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A View Of Adultery And Its Lasting Effects Philosophy Essay

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

This essay is about adultery and some of the things that happens to people who are the victims of it. By victims, I not only mean the spouse(s) who was being cheated on, but I am also referring to the children who are in the family unit as well.

People utilize many different words to describe, define and even attempt to dismiss adultery; unfaithfulness, infidelity, playing the field, extramarital relations, having an affair are just a few. The net result of this choice however is the destruction of a personal reputation, trust and respect, while at the same time laying waste to spouse and children alike. Even in the earliest days of civilization adultery was understood to be destructive, thus earning its own “Thou Shalt Not”, in addition to, at least 40 other less than positive references and assorted stories in the Bible.
Many persons respected as champions of marriage such as John Ensign, republican stated his feelings on the sanctity of the marital relationship so greatly that it is “in my mind, worth the extraordinary step of amending our Constitution.” (Miller) This person making such a statement about morality of the marriage commitment shortly after was begging forgiveness due to an adulterous relationship, thus bringing into question the flawed morality, in addition to, the ethical consequences.

I am focusing on the fact that adultery is a selfish and very horrible act that can literally destroy a family. Along with the family being destroyed, the lives of each individual person involved are destroyed as well.
Extramarital affairs are relationships of a sexual manner involving married individuals outside of their marriage. A person in an extramarital affair is involved in infidelity. Using the sources indicated in the annotated bibliography, I will delve into the issue of extramarital affairs tackling the major issues raised in them by describing and analyzing major theories in an argumentative manner along with objections and replies.

The victims of adultery will face many challenges, emotionally and mentally, that could result in some very long term effects. My argument is that adultery does so much damage to a person's emotional and mental well being, that it should be treated as an abusive crime.
In the 21st century adultery is not punished by public shaming, being made into an outcast or worst of all death. Instead adulterous misdeeds done today are bought before courts of law to determine to what extent emotional and mental damage has occurred assassination of character and deformation of one’s reputation.

Adultery Is Abuse

Adultery, to some, may not be that big of a deal, especially if they are the ones committing it. But what happens when a spouse or a partner's whole entire world falls down around them after they learn their partner has committed adultery? Adultery is a selfish and very cruel act that happens every day.

Extramarital affairs have been in existence for arguably as long as the marriage institution has been around. The need for spouses to cheat has been a phenomenon for thousands of years. This can be seen in numerous Bible verses. In ancient Bible times, the matter of adultery was so weighty that there were put severe consequences if anyone was caught committing adultery. These measures were put as a deterrent to anyone who felt tempted to commit adultery. By considering the consequences, there were fewer cases of adultery reported. This stand is supported for instance by the book of Leviticus in Leviticus 20:10, which provides that a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, be it their neighbor’s wife, shall be put to death. This shows adultery has been a societal concern since the advent of human civilization and existence of the documented history.

It not only ruins marriages, but it can literally destroy the lives of everyone around the adulterer. Someone who is a victim of adultery can be presented to large amounts of downfalls in their life. Emotional and mental abuses are two of the major things they will go through.
A while back in history adultery as considered as serious as a “crime” as murder is considered today. Those people who were caught in extra-martial affairs were either shunned from their communities or were subjected to massive humiliation. These steps were taken to frighten those people who would be prone to committing acts of adultery. Adultery was something that “lower class” people would be involved in because it was such a dirty thing. We have gone from adultery being the worse thing a person could do to it now being something that’s considered common amongst everyone. Why people commit adultery can sometimes still be a blunder. Some people think it’s because the person isn’t receiving all his requirements at home, and others think it’s a sick habit.

If the case is bad enough, and the person can't take mentally and emotionally dealing with what their spouse has done, adultery can even lead to death. Its mind boggling that such a selfish act can bring so much pain to so many lives, but it does to thousands of people every day.
Therefore being made to have an ‘A,’ brandished on her chest is quite lenient. As, by law Hester and Dimmesdale deserve to be killed in accordance with community vengeance. In Puritan society, adultery was not seen merely as a matter between the two parties but as a breach of contract between those individuals and the community. Even if a husband wanted his adulterous wife to be saved, she could be sentenced to die as a result of the community’s obligations to its moral and legal statutes. The novel, A Scarlet Letter keeps bringing up the question of sin versus judgement. These different themes have been also explored in the Holy Bible in both the Old and New Testament.

