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What is love? what is marriage? and is it ever ok to have an affair?

  1. MissStoryTeller profile image80
    MissStoryTellerposted 12 months ago

    So I met up with a couple of friends last weekend and we started talking about the subject line. These are girls from my childhood whom I haven't seen in a while. One of these friends had an arranged marriage recently ... and when I say "arranged marriage" I mean it in the literal sense in that she married the guy only three hours after meeting him - completely at her own discretion (no parental pressures).

    The other friend is still single, never had a boyfriend and to be honest has a really naive and somewhat narrow view of love and "true love" .. etc ..

    I myself have been in relationships a few times and when I look back at what my idea of "love" and "marriage" and "affairs" was when I was 21, it is very different to what my views are on it now. I am a lot more open minded and believe that loves comes in all forms and shapes and that relationships are not always necessarily about marriage. It was interesting to see the contrast in our thoughts on the subject so I thought I'd post it here to see what other peoples thoughts are.

    So here are my questions:

    1. Is love real? how would you define love? and can love be a choice?

    2. What is marriage? why do people get married? and going forward will marriage still be relevant in society?

    3. Why does society have a stigma against unmarried women, but not men?

    4. Does age, nationality, religion and sex really matter when it comes to love and marriage?

    5. Can a person love more than one person at the same time?

    6. Is it wrong to have an affair if you are married?

    7. Do you believe that women make more sacrifices in marriage then men? If so do you think we do it because society expects it of us? and should we do it because society expects it of us?

    I'm hoping for some some open minded thinking on this subject, different views and ideas and am looking forward to reading your replies.

    - MST

    1. dashingscorpio profile image86
      dashingscorpioposted 12 months ago in reply to this

      1. Yes I believe in love.
      There are varying (degrees) of love. As you noted we as we grow older, become more mature and wiser our definition of "romantic love" changes however our definition of platonic, parental, sibling, and friendship love generally remains the same.

      I believe our definition of "romantic love" changes because early on we did not know who (we) were, what we wanted and needed in a mate. My definition of a "soul-mate" is someone who shares your same values, wants the same things for the relationship that you do, naturally agrees with you on how to obtain those things, and last but least there is a mutual depth of love and desire for one another.

      Having said that it's possible to experience "real love" and at some point "grow apart" in the future. Life after all is a (personal) journey.

      2. Marriage is a state/country certified legal contract awarding certain benefits to a couple that have decided to become "one" family.

      No one loves you (more) because your title went from girlfriend to wife or boyfriend to husband. Commitment is a (behavior) and not a document.
      Lots of people are married without being committed or faithful.

      3. I suppose it all depends on where one lives if there is a stigma against women who are unmarried. Women tend to put that pressure on themselves! Most men enjoy dating women who have no interest in getting married.

      However a lot of women view dating as a (means to an end). If marriage is not the goal then they are somehow being "used" or "giving away the milk for free." Anyone with that mindset doesn't see them self as being "equal" to men. Once you stop caring about what (other people) think you suddenly stop (looking for) stigma reactions from others. You're free!

      4. Of course age matters because one has to have a certain level of maturity and wisdom to make wise choices on their own behalf.
      Most conversations we have with anyone generally don't start with: "Remember when?" We talk about current events in the news, weekend plans, movies we saw, and assorted problems in our lives.
      This explains why co-workers of different age groups can be friends!

      With regard to large age gaps in relationships the real issue has to do with health costs and concerns and the amount of time the couple may have.

      Religion, nationality, race, and other things are nothing more than "condiments" or preferences one has for their sandwich of love. Each of us is entitled to have our own preferences or desires. The goal again is to find someone who (naturally agrees) with you!

      Like attracts like and opposites attract divorce attorneys!smile

      5. Yes a person can (love) more than one person at the same time!However a person cannot be "in love" with more than one person.

      If you're truly "in love" you simply have no interest or desire to invest your free time with someone else! You can't wait to get off work or for the weekend to arrive, to talk, plan, go out, and make love....etc

      If you find yourself loving a second person it means you're not "in love" with the first person. To love someone is to simply (care deeply) about them.
      When someone says: "I love you but I'm not (in love) with you." What they are telling you is: "I care a lot about you BUT you are not (the one)!"
      In other words (their heart is still available) for "the one" if he/she comes along.

