Revised UTNE Reader project June 1998 : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

UTNE Reader, June 1998 The Way of the Hypocrite - How to Make Adultery Work for all of us Miriam Karmel Feldman Submitted by Jill M. Katrin

Miriam Karmel Feldman believes that in regard to adultery, hypocrisy may be the best policy. Gone are the days when cheating was uniformly denounced and the discreet cheater quietly tolerated, states Feldman. Feldmans article reflects the attitudes and beliefs of Jonathan Rauchs writing in The New Republic. Adultery is best handled hypocritically -- which is to say sensitively, writes Rauch. He sums up adultery by viewing it as a necessary acceptance of mankind, and that we should look the other way if we suspect that someone is committing adultery. On the other hand, we cant defend adultery. Our choices as an individual are to either accept adultery or expose and disgrace the the adulterer.

Eric Altermans article in the Elle, argues that adultery is at times both wrong and okay. He states, Just as children can be a reason to keep a less-than-ideal marriage together, they can also provide an argument for why a spouse who cheats occasionally but remains anchored in the family is -- more admirable than one who cuts and runs.

Feldman also discussed how women get it worse. He listed the names of Emma Bovar, Anna Karenina, Hester Pryenne, Kelly Flinn, and the current public fav- orite, Monica Lewinsky. She went on to conclude that really nobody is a winner in these situations. Even if Clinton avoids impeachment, everybody -- his wife, his daughter, his minions, his public -- has paid a price, states Feldman.

Adultery is a sin, but it does happen. Surprisingly, it happens to families where we would least expect it to happen. I agreed with Miriam Feldman when she stated, Certainly our attitudes toward adultery have shifted in years. The media - once a willing partner in covering up the peccadilloes of the rich and famous, now aggressively expose them - even as such indiscretions seem to matter less and less to a largely forgiving public. The quickly formed public opinions of President Clinton and Monical Lewinsky grew tiresome. I grew more frustrated with our society and the views many people were taking. Feldman stated, As the media pounded away at President Clintons alleded philandering, his popularity soared, and the useful taboo against adultery was gradually lifted. My youngest child lost respect for President Clinton. He was angry with the Presidents actions and lack of trustworthiness.

Adultery is best handled hypocritally - which is to say, sensitively. In other words, dont ask, and for sure dont tell, states Jonathan Rauch. I disagree with this statement. If my husband was cheating on me, I would hope my friends would come forth and disclose this information no matter how painful it would be. We are sure fast to put forth judgement of people. We dont know how people feel inside, and we dont know how they will react in these circumstances.

A very good friend of mine confided in me when her husband committed adultery. She went through some unbearble times. News of this sort travels fast in a small community. She said she could hardly go anywhere because she felt people were staring at her, judging her, watching and waiting for her next move. I tried to be that supportive friend. We talked and cried a lot. I tried not to give advice. I believe our visits and close relationship helped her move on in her life. She has since relocated from our community and is rebuilding her relationship with her husband and family. The family has adjusted well with good jobs, a nice community with friends and nearby family members. We still keep in touch over the phone or through visits.

What stands out most with this experience, is how everyone in their family was affected as a result. They loved living here, surrounded by their extended families and friends. The children were active in sports and other activities. This family was actively involved in the community, and enjoyed it. I think about their loss and how strong they all had to be to start all over again.

I agreed with Feldman when he talked about nobody being a winner. No one is a winner in these situations. I dont think you can ever forget about this sin if it directly affects you, but I do think you can learn to block it out of your mind and move forward. I don't think we have the right to judge people because of how they choose to live their lives. It is unfortunate that people dont think about the consequences before they get self-absorbed in their own personal desires.

My colleagues also viewed adultery as a sin. They talked about being able to forgive, but not forget. They also talked about how fast we are to judge people and how we assume peoples feelings. One colleague said after she read the article, it made her feel very appreciative of the way her life is. Another colleague discussed how we are raised to learn and respect morals. As educators, we teach morals in our classrooms. We discuss the importance of trustworthiness and trusting relationships.

In summary, trust is the basis of building relationships. When adultery is committed, the trust is broken; thus, the relationship.

-- Anonymous, December 07, 1998

Moderation questions? read the FAQ