Even more disturbing, the adulterer is rarely punished or held accountable for all the pain their actions inflicted on so many other lives. Adultery is nothing less than abuse, and should be treated as such in a court of law.
A woman W petitioned for divorce, but the King's Proctor intervened to argue that the decree nisi should not be made absolute because W's petition had not admitted her own adultery. Evidence was given that when W's solicitor's clerk asked W whether she had committed adultery he had not been too explicit, and W said she understood adultery to mean having a child by someone else. Accepting this evidence and allowing the decree to stand, the judge said he had personally met otherwise well-educated men who thought it was not adultery if the woman was over 50, and the King's Proctor had come across people who thought it was not adultery during the daytime.

Maybe you have seen it happen, or perhaps you have even been a victim of adultery. It is nothing no one person should take lightly. It creeps into the marriage and eats away at the very core of the once blessed union.

Annie and Khalim met whilst Annie was on holiday in Marmaris (Turkey) in 1996. Khalim worked as a hotel receptionist. In 1997, following much correspondence and many telephone calls. Annie returned to Turkey, and Khalim asked her to marry him. They were married the next week at Khalim's father's house.

It can effect even the strongest of couples and literally tear families apart at the seams. David M. Buss and

Todd K. Shackelford (1997) showed that "despite its destructive impact, infidelities are estimated conservatively to occur in about half of all marriages." (Buss DM. &

Shackelford T.K.,1997 p.216)

. It can definitely be shocking and scary to hear that adultery can occur in almost half of all marriages.
Adultery has become a very prominent problem in today’s society. It’s spreading faster than many people could imagine and is almost uncontainable. In this paper we will examine the various issues surrounding adultery such as: history, the media, religion and how adultery can actually be prevented from the beginning. Adultery is a sexual relationship in which a man or women has with another partner rather than his/her own spouse. Adultery is seen as a great sin in the society. Adultery maliciously interferes with marriage relations, and sometimes opens the door to divorce.

This can lead one to believe that marriages, as well as issues pertaining to adultery, are not being taken very seriously in

America anymore. With this being said, it's sad to see exactly how many peoples' lives are ruined over the blatant lack of respect the general population has for marriages and staying true to their partner.

The answer is to be found in the cases of Mesher v Mesher and Martin v Martin which cases give their names to species of orders in which sale is postponed but the interest (usually of the husband) is not extinguished. Mesher Orders provide for the welfare of minor children by postponing sale until they attain the are of 17 years or cease full-time education. Martin Orders (postponement until death, remarriage or other events which cause occupation of the husband's share in the property no longer to be necessary) are employed in circumstances in which a forced sale upon the children growing up would cause unacceptable hardship to the wife. In Annie's case, she has at least 11 years to readjust her financial circumstances prior to the house no longer being required for Mehmet so it is probable that a Mesher Order would be appropriate. Even so, the court will balance the shares upon division of the ultimate sale proceeds in accordance with the section 25 criteria. Annie's weaker financial position together with the fact that she will probably maintain the mortgage and the other outgoings in respect of the property until sale dictates that she should receive a greater than 50% share. While Khalid is being kept out of his money, he will eventually receive a share in an appreciating asset to which he has not directly contributed in the interim.

Adultery in itself can affect every single person that is exposed to it or around it, especially the children. The effects of adultery can even ripple to the non-immediate family and friends. Out of everyone adultery effects, the spouse or spouses' who are having adultery committed against them as well as the children who are involved with the families will sadly take the brunt of the pain adultery has to offer.
A person commits adultery if he or she has voluntary sexual intercourse with another person, one or both of them being married to someone else. The intercourse must involve some penetration but need not be complete. Oral and anal intercourse are probably not adultery in themselves, but between a man and a woman may give rise to an evidential presumption of vaginal intercourse as well; they may also amount to "behaviour ..." under s.1(2)(b).

