Adultery is considered a taboo in some countries.
Although most of us have committed it at least once in our relationships; we shame those who are unfaithful.
It is a sensitive subject and perceived as the ultimate betrayal in a relationship and marriage. If you are on the receiving end, it can take years to get over the disbelief, anger, hurt, betrayal.
A study by MSNBC found that 22% of adults in a monogamous relationship cheated on their partner. A rate much higher for married men, 50% admitted to being unfaithful at some point in their marriage.
The survey did find some common scenarios. Cheating tends to happen well into the relationship — especially in the three to five-year zone — by a man who is dissatisfied with his sex life or a woman who feels emotionally deprived.
The definition of adultery is still a gray area. The survey results could be slanted depending on the participants’ definition of adultery.
There are several novels on adultery. But, Paulo Coelho’s thought provoking book, Adultery, is worth picking up. It takes on a different perspective. Paulo’s Adultery touches on a woman’s journey toward finding herself in the midst of her committing adultery.
Linda, the main character of the novel, a respectable journalist, with a taste for expensive styles. She lives in Geneva, Switzerland, a city that is uneventful and does not change year after year.
She is the envy of every woman, beautiful, successful and has a wealthy husband who provides her with the finest things in life. Linda is well also traveled too far flung paradise, with stunning beaches and exotic cities.
To an outsider, she has everything that many of us is working so hard to achieve one day. But, she wakes up every morning assuming that her day will be a disaster. Her only reason for living is for her children.
While reading the book, I ask myself how a woman who has everything feels so empty?
It begins with her married life. Since she got married, her life has come to a halt. She stops living. The passion is gone. She is living a life pretending that she is happy because that is what everyone expects.
Her days are not filled with excitement anymore, but rather a sense of anxiety and fear.
she asks herself “what is her real-life meaning.”
Most of us know someone like “Linda” – a friend – or have been through a similar experience. Marriage does not lead to eternal happiness. You have to pursue it.
In my opinion, this novel Adultery is about the search for self. How Linda finds it may have people question her unorthodox approach?
Paulo novel teaches us that “living versus living passionately” is different. How many of us are just barely living? We follow the same routine and scare to deviate from our mundane life because we fear that we will lose everything, which Linda calls our ‘security.’
How many of us are afraid of taking risks and follow the norms to be accepted?
I think people may find Linda very selfish and cannot sympathize with her. The reason (I think) we cannot relate is that most of us envy her life. We assume that if we were in her shoes we would be happy and fulfilled.
However, what we do not realize that some people get bored with buying the expensive clothes, eating at the best and most expensive restaurants, traveling to exotic countries. They are looking for a higher purpose.
Linda quest is that ‘fire’ that she had when she was young. Where did that burst of flames go?
As we get older, we become complacent. We lose that life essence. We become more cautious of what we do – what we say – what we wear. All because we want others to like us. We want to fit into society. In the meantime, we lose who we are, our significance.
Linda realizes that she is losing herself, and she gets to a point where she cannot ‘fake it’ anymore.
The affairs turned into a woman, and even she did not recognize. She conspires to plant drugs in her lover’s wife place of work. Paulo shows that we never fully know ourselves and we are a continuous transformation.
My final thoughts,
A marriage full of daily routine and lack of passions can lead to infidelity. Paulo indicates that committing adultery can bring back the excitement. Realizing how much her husband and family love her healed her. The infidelity led her closer to her husband and children. She seeks her truth and finds it.
At the end of her journey, she concludes:
What kills a relationship between two people is precisely the lack of challenge. The feeling that nothing is new anymore. We need to continue to be a surprise for each other.
The finding from the MSNBC survey also finds only 2 percent of cheaters got busted in the act. Surprisingly, about two-thirds of those admitted to infidelity say they don’t regret their actions.
People will not stop committing adultery. When that spark is gone in a relationship, most of us will someone else to revive it. It does not mean we do not love our spouse during the process of fulfilling our emotional or sexual needs.
I recommend this book because it is an eye opener. Let me know if you agree with the author? Is cheating the way to finding your life’s purpose?
5 Favorite quotes from Adultery
I really enjoyed reading this book and some quotes that resonated with me.
I was dying and Love revived me.
Life is not a vacation, but a constant learning process.
Are we encouraging depression and suicidal tendencies when we publish articles on successful people without explaining how they got there and make everyone convince themselves they are worthless.
To find peace in the heavens, we must find love on earth. Without it, we are worthless.
I am afraid of things changing and at the same time I am dying to experience something different.