?
Has there been abuse in any way from the spouse?
Bottom line, why did you cheat in the first place?

The bottom line clearly depends on a lot of factors.

Look at the reasons people say they cheat. Examiner.com lists 25 reasons why a guy might. Number one on the list is:

He attracts sexy women who come onto him, and he doesn’t know how to say “no.”

(His logical brain probably does know how to say “no” but it’s overruled by all the animal parts of his brain that trigger the hormones and everything else…)

ABC posted an interview with the creator of AshleyMadison.com:

Noel Biderman said he has built a billion-dollar business betting on infidelity, and now has 25 million members in 37 countries, but doesn’t believe he is encouraging people to cheat, just providing one outlet.

“Long before I launched AshleyMadison there were affairs, and long after I’m gone there will be affairs,” Biderman said. “What I’m trying to do is help people have the more perfect affair.”

“I’m encouraging secrecy, yes,” he added, “but I’m not necessarily encouraging infidelity. I don’t think it needs all that much encouragement.”

At Slate, Hanna Rosin interviewed author Esther Perel recently regarding a book she’s writing on this topic, tentatively called Affairs in the Age of Transparency. I’ve never heard of her, but in her previous book, Mating in Captivity, she posited that seeking “total comfort” in a marriage can stifle “novelty and adventure” and that this upcoming book works as a sequel of sorts.

I can tell you right away the most important sentence in the book, because I’ve lectured all over the world and this is the thing I say that turns heads most often: Very often we don’t go elsewhere because we are looking for another person. We go elsewhere because we are looking for another self. It isn’t so much that we want to leave the person we are with as we want to leave the person we have become.

I can understand that.

…we expect a lot more from our relationships. We expect to be happy. We brought happiness down from the afterlife, first to be an option and then a mandate. So we don’t divorce—or have affairs—because we are unhappy but because we could be happier. And all that is part of the feminist deliberation. I deserve this, I am entitled to this, I can have this! It allows people to finally pursue a desire to feel alive.

I can understand that, too. We think we could be happier.

But does the significant other feel “alive” here? Or betrayed? Or unloved? Or depressed and confused? Devastated? Angry?

Is it selfish of my friend to put his/her quest of happiness/feeling alive above everything else, including the partner promised to be loved and cherished as long as you both shall live? It turns out that sometimes it’s less about pursuing happy and more about finding a meaning for your life.

In addition, if you’re jumping around because you’re always on the lookout for the greener grass, what are you forgetting about what made this place so special to begin with? Who made it special? Is it impossible to make it special again? Maybe it comes down to meaning again. Maybe it comes down to needs as much as wants…

Weigh in. Anyone with experience with this that can add some insight?

Advertisements

2 Responses to Atheist Scruples: the alibi

  1. mikespeir says:

    If there’s anything that will pervert good sense as quickly and reliably as religion, it’s libido.

  2. 1minionsopinion says:

    Yeah, not overly surprising to know people put the ape before the saint. We’ve been apes a lot longer…

%d bloggers like this: