> Family > Mom with a View

Beneath the Betrayal

March 31, 2011 | by Emuna Braverman

Looking for meaning in all the wrong places.

I don’t know what to say but I don’t feel I can ignore it either. Apparently there is a website with over 8 million members whose slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.” (That’s a long way from “Eat dessert first”!)

Yes, you read that correctly. It’s not for making matches. It’s not the odd married person among sincere singles. It’s ALL married people. It’s FOR married people.

I don’t think membership in this site is spurred by physical desire. I think that people are bored, lonely, confused, frightened. They’re afraid of growing older, afraid of feeling trapped, afraid of not really accomplishing anything. They’re afraid of the lack of meaning, the emptiness that may greet them every day, afraid of the inability of their relationships – friends, children and even spouses – to fill the hole inside.

So they search for a quick fix, a drug, a brief moment when all else fades away.

But at what cost? What price do they pay for such a deep betrayal? Who do they see when they look in the mirror? The internal abyss seems to only widen.

And that’s if they’re not caught. That doesn’t include the terrible humiliation and hurt of the spouse and children.

It begs the question: if this is how married people behave, what exactly does their marriage mean?

Commitment means that despite our frustrations and dissatisfactions, we are bound to this other human being.

I think that many of us don’t fully understand the true meaning of commitment. Commitment means that despite our personal pains and disappointments, despite our frustrations and dissatisfactions, despite the fact that life is indeed short, we are bound to this other human being. We are, in a word, committed to them

Commitment means that even if their looks change (and they will), even if their financial circumstances change (and they may), even if their sense of joy and excitement fades, we are intertwined with one another.

And once this recognition is clear, there is another important reality to confront. Our spouses are not the architects of our challenges, nor the solution to them -- although there are definitely certain struggles that are easier when faced together.

Life’s ultimate challenge – to find joy and meaning midst the pain and effort – is an individual one, resolved only through a personal and ongoing relationship with the Almighty.

The people who run these websites cash in (literally I’m sure) on the misery of others and destroy families. They should be ashamed of themselves.

But for the members who use it, I feel pity. I think they’re really looking for hope and meaning. And assuming that is what they want, I can certainly direct them to a website that can help them there…

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