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.”