Ruth K. Westheimer and Pierre A Lehu (2007) proclaimed "adultery is probably the single-most cited grounds for divorce." (Westheimer, RK. & Lehu, P.A., 2007 p.


Not only will the family have to deal with the tragic act of adultery once it is brought to the light, but they will also have to deal with the horrible divorce they may face if they choose to go through it. Divorce in itself, for whatever reason, can cause enormous amounts of negative impact on the whole entire family, including the children.
In Western Europe and North America, adultery was traditionally simply a ground for divorce. The diffusion of this principle, along with Western notions of egalitarianism and modern expectations of mutual emotional support in marriage, has resulted in unprecedented pressure for equal marital rights for women in traditional African and Southeast Asian societies. In many eastern European countries, adultery does not in itself constitute a ground for divorce; both partners must testify, under the principle of ‘general breakdown,’ that the offense resulted in the decline of those feelings of which marital unity is composed.

Alison Clarke-Stewart and Cornelia Brentano (2006) suggested that "compared with children in intact families, children from divorced families are more likely to have conduct problems and show signs of psychological maladjustment; they have lower academic achievement, more social difficulties, and poorer self-esteem."(Clarke-Stewart

& Brentano2006 p107)

This can also stay with the children far beyond the point of reaching adulthood.
On contacting the British immigration authority, Annie was informed that Khalim would not be able to enter the UK immediately. He would have to apply for a visa. Annie decided to stay in Turkey and in November 1998, she discovered that she was pregnant. The couple were living in a small flat adjoining the hotel and the winter was particularly cold and wet. The flat was damp with no heating. Annie and Khalim decided that the health of Annie and their unborn child would be better served if Annie returned to the UK.

Clarke-Stewart & Brentano (2006) pointed out:

"In one study of college students, researchers found that those who had experienced their parents' divorce reported distressing feelings, beliefs, and experiences. These were resilient young people and the divorce had occurred years earlier, but still they harbored painful feelings.

By July 2003, there were no holiday plans in place, but Khalim was spending more and more time in work, often sleeping in the hotel. In September 2003, Khalim told Annie that he was in love with Zena, a colleague at Jury's. He moved out of the matrimonial home, and into Zena's flat. Annie has consulted you and asks for advice on the following matters, and tells you that she is seeking a divorce based on Khalims admitted adultery. You may assume that the divorce proceedings undefended and without inadent.

" (p108)

If children live with one parent full time, they also have a chance of having less and less contact with the other parent as time goes by. This can also cause a great deal of strain on a child, as well as feelings of abandonment and possibly hate.

Annie and Khalim decided to have a UK wedding, to coincide with the millennium celebrations. They went through a civil ceremony in January 2000. Their lives went smoothly until early 2003, when Khalim began working much longer hours at the hotel. He claimed that this was necessary because money was short and he wanted to save so they could return to Turkey for a holiday and so that his family could see Mehmet.

As mentioned earlier, children will only have to deal with these issues if their parent's decide to get a divorce after the adultery is found out. Unfortunately, the effects of divorce on children are only part of the problem when adultery is involved.
The first of the five facts involves a two-part test. It is not enough to show that the respondent has committed adultery; the petitioner must also show that she finds it intolerable to live with the respondent. The petitioner's own adultery is not a ground for divorce, and if the petitioner as well as the respondent has committed adultery it may be difficult to convince the court that it is intolerable for them to continue living together.

Adultery can cause some very serious effects to children without divorce even being present.

Children of all ages, even adult children, can be affected by adultery.

Children, for the most part, look to their parents for guidance and as role models.

Annie arrived in Cardiff in February 1999, and went to live with her parents in their house in Whitchurch, Cardiff. From there she continued to support Khalim's application to join her in the UK. In July 1999, Annie gave birth to their son, Mehmet. In September of that year, Khalim was granted a visa, and joined Annie and his son. Annie's mother gave the couple £10,000 which they used as a deposit to purchase a house.

Children also tend to put most of their trust into their parents, trust adultery can easily break. Watching their parents go through the strains of adultery will most likely affect them and cause enormous amounts of strain on their own life.

