10-16 July 2015 #766

Foreign affairs

The rise of foreign employment has led to an increase in the number of extramarital affairs in the country
Anjana Rajbhandary

Hi again,

The rise of foreign employment has led to an increase in the number of extramarital affairs in the country. While having relationships outside marriage is condemned in almost every country and culture, in Nepal married couples usually turn a blind eye to their partner’s unfaithful ways because divorce still continues to be a social taboo. The result: a lot of unhappy families, where the children will most likely grow up questioning the sanctity of marriage.

Please send more questions to: askanjanaanything@nepalitimes.com or @AnjyRajy 

Dear Anjana,

I am a 28-year old married woman living in Kathmandu with my five-year old son. My husband and I have been married for six years. He works in Doha so I only see him once or twice a year for a few weeks at a time. I feel like we barely know each other. We behave like strangers when together and the atmosphere automatically gets tense around us. I don’t think we love one another anymore. But I would never consider divorcing him. My family would disown me! On the other hand, I hate being alone. A man I have known for several years recently suggested having an affair with him, and I must admit I found the offer extremely tempting. After all I need a friend and want to be intimate with another person. I know I am a good mother, but I don’t know how long I can continue being a good wife when my husband is a distant stranger?

Sincerely, Loveless in Lalitpur

AR: Long distance marriages are challenging. Long term absence can pose a significant risk to a family’s stability as you have stated, however, in your case you clearly do not want to stay with your husband and are only with him for the sake of your family. You could either choose to stay in an unhappy, loveless marriage and suffer for a long time or address the problem by talking to your family and putting an end to the relationship. This will take a lot of courage but will most likely make you happier in the long run. Being a divorcee brings new sets of challenges in a society like ours. That said, living a life to please society is something that does not seem practical to me when the society actually does not really care about the person’s happiness. You have a son and you probably want to provide the best for him, the choices you make will affect him in the long run. As for your friend’s offer, it is entirely your decision. Does it have the potential to become something more? Are you comfortable with having a secret companion? How will this affect your friendship? Most extramarital affairs do eventually end, and given your child, it is important you consider the consequences of all your possible options. Personally I would never endorse an extramarital affair, but in the end it is your decision and you need to do what you feel is right for you. Remember, it is impossible to please everyone, so choose the one whose happiness is most important to you before you take the next step.

Anjana is a certified mental health rehabilitation technician and has four years of experience in adult mental health in Maine, USA.

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Accepting yourself, Anjana Rajbhandary