Saturday, January 18, 2014

Why infidelity is a double-edged sword

Sunanda Tharoor died. While the actual cause of death is still unknown, what is known is that she was distraught at her husband’s seeming indiscretion. She was heartbroken at his infidelity; he was paying attention to another woman, and in a way that she assumed was detrimental to her marriage.

So she did what many women in her situation would do – confront the perpetrators (her husband and the lady in question); only in this case she did it on social media. The world got to know that something was amiss and although the diplomatic husband later issued a statement that everything was fine with their marriage, the seeds of suspicion had been planted.

Ask any marriage counsellor or psychologist and you will know that when confronted with the shock of a cheating spouse human beings react in similar ways. First there is anger, then there are emotional outbursts, followed by grief, sadness and lastly, action – either the partner chooses to reconcile or seek separation/divorce.

Sunanda Tharoor seemed to have gone through every stage, and almost just as systematically during a very short span of time. At the end of it, she died.

Her husband Shashi Tharoor is distraught and rightfully so. He has lost his wife, friend, companion and lover. While the world can speculate about his alleged affair, the fact of the matter is that Tharoor is as much a loser in this situation as Sunanda was.

Infidelity is a double-edged sword and neither party can get out of it unscathed.

The partner whose spouse cheats on them feels an immense sense of loss – of trust and of the partner ‘you loved and married’. The fear of financial crisis, the complication of children (and the effect this has on them, their future), the shock, the hurt, the anger and the obsession “is he/she with her right now?” can be all consuming. Overcoming infidelity is not impossible but it is a slow and intense process that requires both partners to show commitment to their relationship.

The partner who cheated, on the other hand, does not get away scot-free. A one night stand, a fling, or even a long standing affair becomes a bitter pill to swallow, especially if they never ‘intended’ to hurt their spouse by their actions.

In many cases of infidelity, the cheating partner is unable to let go of their life ‘as they know it’, the children and their home; the comfort of their surroundings and even the spouse they cheated on. Whether they cheat out of disinterest in their marriage, or merely for fun, their carelessness causes their lives to get disrupted as well. When children are involved, there is a huge price to pay.

We may never know the reality of the Tharoor saga. Did he actually have the affair? Did he intend leaving his wife? Was he in love? 

The bottom line remains, that something happened and it has resulted in the death of a fine woman.

May God grant Shashi Tharoor the courage to live with that!

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