In the 21st century the term adultery implies mainly Christian and Islamic connotations. There are many societies in which marriage is considered a less-permanent arrangement and in which extramarital sex is less sternly condemned. This simply means, attitudes toward adultery vary widely between cultures. In West Africa, indigenous tribes have changed the crime and punishment of adultery to that of ‘Honour Crime,’ which they can now use to condone the killing of adulterous female spouses and their companions. Another practice found among the Kaka in Cameroon is that a man may have sexual relations with the wives of certain relatives with impunity. This ‘Wife Lending,’ has also been a long part of Eskimo hospitality. The culture of the South Sea Islands permits non incestual extramarital relations and among certain Pueblo Indian societies adultery is so common that it is tolerated if kept secret.

They will be in the front row seat watching the tension, stress, arguments, grief, sadness, loss and despair. The parent's could try and get the children to take sides, making them feel torn inside and also making their lives seem completely out of control.
The house, in Thornhill is a two bedroomed end terrace. It cost them £80,000 and they used some savings and the money given by Annie's mother together with a mortgage of £64,000 to purchase the property. The purchase was completed in November 1999. Khalim obtained a position in Jury's hotel which paid him £900 per month (gross). Annie went to work as a clerical assistant, working three days a week. During the time that she was at work, her mother cared for Mehmet. Annie earned 500 per month (gross).

Some parents who commit adultery can even tell the secret of their actions to their children, making them promise not to tell the other spouse, causing the children to be filled with even more pain and despair as they don't know which direction to turn.
Another important factor is that what the Puritans thought of as sin would be different from what is considered sinful in the 21st century, both being different from what many Christians think of as sin today. This should not teach us moral relativism, but it should encourage us to be wary of judging others. In the case of Jesus defending the adulteress by declaring, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone,” had not become a guiding principle in the law pertaining to sexual acts. Modern society however has recognised the obvious hypocrisy and has agreed that adultery should not be punishable by death.

The spouse isn't the only person to feel betrayed, as the children will feel it too once they find out about the adultery.

Children who are a product of adultery will, without a doubt, be negatively affected as well.

The punishment of adultery during the colonial period in the novel a Scarlet Letter has changed significantly in the 21st century due to ethical, moral and sociological ideology.

In the worst circumstances, pregnancy due to adultery can even result in neonaticide. Nicky A. Jackson (2007) describes neonaticide as "the killing of a newborn within twenty-four hours of birth." (Jackson, NA., 2007 p. 568) Jackson also states "the most common reason for neonaticide among married women Is extramarital paternity."

(Jackson, NA., 2007 p. 568) If these children are carried to term, they still have a chance of being born surrounded by controversy. They may immediately be given up for adoption or have their mother deny them information about their real father. The worst of these scenarios is having another man raise them, only to find out years later the man they knew their whole life as their father was never their real father.

Movies and the media are just one of the many ways in which adultery has been promoted positively. The blockbuster movie “The English Patient” had twelve Oscar nominations because how adultery portrayed between a good-looking count and a housewife. The media has also drawn much unneeded attention to adultery as well. The most famous and recent case being the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal. Bill Clinton, not only a married man, but the president of the United States was accused of having an extra marital affair! An act that many people did not understand, why would the pres...

This can lead to emotional problems for the child, depression, feeling of rejection and difficulty having healthy relationships in their life, among many other things. Emotional abuse is definitely presented to the family, whether intentionally or not, from adultery.
There exists therefore a dichotomy between honest and dishonest society underpinned by the wider discourse of crime and social order, so transgressions have emerged not from a radical break with the legitimate, but grew out of legitimate everyday-life situations and interactional structures. So adulterous transgressions whether they are acted upon or willingly overlooked is difficult to determine. In conclusion Hawthorne through his novel was showing his readers that adultery is really a crime of passion.

Unfortunately, there are still many other things that adultery negatively impacts families with.

Physical health is something else adultery affects. People who are in a marriage trust their spouse enough to have unprotected sex with them.