      6. Affairs are wrong in the sense that if one promised not see anyone else and breaks their promise. However if a couple has an "open marriage" or "no strings attached" relationship then it's not wrong. Sometimes people make assumptions that they're in an "exclusive relationship" without having a discussion. What makes affairs wrong is betrayal, deceit, secrecy, lies.
      If no one has made anyone a promise there is no cheating.
      Having said that I can see why people oftentimes chose to cheat. I suspect people cheat in order to STAY or tolerate their marriage/relationship.

      Most people don't cheat with the goal of replacing one relationship with another one. The cheater is looking to hold onto all that is "good" in his/her primary relationship while addressing their other "needs" on the side.

      For example: Lets say a long-time married couple has a sexless marriage. The wife lost all desire after going through menopause. They've had discussions and tried a few things but she simply isn't interested in sex.
      From the husband's point of view he has three options.

      1. Accept the fact that (his) sex life is over.

      2. Run down to the courthouse and file for divorce, move out of his home into an apartment, pay child support and possibly alimony, become a weekend dad, split up family and friends as they're incline to choose sides.

      3. Find a woman that is physically attractive and sexually desires him.

      When one considers most cheaters don't expect to get caught it's understandable why many men in that situation might choose option # 3.

      Most cheaters have no interest in breakups and divorce. They want to (compliment) what they already have. "Combine various attributes".

      The mature thing would be for them to never get married if they feel they can't live without getting 100% of what they want. Marriage is about accepting what one's spouse (has to offer) and deciding what they don't have is something you can live without! That requires realistic maturity.
      Know yourself, love yourself, and trust yourself.

      Having said that : (When we change our circumstances change.)
      In our example about the woman losing interest in having sex with her husband. It would be (unrealistic on her part) to think that he would be happy with someone who no longer desires him! Change causes change.

      7. No I don't believe (mature) women make more sacrifices in marriage than men. People "sacrifice" for what (they) want!
      (That's true for all of us!) Someone always wants it more!
      Look at the one who is quicker to compromise and initiates making up.

      If it is the woman who (really wants) to get married most likely she's going to do whatever is possible to make it easier for her man to ask her to marry him. Doing "whatever it takes" is not a sacrifice unless there is something else you'd rather be doing! If you got what (you wanted) then the so called "work" is actually "a labor of love" or doing the maintenance required to nurture the marriage (you) wanted!

      You get to choose whether or not you want to be married and to whom you will say (yes) to be married to. People are fond of saying: "You can't help who you fall in love with." However they negate or quickly forget all the times they said (yes) along the way! If a man asks a woman for her contact information on the subway and she declines then that's it!
      (No future)

      On the other hand if she says, "yes", and then they talk on the phone a few times and he asks her out and she says, "yes" again, they go out and he leans in to kiss her good-night and she kisses back, go out again and again, have sex, take weekend getaways, spend holidays together, and so on then it's all a result her having said yes over and over again!
      A thousand (yeses) is not a "miracle" found at the end of cupid's arrow.

      If we get to (choose) who we spend our time with aren't we therefore choosing who we will eventually "fall in love" with?
      I think so! One man's opinion!smile


    2. Stevennix2001 profile image83
      Stevennix2001posted 12 months ago in reply to this

      I haven't read all the replies to this post, so I apologize if someone has already brought these up. 

      To address  all your questions:

      1.  Love isn't a choice, as you can't force yourself to fall in love with anyone, but you can choose whether or not you want to be with someone; in spite of how you might feel about them.  However, you can force yourself to fall out of love with someone over time. 

      2.   Yes and no. It really depends on who you ask. I remember when I first arrived on hubpages that I used to believe marriage was the ultimate way to show your love towards a person you were romantically interested in.  Now, I kind of don't see it as being necessary anymore because you can still have all the benefits of marriage without being married necessarily; at least in the U.S.  I mean the last I checked there's no laws saying you can't have a family unless you're married.  Plus, premarital sex is a lot more common these days, so you don't have to marry to have sex with someone you love.

      In fact, the only real benefit to marriage is tax breaks, and that's basically it.  Having said all that though if I were dating a woman that wanted to get married someday, then I probably would just for her sake.  However, if she felt the same way about marriage as I do, then I'd probably be just as happy just dating her. 

