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Beneath the Betrayal
Mom with a View

Beneath the Betrayal

Looking for meaning in all the wrong places.


I don’t know what to say but I don’t feel I can ignore it either. Apparently there is a website with over 8 million members whose slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.” (That’s a long way from “Eat dessert first”!)

Yes, you read that correctly. It’s not for making matches. It’s not the odd married person among sincere singles. It’s ALL married people. It’s FOR married people.

I don’t think membership in this site is spurred by physical desire. I think that people are bored, lonely, confused, frightened. They’re afraid of growing older, afraid of feeling trapped, afraid of not really accomplishing anything. They’re afraid of the lack of meaning, the emptiness that may greet them every day, afraid of the inability of their relationships – friends, children and even spouses – to fill the hole inside.

So they search for a quick fix, a drug, a brief moment when all else fades away.

But at what cost? What price do they pay for such a deep betrayal? Who do they see when they look in the mirror? The internal abyss seems to only widen.

And that’s if they’re not caught. That doesn’t include the terrible humiliation and hurt of the spouse and children.

It begs the question: if this is how married people behave, what exactly does their marriage mean?

Commitment means that despite our frustrations and dissatisfactions, we are bound to this other human being.

I think that many of us don’t fully understand the true meaning of commitment. Commitment means that despite our personal pains and disappointments, despite our frustrations and dissatisfactions, despite the fact that life is indeed short, we are bound to this other human being. We are, in a word, committed to them

Commitment means that even if their looks change (and they will), even if their financial circumstances change (and they may), even if their sense of joy and excitement fades, we are intertwined with one another.

And once this recognition is clear, there is another important reality to confront. Our spouses are not the architects of our challenges, nor the solution to them -- although there are definitely certain struggles that are easier when faced together.

Life’s ultimate challenge – to find joy and meaning midst the pain and effort – is an individual one, resolved only through a personal and ongoing relationship with the Almighty.

The people who run these websites cash in (literally I’m sure) on the misery of others and destroy families. They should be ashamed of themselves.

But for the members who use it, I feel pity. I think they’re really looking for hope and meaning. And assuming that is what they want, I can certainly direct them to a website that can help them there…

April 2, 2011

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Visitor Comments: 13

(11) Karen, May 18, 2011 8:01 PM


My ex husband had several affaits. Looking back it seems that he did not see our marriage as a relationship with natural ups and downs. So when we were facing bakruptcy and I was struggling to keep everything together he was busy with a mistress. I desperately needed his help and support. He was unavailable. When our oldest son should have been preparing for bar mitzvah his father was too busy to help. When our teenage daughter needed support, love and discipline during a difficult time he was "not comfortable" with her. I think that this was a pervaisve behavioral pattern perhaps similar to narcicism. Today my ex rarely sees our adult childrren and hasn't visited his elderly mother in more than 4 years. It is hard to understand this behavior.

(10) Anonymous, April 10, 2011 5:47 PM

Not quite so simple & one-sided as you've described it.

Many years ago as a husband in early middle age I had an affair. As your article corectly suggests, it was not spurred by physical desire. What i needed was a non-judgmental person to talk to, especially re. my anxities & disappointments. Anytime i tried to initiate such discussion with my wife, she practically ripped my head off, apparently on the basis that A REAL MAN has no business ever feeling sad or scared or worried about anything. "Grow up & be a man!" I was told (or, more accurately, snarled at). Eventually i found a good listener & confidante in a kind & gentle lady at my workplace....& eventually one form of intimacy flowed into another & we had an affair. This affair dealt a devastating blow to my marriage, but on the other hand it provided a great boost to my low self-esteem & a much needed balm to my chronic anxiety. And at a time when, still with young kids to support & a mortgage to pay, the cost & disruption of a divorce would have been impossible to handle.

Aliza, April 20, 2011 1:35 PM

no excuse

Did counseling not occur to you? It's much less humiliating to have an affair, than to be seen going to a marriage counselor?? Even if you went alone, the therapist could have given you the tools to try to improve your situation without the devastating blow to your marriage - and to your wife. It would have been a far less hurtful and selfish way to boost your low self-esteem.

(9) Helen Shloimovitz Ferrieux, April 10, 2011 3:05 PM


Sitting at a café I couldn't help overhearing two men , both displaying wide wedding bands, chattering excitedly to each other about their extracurricular agenda. I was particularly disheartened & sickened when one advised the other "Always have an affair with a married woman. She'll never ask you to divorce your wife".

(8) Sandy Goodman, April 8, 2011 2:50 AM

Your spouse will always be beautiful in your eyes

In Proverbs it says: charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but the woman who fears G-d, SHE shall be praised. Why the extra pronoun, "She"? The word "she" refers to the charming and beautiful woman who fears G-d. As long as she fears G-d in both her rituals and her human relationships and she is loyal to and compatible with her husband, she will always be beautiful and charming in his eyes long after the charm has lost its luster and he physical beauty has faded. ( By the way the same things applies to a man as with a woman) My wife Chana & I after many years of marriage still find each other highly charming and beautiful in each others' eyes. Chana always tells me that I'm smitten. Yes I am smitten by hear and not by our cocker spaniel, Samson. (The only time that one can say that I am smitten by Samson is when I say that we have a beautiful dog) Sandy Goodman.

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