A UK study revealed that women are more distressed by emotional cheating such as adulterous messages sent by a rival to their partner than actual sex
By Harvinder Sandhu
Recently a video of a distressed wife catching her husband in a restaurant with his girlfriend went viral on Facebook. The video was posted by a bystander. The wife was absolutely livid and yelling profanities at, wait a minute … not her husband, but instead at the girlfriend. The wife blamed the woman for being a home wrecker! At no time did she yell at her husband, but the victim wife felt — the woman was to be blamed.
This post had quite a few people talking, with many of us wondering who we will blame if our spouse cheated? Do we blame the outsider or our own spouse?
A recent study done by the researchers at UK’s Cardiff Metropolitan University found that women tend to blame ‘the other woman’, most men lay the guilt on their cheating wives.
The data also discovered that women are more distressed by emotional cheating such as adulterous messages sent by a rival to their partner than actual sex.
On the other hand, men regard physical intimacy to be the worst type of betrayal.
In our heart of hearts, we all know that it takes two to tango, but after talking to few who have been through a betrayal, the prevalent psychology amongst the victim wives is – it is the rival woman at fault.
Hema (name changed) talked about how she found out her husband was seeing someone. “I just saw his text message. It was full of beautiful words, him saying how much he missed her and wanted to see her again soon,” she shared.
Hema continues her story of confronting the husband since she didn’t know the woman so couldn’t directly confront the woman. To my question of who’s to be blamed for the affair, Hema promptly piped that it was the other woman’s fault.
“The woman should know better. She knows the man is married, has children and a wife, a family. This woman is the one who is breaking the family.”
What about the husband’s role? He knows he is married, has children, wife, a family. He chose to have the affair, so should he not be blamed as well?
“Men are men. They will take the opportunity to have sex with any woman. It’s the woman who should know better.”
The psychology seems to be quite common among the Indian women even these days. Blaming the woman in the affair seems to be the way to go as the wronged wife does want her husband back.
He is still the father of her children and the provider in most cases. Women unfortunately need the men more, than showing solidarity to their fellow sisters. At the end of the day the well-being of the children and the core family is the most important.
Many western women over many generations have had the same sentiment as most Indian woman do today; that the man will come home when he is finished with his affair, until then, the woman will keep the family together waiting patiently for the him to return.
In Indian tradition it’s common for men to have a girlfriend outside — someone else to go to for sex. It’s an acceptable practise that is not questioned or acknowledged by either spouse. It’s a given the men will stray, the woman just accepts it as part of life.
A girlfriend told me once how her mother advised her to remember she was the wife and that the man will always come home. This sentiment is believed to be true as when talking to a worker at a shelter for domestic violence, says many women have expressed to her how they had no plans to leave their spouse and that any cheating etc. was normal male behaviour.
Speaking to Simmi Cheema who works with Virginia Sam Transition House, the above theory still holds true among the immigrant women. To them the whole family unity is more important than any hurt personal feelings due to the behaviour of the man. “In fact, I know of several women who have changed themselves to please the spouse, they look how their husband want them to look, they watch their words and try not to create any negative waves at home just to keep the calm around the husband.”
This behaviour is not reserved for Indian women only. It is among women of all nationalities, religion and cultures. It seems we, the women, will find fault with the other woman before we blame the man in the conflict. Is it because we feel betrayed by our sisters? Is it because we think maybe instinctively that men will be men, but women should change, that women should not give in to a married man’s advances?
Kailie(changed name) sees it differently. She thinks it’s more about the wronged wife. “Blaming the other woman is easy. It’s always easier to project the blame than to stop and ask self why this happened.” She continued, “If the wronged woman stopped to look at her marriage, to see exactly how her marriage and her relationship with her husband is, she might have to take responsibility for her part in the breakdown of the relationship.”
Kailie bravely shared how after years of working on herself she realised she was also to be partly blamed for the breakdown of her marriage. That it was not the complete fault of her ex-husband.
The modern Indian women born and educated here tolerate less this behaviour. These young women will blame the husband as much as they blame the other woman, but most will not keep the marriage going. This is probably due to the independence of these women. Education and good paying jobs have created a stronger Indian woman who, most of the time, will walk away from the marriage regardless if there are kids involved or not. Our Indian culture still holds stigma for divorced women, but this is becoming less as parents’ side with their daughters.
At the end, many women will try to keep the family together and to do that, it seems, the blame has to be laid at the other woman’s feet. And for our so called society full of morals — men will be men.