So if the puritans had indeed followed the bible exactingly then by all rights Hester and Dimmesdale (a pastor) should be put to death. Surprisingly enough Jesus also gave his thoughts on the subject of adultery tying in adulteries of the heart in addition to the adulterous acts themselves: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart’ (Matthew 5:27-28).

The natural thought for married couples is the fact they don't have to worry about catching any kind of sexually transmitted diseases from them. Even if the adulterer is careful in using protection, it is still not 100% effective.
As time progressed the charge of capital punishment began to change. A Plymouth law of 1694 called for the display of an ‘A’ on the dress. Hawthorne recorded this case in his journal, and it became the subject of his story, “Endicott and the Red Cross,” in which a Salem woman, required to wear the red letter ‘A’, added wonderful embroidery to it. However the admonitions of Jesus not to judge others were still trumped by the society’s desire to punish what seemed to be obvious transgressions against society.

Every day, an unsuspecting spouse takes a trip to the doctor's office because they haven't been feeling very well, or have a sudden rash appear on them. And every day, there is an unsuspecting spouse who receives the news that they have a disease.
A sailor H returned from foreign service to find his wife P pregnant, and petitioned for divorce on the grounds of W's adultery. W claimed to have been raped by a stranger, and there was some corroborative evidence. The judge said adultery required voluntary intercourse; he accepted W's story and therefore refused a decree.

Some even get told that the disease they have is incurable. Jennifer S. Hirsch et al.(2009) even stated "for most women in the world, their biggest risk of HIV infection comes from having sex with their husbands." (Hirsch,

JS. et al., 2009 p. vii)

Married men, who are the victims of adultery, are no doubt unknowingly catching these diseases as well. To find out you have a disease that you caught from the only person you have had sexual contact with, and to realize they had to catch it from most likely having sexual contact with someone else can be described as nothing less than devastating.
Anonymous, ‘A Seromon against Whoredom and Uncleanness,’ in Davis, L., ed., Sexuality and Gender in the English Renaissance (New York & London, 1998).

Fortunately, a lot of people don't find out about adultery from being diagnosed with a disease. Even with no disease present, the mental and emotional anguish people go through as a result of finding out their spouse has committed adultery is still the same.

Someone finding out their spouse has been cheating on them will go through a plethora of negative emotions and feelings. Paul R Peluso (2007) says

"finding out that your spouse had an affair can be a devastating experience for the noninvolved partner. The revelation of an affair ushers in a host of emotions including rage, sorrow, shock, and shame." (Peulso, PR.,2007 p.63) Post Traumatic Stress

Disorder (PTSD) is unfortunately something else the victim of a cheating spouse can go through. Mark A. Whisman and Tina P. Wagers(2005) found that "major depressive episodes and post- traumatic stress disorder are the most common diagnoses found in noninvolved partners."(Whisman, MA. & Wagers, T.P.,2005 p.61) It is horrific to think that people are going through so much trauma because of adultery, that they are actually catching a horrible psychological illness in return. PTSD's symptoms include flashbacks, depression, anger, nightmares, and anxiety. This condition is strong enough to disrupt everyday life for someone, and can also last for years. The onset of

PTSD can also cause people to turn to drugs and/or alcohol. Even if PTSD is not present, people who are the victims of adultery will most likely deal with severe emotional and psychological stress.

Michael Clanchy and Chris Trotter (1999) stated:

In many instances, betrayal through infidelity can be very close to what we term domestic violence. Unfaithful parties are often insensitive to the pain they inflict, as are perpetrators of physical and psychological violence. Often the faithful party is as vulnerable and dependent as the victim of repeated bashing. Furthermore, the

[behavior] patterns of ongoing infidelity often parallel the well-documented stages in the cycle of domestic abuse. (Clanchy, M, &Trotter, C., 1999 para. 4)

Unfortunately, adultery can go even further than just the dilapidation of lives. The most horrid outcome from adultery is death. Adultery can, without a doubt, hurt people enough to take other people's lives. There is not one life that should be taken or lost over adultery; sadly enough, innocent lives are lost due to adultery every day. Death can occur by suicide, murder, or even murder/suicide cases. There are even instances were murder will involve the children of the family as well.

