If you have read much of what I have written, you know that while adultery causes a lot of divorces, it is usually not the primary reason a marriage fails. The failed marriage leads to cheating –it is a symptom of the disease in most cases, not the disease itself. Nevertheless, where people that cheat meet is pretty predictable, and I thought I would spend a few minutes talking about them.
Work: The number one place that people who cheat meet is work. They may be co-workers or there may be a client or customer relationship, but if you put unhappy people of the opposite sex in a situation where they are communicating about anything, it can lead to trouble. I think in all of these areas, the key is access. It is the ability for married people of the opposite sex to be engaged in private community with one another that leads to inappropriate behavior. So if you are suspicious that your spouse is being unfaithful, the first place to look is a person with whom they have a legitimate business relationship. If you want to guard your heart or the heart of your spouse in these situations, you have to limit the access to privacy. Not in a crazy, controlling type of way, but in a mutual decision to place healthy boundaries in place type of way. For example, you and your spouse should have an agreement that you will never go to lunch with someone of the opposite sex. One should also keep the door open if in a meeting with someone of the opposite sex. I also believe it is a good idea for spouses to visit their partners’ workplaces on a regular basis.
Online: The social media pandemic is fascinating and tragic. I actually did an online poll you may have seen when I was brainstorming about this post. Social media is a representation of the “top 5%” of life. People usually do not post about their problem children, depression medication, porn addiction or overbearing mother. They post pictures when they are all dressed up, on a vacation or when their kids are doing fun stuff in their sports uniforms. You do not see the fights over the spilled ice cream or the dog pooping on the carpet. Facebook or any online media is false reality. It is fantasy. Sure, you can see a picture of someone, get their email address, find out where they work and see their marital status, but can you really know someone through social media? Of course not! But what Facebook does is allow people to connect in a way that was impossible ten years ago. I bet if you asked more senior divorce attorneys what was a place that people would meet to cheat twenty years ago, they would say high school reunions. Facebook is a high school or college reunion that happens every day of the year. Oh BTW, life was easy and uncomplicated in high school and college. Heck, even in law school my rent was only $175 a month.
Through the Kids: People who have kids automatically have something to talk about. A common experience that breaks the ice for more intimate conversation that leads to –well, doing it. In all sadness, however, it is the kids who are most effected by the decision to walk down the infidelity road. You know, new love is like anesthesia. It displaces reality through a rush of testosterone or adrenaline and makes us do stupid stuff. A smart counselor friend of mine told me that “strange nookie” is the strongest drug known to man. The truth is, you put men and women in a situation where they are interacting with one another on an intimate level, and it will lead to chaos.
Church: Church’s are like hospitals because both house people that are very sick. I am one of them. They are places where people who need spiritual attention go to get it. At church, people are literally wearing their Sunday best. I am of the opinion that we are all broken spiritually and we need to be fed. God is love. God resides in perfect community in the Holy Trinity. Everyone needs love and community. People seeking after God are actively looking for it. When the love dynamic is broken at home, and that is the reality in way more than half of our marriages in America, it creates a situation wherein under the right circumstances, we find the false love and false truth of adultery at the place where you would least suspect it. It is a sad reality that adultery is alive and well in our churches.
The Rest: Bars, Spouse’s friends, Las Vegas, Business trips, the Gym, Neighbors, Grocery stores, etc. People who cheat can meet just about anywhere. I only listed a few. If you are married, there are few good reasons to be in a bar without your spouse. It is just asking for trouble. I guess the same holds true for Las Vegas. Just watch the commercials. Your actions may stay in Vegas, but the ramifications follow your tail home- trust me. Unfortunately, business trips are often unavoidable. The little bit I have traveled for work -I know the road can be a lonely place. The gym is a good one. Most of the time people go to the gym alone and they are surrounded by people that are either fit or trying to get fit- people that care about their body image. As far as your spouse’s friends or a neighbor….. Really? How can that be a good idea? I get it. These folks are easy access, but you are asking for more trouble than you can take if you choose to cheat with someone with whom there is a close personal relationship with your spouse –even if it is just through proximity.