I live in a tiny European country and one thing I have observed over the years and the one thing I could never understand about the 30-something generation here, is the fact that when they get married, the majority of time, it is not for love. Most marry out of interest or pressure that they must get married. If you ask anyone, they will tell you that couples here do not do much together as far as recreational activities. They have separate friends, separate interests and basically live separate lives. They marry, have children and stay together long after the children are grown and gone. This happens due to the beliefs that their parents have embedded in them while growing up. The 30-something generation here have much older parents who lived through world war II and the civil war in this country. They have seen it all and have taught their children that there is a cycle that must be completed. Marriage, children and a life with someone for the rest of your life. So couples in their 30’s here tend to marry in order to complete the cycle in which they have grown accustomed to.
Infidelity here is not a reason to divorce or separate. This is not to say that infidelity does not exist, it most certainly does. People in this country just don’t take it as seriously as those in the USA. In fact, couples here stay together unless one decides to leave their spouse for the other woman or other man. If this happens, they have the grueling responsibility to tell their extended family because, after all, people in this country are very family oriented. This could indeed be one of the reasons why divorce is not that common here. After all, their society has not accepted failure in a marriage; it is still frowned upon and is not completely acceptable. That is probably why there is lack of marriage counselors. Why be counseled when you just go with the flow of society?
So what do we have here? Basically people who are married, sharing the same home and children together, rather unhappy and even though they are seeking happiness, they tend to get what they can and then return home to their spouses. It is a sad life.
I once spoke with a friend of mine who told me that the way she felt for her husband, was not that special type of love. She settled because she had to get married since she was getting old (in her early 30’s which is considered quite old here if not married). She went on to tell me about her own parents. She said they were never in love and now that all the children are grown and gone, they only co-exist in their home and never even speak to one another. What a way to live.
Even though I have lived in this country for years, I could never live in a marriage the way most people do here. We are by far, very different. We got married because we were “in love” and have always had a relationship in which we have done everything together. From the beginning, we took both of our cultures and intertwined them making things the way we wanted them to be and this worked for us. However, now with infidelity and him saying he thought, “everyone else is doing, so why shouldn’t I?” I began to think that his way of thinking has turned back into what he was lead to believe by others here. Then again, infidelity happens in every other part of the world, so that cannot really be the case.
According to researchers, 90% of the population in this country do not consider Marital infidelity acceptable. Nevertheless, other researches have shown that 15% of women and the 25% of men have had an extra-marital affair. While studies have also shown that 19% of women and the 32% of men would want to have an extra-marital affair. In the past few years, these percentages have gone up dramatically.