‘10% extramarital affairs for sex, 90% for emotional soothing’

| | ABASH PARIDA
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‘10% extramarital affairs for sex, 90% for emotional soothing’

Thursday, 28 July 2022 | PNS | ABASH PARIDA

A row of recent controversies associated with a popular Odia film actor have become the buzz of media as well as become content for gossiping. This controversy is all about suspicion of infidelity. The actor and his female friend cum co-actor were harassed, humiliated and questioned by the actor’s wife publicly. Lamenting the extramarital affairs of her husband, the actor’s wife ventilated her anger.

 

 

The rage of actor’s wife was very natural because she could not see her future as a wife. However, the cases have been registered and investigation is going on. Social media universities are divided on this issue of extramarital relationship.

 

The actor’s wife claimed in an interview that her husband had started the extramarital relationship, through dating apps and social media, with one of female co-actors duringCovid 19 pandemic. Yes it is true; this Covid 19 pandemic has increased our digital accessibility. Availability of so many online dating apps such as Tinder, Sugarbook ,WeChat and Telegram gives a myriad of chance to people to engage themselves in illicit affairs. The kernel of truth as well as uses of dating or social media app is exposed when the person is caught.  As mentioned earlier, the dating apps are in rife. There is a substantial increase in its users worldwide.

 

 

In India , as per a report , there is an increase of 112% dating app users  during this pandemic. Many scholars opine that dating apps are mostly used by people who are unhappy with their current relationship or who are looking for any sort of spark outside their marriage. Discarding this claim of spouse cheating, worldwide relationship counsellors and clinical sexologists draw our attention towards individual relationship approach and its commitment. Additionally they say that dating apps are not the instrument to encourage spouse cheating but it will be the new normal in lifestyle choice option.

 

Many recent studies on causes of extramarital relationship reveal that individuals, who travelled frequently or individuals, who preferred to stay outside home, generally develop extramarital relationship or infidelity. This pandemic had restricted the individual movement and travel. Stay at home was one of the panaceas for Covid 19.   Increase in domestic violence, emotional outburst, suicides and depression were very common during pandemic. Most of the extramarital affairs during pandemic are not about sex addiction or sexual encounter but about emotional healing. Many infidelity cases are also due to relationship burden. A research says only 10% extramarital affairs are based on sex encounter whereas 90% extramarital relationships are to find out emotional soothing. Some other causes of developing extra marital relationship are boredom, naturalization of infidelity, misunderstanding and conflict between partners and falling in love with third person

 

Gleeden , a portal for extramarital affairs, claims that it has as many as 10 lakhs users in India. It has conducted a survey in India. The respondents of this survey are women. Gleeden claims that 48% of Indian women users are married with children. Further to this, 78% women users are well educated and 74% are well placed in jobs. Gleeden asks questions on why Indian women are on spouse cheating mode. The answer is very surprising. Gleeden reveals that as many as 76% women rate themselves better in terms of their physical appearance and find their husbands less attractive.

 

Gleeden survey is a way forward mechanism of gender equality. Last year the State Population Report-2021 under the flagship of United Nation Population Fund (UNPF) was released.  The theme was “ MY BODY IS MY OWN” .  In a nutshell this report focuses upon the women rights on their bodily autonomy and self-determination.  Bodily autonomy is simply defined in two folds such as power to decide and empower to make choices about your body. It is important for woman dignity. Woman as like a man can decide to select partners, when and with whom they can live or have sex. Woman can take decision to when or whether to become pregnant or not. Women can have all the freedom to select the health services when they need. So as per Gleeden, Indian women users do not want to label themselves as merely as caretakers at home or showpiece at bedroom. Indian women now give attention to their emotional needs.

 

Extramarital relationship and infidelity are not gendered. Both male and female can cheat their partners or spouse. Spouse cheating may land up in divorce but not in all cases. In India, both marriage and family act not only as institutions but also as shock absorber. Marriage as a bond is so strong that it subsides the relationship trauma between spouses. We understand that adultery is good ground of divorce. 20 to 40% divorces are caused by extramarital affairs. In India divorce rate is 1% worldwide. And 90% divorce is fixed by family. Many males and females are oblivious about their spouse cheating and many are ignoring the spouse cheating by considering the peripheral factors such as children, social status and their future. A research reveals a peculiar fact that if partners have more than 5 years or more than 5 years long relationship then there is maximum chance that one partner may forgive another cheater partner. It means long term relationship works in forgiveness.

 

In India, a Supreme Court Judgement- 2018 has decriminalised adultery. This judgement is a brave move towards gender equality and a threat to patriarchy. In another recent judgement, Madras HC says if extramarital relationship gives mental cruelty to spouse then the accused can be imprisoned in 498(A) IPC. The two judgments are different in nature. The cruel side of extra marital relationship is revealed by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), its data shows that romantic relationship including extramartial relationship makes 10% of all murders in India.

 

The ideology of monogamy is in threat due to extramarital relationship. It is to believe here that a survey by Gallup Poll says 91% of both men and women in America find infidelity as morally wrong. Extramarital relationship is a threat to foundation of family, marriage and relationship. It is the result of absence of moral values. It is the outcome of trust breaching.

 

Extramarital relationship is pathological. However, the solution to avoid extramarital relationship is the strong emotional, spiritual and physical connection between partners.

 

(Dr Parida is an Assistant Professor in Sociology, email id: abash.parida@gmail.com)

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