      3.  Because men can still have babies whenever they want, while women only have a short time span for that choice.  Also, the media  is biased towards men, so that's why you'll notice that more women are objectified as sex objects in media versus men because the consumers for most TV shows and movies  are often men. 

      4.  It really depends on who you ask, as everyone has different values.  I personally don't think age generally matters when it comes to romantic relationships, as long as both parties love each other; unless of course one of the parties  happen to be  underage while dating an adult, then OBVIOUSLY  YOU'D HAVE TO BE AGAINST IT FOR OBVIOUS REASONS.   

      Nationality doesn't really matter to me, as I'm generally attracted to most races; except black people. Nothing against them, as I'm  NOT a racist or anything. I  just don't find most black people physically attractive.  Granted, there have been exceptions over the years like Halle Berry, one of my ex gfs, and Vivica A. Fox to name a few.  But apart from them, i generally don't feel attracted to black people.  Sorry if that came out as racist, and I apologize if it does, but I'm just stating a preference.

      As far as religion goes, I generally don't care about that; unless she's a satanic worshiper, then I'd probably stay away from her as much as humanly possible.  Nothing against her, but no...just no.  Plus, I wouldn't date a woman that was into voodoo simply because I'd be too scared that every time we got into an argument that she'd put a curse on my ass, or something. lol.  Apart from those two religious practices, then I wouldn't care what religion she celebrated. 

      5.   It's very possible actually.  Just ask my ex about that, as she cheated on me with some guy that she loved too, which led to a lot of issues while we were together, so it's very possible.  The only problem is whether or not you want to share your lover with someone else. If you're okay with it, then more power to you.  If you're not, then  you're more than welcome to leave the relationship anytime you want.

      6.  Generally speaking, it is wrong to have an affair while you're married; unless both the husband and wife consent to it, or they happen to be in an open relationship.  Apart from those scenarios, then cheating is never okay.

      7.  I honestly don't know how to answer this, as this largely depends on the couple.  In some cases, men will sacrifice more for the marriage, while for other couples, it'll be the exact opposite.  Personally, I think all relationships ideally speaking should be about give and take.   If you have a relationship where one party is always taking, while the other is always giving, then eventually that relationship is going to break down over time.  I truly believe that the best type of relationship to be in is where both parties give and take equally, or at least attempt to.   Just my two cents anyway.

  2. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
    Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months ago

    If you are a theist, marriage is better than if you are an atheist.
    Why do I believe this?

    1. Theists have God on their side. When things go wrong in the relationship they have another source of comfort.

    2. Belief in God brings forth valuable boundaries contained in The Ten Commandments. One of the commandments is "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery." Affairs are ABSOLUTE no-nos for many reasons. There is science behind religion. For one thing, adultery brings forth germs into the relationship. You are adulterating your own body fluids and possibly subjecting them to your partner. What if YOU picked up a germ from your partner due to his or her adulterating the mucus / blood fluids?

    3.You are subjecting your (former) loved one to deception.
    How would YOU feel if the one you had trusted and loved was discovered to be having an affair behind your back? The heart is the seat of feeling and love. People do suffer from broken hearts.

    It is best to divorce before you "date" others.

    Better find God before you find a significant other.
    Those are my thoughts.
    I have more.

    1. dashingscorpio profile image86
      dashingscorpioposted 12 months ago in reply to this

      If you chose the (wrong mate) for yourself it probably doesn't matter whether you are a theist or an atheist.

      Lets face it, human beings make mistakes!
      It would be foolish of us to believe we make mistakes in every area of life with the (exception of choosing a mate) for ourselves!
      I believe the #1 cause for divorce is choosing the wrong mate.
      A divorce is a public admission that a mistake was made in the mate selection process for one or both people.

      Although I'm not an atheist I do believe that one who is still may have friends and family to turn to for a source of comfort.

      As for the bible it is fairly accepted by most people that they "cherry pick" which verses they will choose to follow. There are many fornicators who consider themselves to be Christian!

      Ecclesiastes 7:20 (KJV)
      "For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not."

      1. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
        Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months ago in reply to this

        All relationships are mistakes. lol  Without God you are really sunk.
        A divorce is totally giving up on God.
        But sometimes you just can't help it.

