Infidelity is perhaps as old as marriage. And, along with the growing tribe of cheating spouses, there are some partners who remain blissfully unaware of any damage to their marriage.
Interestingly, the Infidelity Facts website states that up to 41 per cent of spouses who cheat actually admit to their affair. “It’s nothing new, but more in the open now,” says Sarika Pilot Chaudhry.
Many, who are prone to experimenting, do it guilt-free as long as they’re meeting “responsibilities” in the domestic space. Mrs and Mr Shah were the most perfect couple; they made the most brilliant hosts at parties and seemed inseparable. Later, the husband was seen romancing Nirali in another city. He reasoned, “I love my wife, but since we have been married for so long, I am a bit bored and need that excitement. Nirali is also married, so it’s ‘safe’! I love it when she accompanies me on an official trip as we can spend time exclusively. I am enjoying it while it lasts.”
Psychiatrist Dr Himanshu Saxena believes males by nature are polygamous. He agrees that Indians are more open about expressing their sexuality now. “Often, it’s marital disharmony that leads to extra-marital affairs. In arranged marriages, the spouses may not click, and look for options elsewhere. A liberal media and generally more openness with the opposite sex, such as colleagues, bring people closer emotionally and sexually.” He adds, “The seven-year itch persists and if marital relations stale, a fresh person appears more interesting.”
For some, an affair provides something lacking in their own marriage, which could be sex or mental stimulation. Rajesh Goyal, married for 12 years and recently blessed with a son says, “I don’t feel guilty. My wife has no reason to complain; I give her all that a loving husband would, but my girlfriend is my ideal companion and lover. And, one can’t marry everyone they love, right?”
For Maya, it’s just about sex, “I love my husband deeply and can’t dream of any other man in my life. Unfortunately, he has a low libido and I don’t want to lead the life of a nun; I am young and have my desires, so if it’s a man that excites me, I simply have to go ahead.”
Then there are the serial cheaters or the sex addicts! ‘Sex is wilder and more exciting with a stranger,” shares Krishna.
Is it worth it?
Says socialite Sonu Wassan, “To bring back the spark in the marriage, an affair can act as a catalyst.” Adds Arjun Sawhney, who runs a PR firm, “Humans are not monogamous, so if you feel it’s fine and your partner is okay with it, go for it. Variety is the spice of life.”
Comedian Gurpreet Ghuggi warns, “I think one gets into this purely for sex and it’s not worth risking your marriage.”
In ‘open marriages’, individuals have to learn the art of backing off before things become too hot to handle. Ultimately, whether it’s an affair of the mind or for sexual pleasure, it’s the families they want to go home to!
(Some names have been changed to protect identity)