Extramarital affairs: The filmy idea of –jo wada kiya hai nibhana padega (will keep every promise made) has led to many unhappy marriages in India. What leads to these affairs and what’s right or wrong with them? Picture this incident shared by intimacy coach and SheThePeople columnist, Pallavi Barnwal.
“I had a session with a woman who said that her husband has a low sex drive and he is not affectionate enough to show his love or maybe love is missing from the marriage. The woman has tried to talk to her husband about wanting to stay with him as a wife. In response, he did not speak with her for several weeks and they fought a lot and he usually stayed out for business work. After a certain time, there came a phase in which she was very unstable, emotionally vulnerable and alone, and during this time she started talking to a colleague and he gave her emotional support and understood her. She got the response that she was trying to find in her marriage.”
Barnwal says extramarital relationships are not as projected by popular media, culture and societal norms, i.e they are a form of cheating. Barnwal spoke in an interview with SheThePeople says there are too many elements in a relationship that lead to an extramarital affair and to believe it’s simply led by one cheating the other, would be naive.
In the case of the woman mentioned above, Barnwal says the woman was emotionally insecure and alone in her marriage and so during this time she and her colleague got into a physical relationship. What makes it worse, it how the woman was deeply conflicted with her own guilt.
Barnwal, who gets to hear many stories from women who confide in her over issues like cheating and infidelity, says most are suffering loveless or sexless marriages. She adds, the main issue then becomes that the bond of love is or goes absent and is many times driven by the stress caused because of reasons like kids, financial insecurity and societal expectations.
“When bitterness and distance gets created, the marriage is no longer a husband-wife relationship but it’s more like a marriage between two roommates,” says Barnwal.
Low-Sex Drive of Husbands
This is not a lone case. According to a study commissioned by Gleeden, the first portal with a ten lakh user base in India designed for women to encounter extramarital affairs, at least 48 percent of Indian women venturing into extra-marital are mothers and the reason given is a low-sex drive of husbands. This survey was done for the 30-60 years-old age group of women.
“The reason behind this is that as humans we want our existence to be integrated as one existence. But when a person starts cheating or gets into an extramarital affair the life, the personality of that person splits into two and in between these two parts comes dishonesty, lies, deception. This kind of life or riding in two boats at the same time leads many people to a deep conflict or guilt within,” explains Barnwal.
Why Do Some Women Suffer their Marriage?
There are many reasons says Barnwal including possibility of husbands blackmailing wives over the affair. Laws around extramarital relationships, family issues and divorce are complex and couples trying to separate fall into custody fights over children. Barnwal says this is why many women carry on in their marriage because they are worried about losing their kids.
What is the solution?
According to Barnwal, instead of maintaining the status quo, where you feel suffocated and are looking for outside support, one should gather courage and confront their partners that it’s important to talk about these things and solve them.
Otherwise, it is like carrying a marriage for the sake of society. With the absence of relationship, love and affection in a marriage, then has the marriage just become a duty? If there is no love or sexual relationship, then do you think this type of marriage is worth it?