For the sake of our kids, I allow my wife to have affairs, but it still bothers me

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a man in my 30s, living with my wife and two children. I discovered my wife was having an affair about a year ago. I had been rebuilding my relationship with her, but the other day I found out she was having an affair with a different man.

I asked my wife to stop seeing him, but her reply was, “I want a divorce and to live an easier life.” It seems that my keeping tabs on her since her first affair has made her feel pushed into a corner.

However, since our children are still young, I don’t want to cause them any of the pain that a divorce would bring. So I decided not to divorce her until the children grow up, and to allow my wife to carry on affairs as long as it doesn’t affect the family.

My wife seems full of life now that she can see her lover whenever she likes, but I’m not satisfied with the way things are.

I thought that once people got married and had children, they should think of their children first and try not to embarrass them.

Is my understanding of what a married couple or family should be old-fashioned? Would I feel better if I also had an affair as long as it did not affect my family?

G, Chiba Prefecture

Dear Mr. G:

I understand your situation. It must be painful.

Thoughts on extramarital relations have changed along with the times. Before World War II, husbands’ affairs were thought to demonstrate their ability as men, and wives simply had to endure them.

Recently, some people have taken up the idea of “graduating from marriage,” where after the children have become adults both partners in a marriage consent to each other having intimate relations with other individuals while remaining legally married. I even know some people in such an arrangement.

If you truly accepted your wife’s affairs and were satisfied with the situation, you wouldn’t have asked for advice. Relationships where one person has to endure everything alone will not last long. It is apparent that your frustration will eventually hit its limit and the issue will cause a major problem.

But you are still young for a “graduation” from your marriage. If you start having extramarital relations with a woman, she might very well try to get you to marry her. This happens even with elderly couples.

Once again, you should insist that your wife end her affairs while you two are still married. If she refuses, you should begin discussing getting a divorce now.

This is for your children, too. Growing up with parents who have a marriage in name only would surely be painful for them.

Masahiro Yamada, university professor