O’Day, R. (1994), the Family and Family Relationships, 1500-1900: England, France and the United States of America, London.

Two of the more disturbing instances that involve the children are spousal revenge filicide and paternal filicide. Spousal filicide, according to Jackson (2007) is "parents who murder their offspring in a deliberate attempt to make their spouses suffer. Infidelity, either proved or suspected, is a common precipitant for spousal-revenge filicide." (Jackson,

NA., 2007 p569)

The second is paternal filicide which Jackson (2007) explains as

"[husbands] killing the child's mother as well as the child, often followed by the

[husbands] suicide." (Jackson, NA., 2007 p569) It is clear that a heartbreaking act, such as adultery, will push people over the edge and do things they normally would never do. As a matter of fact, Richard Worth and John L. French (2008) claimed "among the oldest motives for murder are passion and jealousy." (Worth, R & French, J L., 2008 p34)

Even though a spouse may commit murder against their spouse, their spouse's lover, or perhaps both, they still have a chance of only getting charged with voluntary manslaughter. This is by no means justifiable to take other peoples' lives; however, it only goes to show exactly how much adultery can damage someone's emotions, as well as their mental state. According to Jim Silver (2008) "if a killing that would otherwise be murder is committed in response to sufficient provocation, it is voluntary manslaughter and is usually punished less severely than murder." (Silver,J, 2008 p30)

Silver (2008) also adds:

"Over time, most jurisdictions developed rules about what is sufficiently provocative to cause a reasonable person to lose control of his passions.

The standard ones included things like a serious physical attack or a husband finding his wife committing adultery."(Silver,J, 2008 p31)

As you can see, adultery is as sufficiently provocative as a serious physical attack, thus allowing someone to act in such a way that they can take lives away from other people.

"Crimes of passion" cases like these are heard in court every single day in the United

States. One of the most popular cases like this is with Eric McLean from Tennessee.

According to Yvette Martinez (2008), McLean shot and murdered his wife's boyfriend, but only received a conviction of reckless homicide, which is only punishable by up to 4 years in prison. McLean only served 47 days in prison and was allowed to serve the rest of his sentence on parole. (Martinez, Y, 2009) The victims in this case were both

Mclean, who was having adultery committed against him as well as the boyfriend of the spouse who was shot at close range and murdered by McLean. The lives of both of these men, as well as the two children McLean and his wife shared and the family of the teenage boyfriend, were severely disrupted by McLean's wife's selfish choice of committing adultery. The young boyfriend did not have to lose his life nor did his family have to lose their son, while McLean should not have to live the rest of his life with a death of another person on his shoulders. Sadly enough, the one person who brought all of the pain and sorrow to both of these families (McLean's wife), did not get punished at all.

In conclusion, given all the emotional and mental anguish as well as the severe disruption of lives adultery causes, it should be treated as nothing less than abuse.

Laws pertaining to adultery do exist in some states, but are rarely enforced.

This is in stark contrast to the 21st century where laws are created and enforced not just by religion but by societal and cultural preferences.

You probably never even heard of anyone going to jail simply because they committed adultery, but you do hear people of going to jail over abuse. It is my argument, that people who make a conscience decision to step outside their marriage and commit this selfish act, should be punished. There are laws pertaining to the lover of the spouse committing adultery, specifically alienation of affection, that allows the victimized spouse to sue the lover; however, sometimes too much damage is done, and no amount of money can possibly fix it. Sadly enough, people's lives can be lost over this situation.

If bloodshed is cast, and people die over this type of situation, it should be the adulterer who is charged with the murderer(s) as well. The lives of people, especially family, should never be treated with such disrespect. Clanchy and Trotter (1999) claimed

"infidelity can be as devastating as a violent attack." (Clanchy, M, &Trotter, C., 1999 para. 8) There is nothing truer than that statement. Adultery is a crime against people and their emotions as well as their mental well being, and should be treated as violence.

It is time this crime is taken seriously; the people who commit it are thoroughly punished, and lives are no longer ripped to shreds by adultery.

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