Irina Anissimova, CPA, CFF
|Posted on July 11, 2015 at 4:10 PM|
Yesterday chat with my hairdresser which goes with a hair cut made me think of a triangle wife-husband-mistress (or husband-wife-lover) and who is to blame for it. I have been on both wife and mistress sides of it myself and I have talked to many men who found themselves in the middle, so here is my "expert opinion" on the issue:
First, the party responsible for this whole arrangement is the cheating spouse and not the other two participants. This arrangement does not go with a highly conflicted marriage, so its existence itself is predicated on the relationship where the other spouse does not have any suspicions and is more or less content with his/her marital life. The outsider (mistress or lover) can have no clue about what is going inside the marriage and either does not know at first that the cheater is married or is deceived into thinking that the marriage is de facto defunct and the cheated spouse does not care. The outsider is offered something he/she finds appealing and available at little or no cost. The only person who should be able to foresee what he/she is starting is the cheating spouse because he/she is the one who makes a decision to engage with the outsider. So yes, I believe that it is the cheating spouse who should bear the responsibility and the blame.
Interestingly, men in the middle usually do not realize what they have got themselves into until they are found out and suddenly find themselves confronted with the urgent need to make unpleasant choices. I have not talked to enough women in the middle to make any conclusions about their perceptions.
In modern times, when divorce is easy to get and extra-marital affairs bring with them no shame or social disapproval, the triangular arrangement is very unstable. The longer it goes, the closer is the time it blows up and the louder is the bang.
Spending time with the outsider requires lying to the cheated spouse. Usually this time also increases to a point when the cheated spouse starts feeling neglected. Lying is difficult and takes more and more effort over time, so eventually, the cheated spouse becomes suspicious and watchful while the outsider grows to be more and more expectant and demanding. When the cheated spouse finds out about the ongoing affair, there is nothing to compel her/him to accept it, there is no real economic necessity or social pressure, like 150 years ago.
I am loss averse, so I believe that for the cheating spouse and the outsider it is best not to get oneself into a triangle.
The outsider does not always have a choice at the start. When the explosion occurs, it is better for him/her to run fast and far from the perpetrator - he/she is not worth keeping, having demonstrated his/her dishonesty and inability (or lack of desire) to resolve his/her own problems.
The cheating spouse, who has the choice at the start, is better off erring on the side of caution and ending/suspending a promising outside relationship until his/her marriage is resolved. It is better (and usually much cheaper) to get a divorce first and then to find another long term partner, not the other way around.