The New York Times gets all Closer with a huge feature on the front page of the Home section today, the subject of which is not just cheating, but cheating in the “marital bed,” and how maybe that’s the worst thing you could ever, ever, ever do to a partner (if you’re wealthy and/or white). According to the paper, “even in a sexually liberal culture, the home is still usually off-limits, as if protected by an invisible force field,” and in an “informal, unscientific survey,” more than half of people said their marriage would “definitely not” continue after cheating in the marriage bed, while “less than a third… said that their marriages would ‘definitely not’ survive an affair outside the home.” This could get uncomfortable!
No, really. This archaic idea is serious business, according to 18 people who know:
All but one of 18 marriage counselors and divorce lawyers interviewed for this article said they saw at-home adultery rarely, if ever, although the divorce lawyers saw it more often than the therapists. When it does happen, however, the consequences are usually dire: affairs are painful in a marriage, but affairs that take place in the marriage bed can be lethal.
Cue the anecdotal evidence that makes Times readers cringe:
We’d need to talk about placing the house up for sale, she’d say, ‘You mean that house where he brought that so-and-so to our bed?’ Or, when we talked about personal division of property, ‘He can take the bed and shove it’ or ‘He can use it with his next whore.'”
More, more, more:
Richard Roane, 52, a divorce lawyer in Grand Rapids, Mich., said he had seen a dozen such cases in the estimated 2,200 divorces he has handled. He jokes that he always tells clients that at a minimum, they’ll have to get a new bed.
Mr. Roane recalled one betrayed spouse telling him to burn the bed, and another putting the bed on which her husband had cheated in the driveway of their house, which was in an upscale suburban neighborhood.
Later in the article there is a section entitled, “The Pool Table Also Counts,” so you have that to look forward to.
But the asshole of the day award goes to this guy:
“The husband whispered in my ear: ‘She can have the sofa. I don’t want it,’ ” Mr. Roane said. “He was taking some pleasure in giving the sofa where he made love to his girlfriend to his wife. The wife didn’t know it, but he did. We see a lot of bad behavior in divorce.”
Stay classy, New York Times. Stay afraid, married people.
[NYT via Pat’s Papers]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 13, 2011