    2. wilderness profile image95
      wildernessposted 12 months ago in reply to this

      You might have a good case for theists having better marriages if it were not for the fact that one of the most "theist" nations in the world (the US) has a marriage failure rate of over 50%.  Although I agree fully with your #3, the other two do not seem to fit reality.

      Is it possible that an unreasoned belief in a god, perhaps coupled with a total dependence on that god to provide boundaries and guidelines, translates into an unreasoned and unrealistic belief in what a marriage is and what it requires?  Perhaps coupled with a dependence on someone else other than self to maintain that marriage and keep it viable?

      1. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
        Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months ago in reply to this

        What is marriage?
        What does it require?

        What do you mean by this sentence fragment, wilderness?
        <" Perhaps coupled with a dependence on someone else other than self to maintain that marriage and keep it viable?'>

        Love brings people together, but maybe its just physical attraction. What keeps them together after they aggravate each other to no end for a decade or so?

        It doesn't matter so much if the couple divorces … except to the kids.

        1. wilderness profile image95
          wildernessposted 12 months ago in reply to this

          It means that theists depend on their god for guidance and solutions rather than doing the hard work themselves.  Perhaps marriages fail so often because of that mindset; an unwillingness to dig within themselves for answers and action rather than depend on "divine intervention" changing their partners?  All the prayer in the world isn't going to save a marriage unless both partners work hard at it.

          1. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
            Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months ago in reply to this

            I would surmise atheists would expect a lot out of each other:
            Expectations that can never be delivered.
            And then, displays of disappointment, resentment, sulking, moodiness might be used as a way to control the other in an attempt to modify the other's behavior.
            The other would retreat and break the rule of not going to bed angry and presto you are looking at a negative spiral that could last for a week or more.
            How do atheists bring positivity back into the relationship?

            1. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
              Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months ago in reply to this

              A theist would go talk to God and get some answers. God would say, "Well you know, when your spouse was small his aunt took care of him and always expected him to bla bla bla … so you should realize your spouse is reacting on an unconscious level to past treatment and not consciously responding to the present issue."
              You would then realize your spouse needs clearer explanations and more patience etc.

              Without God in the mix, one doesn't know what to think or do!  One's self is oftentimes not enough!

              1. wilderness profile image95
                wildernessposted 12 months ago in reply to this

                Sorry; a theist will go talk to himself, and that most often produces answers he wants to hear instead of ones that will work but require much effort. 

                Yes - without an imaginary god in the mix one must not only come up with answers but also take responsibility for them.

                But I was just thinking, wondering why the theists marriages fail so often.  Tossing out ideas and ramblings for consideration.

                1. Kathryn L Hill profile image85
                  Kathryn L Hillposted 12 months ago in reply to this

                  They fail because they are dependent on an invisible, silent God.
                  They fail because they cannot really hear God and they try to solve the issues with their own thinking and blind surmises. They try to apply scripture, but usually end up mis-intrepreting scripture and dredging up dogmas from their youth ... Their own thinking fails them.

                  You did not mention how atheists rate.

                  1. wilderness profile image95
                    wildernessposted 12 months ago in reply to this

                    That's kind of the point: any god is silent, so they make up their own "solutions" according to what they want and without regard to what is actually wrong.  The atheist, more experienced at thinking moral problems out for themselves, may do much better.

                    I have no figures, except that among the civilized world the more secular countries don't have as bad a problem.  Difficult to really compare - Brazil for instance (highly theist) outlawed divorce until fairly recently and even then it was very hard to get.  Not surprisingly, Brazil has a low divorce rate.  Most of the figures I saw were for divorces per 1,000 people - a meaningless figure as it depends on how many are married.

  3. colorfulone profile image87
    colorfuloneposted 12 months ago

    MST's thread has a lot of meat in the comments. 
    No milk and honey here. 
    No tickling of ears. 
    I like it.

  4. FatFreddysCat profile image95
    FatFreddysCatposted 12 months ago

    Love and marriage, love and marriage
    Go together like a horse and carriage!
    This I tell ya brother, you can't have one without the ... other!
    Love and marriage, love and marriage
    It's an institute you can't disparage
    Ask the local gennnnn-try, and they will say it's ele-mentryyyyy!
    Try, try, try to separate them, it's an illusion
    Try, try try and you will only come....to this conclusion!