During my journey as a web blogger, I have had the opportunity of editing several articles that speak of extramarital relationships liberally. People often talk about falling in love with someone other than their spouse with ease. Yet, the traditional and orthodox norms of monogamy tend to pull them back to the folds of marriage. One the one hand they are tempted by the thrill of pursuing pleasure with a new person, on the other, they’re tethered to the security of a stable relationship.
Even so, the incidence of extramarital affairs is on the rise. Or people have become of vocal about it today. So what has brought on this change? Is adultery no more a crime? Are the societal norms on extramarital affairs are changing? Or is there love in extramarital affairs?
Societal Norms on Extramarital Affairs are Changing?
Well, queries and confessions surrounding extramarital relationships are not a novel concept. They have been prevalent in society for decades now. Segments on infidelity documenting personal problems relating to extramarital affairs have enjoyed prized popularity in magazines and newspapers. However, queries, confessions, or counselling posts were primarily published as anonymous or with a changed name. Things are changing now; the shame and secrecy surrounding affairs are diminishing. Could this mean societal norms on extramarital affairs are changing, or is it simply that people are more honest these days?
There are five major reasons for the increased acceptance of extramarital affairs in Indian society.
Related Reading: The secret behind how extramarital affairs start and how they end
1. We’re surer of our desires
People nowadays are more in touch with their inherent desires, and thus, willing to reject the social constructs which obstruct their pursuit of these desires, both emotional and physical. With adages like YoLo (You Only Live Once) becoming the mantras to live by, people no longer want to lead a life of unfulfilled desires sacrificed at the altar of matrimonial harmony and parental duties. Thus, an infatuation or attraction can lead to an affair with less hesitation and fear about the consequences.
2. A search for love and emotional connect
With hectic routines and busy lifestyles, more and more couples experience a distance creep into the relationship, leaving them feeling lonely in a marriage. The need for emotional connection and validation can be as compelling a reason to follow through on that compelling attraction one’s feelings for a person outside their marriage.
So, is there love in extramarital affairs? Yes, love or emotional attachment is an element as common as lust in extramarital affairs. A renowned therapist and author Esther Perel described the key constituents of infidelity as: “An affair brings together three key elements: a secretive relationship, which is the core structure of an affair; an emotional connection to one degree or another; and sexual alchemy.”
3. Adultery is no longer a crime
Is adultery no more a crime? Yes, in 2018, the Supreme Court of India, in a landmark judgment, suck down a colonial law dating back 158 years that treated adultery as a criminal offence. The old law viewed a man engaging in sex with a married woman – without her husband’s consent – as the abettor of a crime and the woman, a victim.
A five-judge bench of the apex court ruled that law as unconstitutional, arbitrary and archaic. The judgment stated that women should be treated as an equal in a marriage and a husband cannot be seen as the wife’s master, which renders the perpetrator and victim dynamics redundant.
This not only reflects a change in societal norms on extramarital affairs but also emboldens that desires of anyone looking for sexual or emotional gratification outside their marriage.
4. An opportunity to spice things up
When people talk about reasons for extramarital affairs, the desire to spice things up and experience something new features as a common theme. This desire, coupled with the ease to connect with people socially, is an underlying reason behind extramarital affairs becoming more commonplace today.
You can re-connect with a high-school sweetheart or an old crush on social media, or meet a like-minded stranger through work or in a bar. Things just take off from there. The privacy accorded by mobile phones and text messages makes it possible to pursue an affair from the comfort of one’s home, even sitting next to one’s spouse.
5. Lifestyle changes
Changing lifestyles are also a big factor fuelling the rising incidence of extramarital affairs. Being away from one’s partner for long durations due to work is now more common than ever. Add social outings and partying to the mix, and the likelihood of acting on impulses or releasing pent up sexual energies with a night of passionate indulgences increases manifold.
Can Extramarital Affairs be Beneficial?
Considering the growing acceptance around these liaisons in society, it is only natural for one to wonder – Can extramarital affairs be beneficial? Most relationship experts and therapists specializing in couple’s therapy would agree that extramarital affairs can deal a near-fatal blow to marriages, many of which fail to bounce back from this abyss of broken trust.
However, if your partner is not rigid about the notions of monogamy or you can keep you’re the affair concealed for the long haul, an extramarital affair bring some surprising benefits to your marriage.