Updated: May 9, 2012 21:16 IST

Looking outside the comfort zone

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What does one look for? Outside marriage, wonders Vijay Nagaswami Photo: R. Ragu
The Hindu
What does one look for? Outside marriage, wonders Vijay Nagaswami Photo: R. Ragu

It is human to feel attracted to someone other than one's partner, but when is the line of vulnerability crossed, wonders Vijay Nagaswami in his latest book Three's A Crowd

It is believed that marriages are made in heaven, but sometimes the hell in heaven comes in the form of infidelity. Noted Chennai-based psychiatrist Dr. Vijay Nagaswami, who has worked on relationships for 25 years, writes of why a spouse or partner cheats and the many ways of dealing and surviving infidelity in “Three's A Crowd” (Westlandbooks, Rs. 250).

In the book, Nagaswami corrects certain myths regarding infidelity: it is not true that only men have affairs, women do too. Sometimes, the perpetrator is more a victim of the affair than the aggrieved partner and infidelity is not a problem of the modern world, it was prevalent in history.

“Infidelity usually occurs within a certain context, so it is unfair to judge any of the people involved in it. The emotional pain that emerges due to infidelity ought to be addressed first before one identifies the victims or perpetrators in an affair — that is inappropriate.”

What probably has changed, though, are the reasons why women get into affairs. “Earlier, women looked for emotional fulfilment in an affair, but today, they pursue affairs for the same reasons as men. Besides, both men and women spend so much time in the workplace that, at times, intimacy with a colleague is possible and acting on that attraction leads to an affair.” Few know what happens between a couple behind closed doors, which could well lead to infidelity. “Some things in a marriage make one feel vulnerable, and in that moment of vulnerability, lines are crossed.”

Nagaswami says that a single boy or girl who gets involved with a married person go according to an emotional flow while a married person has to constantly be mindful that they are in a life-long relationship. But he contends that “most relationships with married people end up as dead-end relationships.” Nagaswami warns that the initial euphoria of falling in love fades with time. “Romantic love doesn't last long. Once you tire of one love, you go in search of another until it turns out to be an addiction.” It is possible for couples who have experienced infidelity to reconcile, but in some marriages, easy forgiveness doesn't work, according to Nagaswami. “Some marriages are so toxic that there is no starting point of forgiveness. The issues in these alliances go beyond infidelity; those marriages don't have a point of return.”

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@prakash : Are you implying that he may be thinking of his spouse at the time?

from:  Nirbhay
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 19:19 IST

Somewhere I read that nature has never made a man to remain
monogamous; it induces him to propagate his progeny more and more. May
be from age seventeen to seventy two a human male develops millions
and millions of motile sperms which are able to fertilize so many
female eggs. But a woman in her fertile cycle most probably from age
fifteen to fifty produces one egg every thirty days. If she gets
pregnant the natural rhythm is disturbed for several months, so
effectively a woman can give birth to maximum of one dozen babies
(imagine single babies in each birth). A male will always imagine to
impregnate as many women as possible, I think so.

from:  chandrasekaran
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 18:08 IST

The name of commentator no.2 seems to be a case of ' Freudian slip'!!!

from:  prakash
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 17:01 IST

great article..

from:  vivek
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 14:56 IST

Wondering if this concept of monogamy is a Judeo-Christian import in our
country. Did it exist in ancient India? Once this concept of monogamy is
removed, the problem of infidelity does not arise. Perhaps we should
think of it.

from:  R. Bhunaveshwari
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 14:23 IST

Infidelity is certainly a dirty word to both men and women. The esteemed doctor has written
Good books to help married couples and has emerged as a man of high integrity in the
Counseling field. I am certain that this publication will contain the laksman rekhas to one
and all to preserve the sanctity of marriage.

from:  C.p.Chandra das
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 11:00 IST

Infidelity is a dirty word, both to men and women. I have not read DR.Nagaswami's latest
book. He is a great author of repute and I have enjoyed his articles in the Hindu and I have
Real respect for his knowledge as a doctor who had occasion to study the life of many
Couples. He has counseled many couples in life and I am confident, that through this book
He would have definitely urged both married men and women, not to cross the LAKSHMAN
REKHA during a subsisting marriage and to maintain the sanctity of marriage, according to
Manu Smrithi and the Hindu Dharma, he being a true hindu. I am of the view That this
Sanctity applies to all religions in the world.

from:  C.p.Chandra das
Posted on: May 10, 2012 at 02:28 IST
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