The Morality of Extramarital Affairs

Debate over moral issues can be found in church, in politics, in schools and in our homes.   Americans morally view certain behaviors in different ways.  Sex, drunkenness and lies are among ten behaviors listed on a "Barometer Of Modern Morals". It's a survey taken this year by the Pew Research Center. Respondents were asked whether each one is morally acceptable, morally wrong or not a moral issue. Married people having an affair got a strong wrong with 88 % saying its a morally wrong behavior.

Adultery may be the number one morally wrong behavior in American's minds, but it's also a part of reality that people love to tune into.   Cheaters, is a Dallas produced reality show that shares with the world the anger and hurt spouses and significant others express when learning that they've been betrayed. The show provides suspecting spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends undercover investigators to reveal a fling. Viewers are shown a tape that is also shown to a victim of a cheating spouse.

Pictures of a loved one having an affair bring a variety of emotions. An unfaithful husband is shown begging for forgiveness. "Sometimes I'm just a little kid. I'm sorry," he says while on his knees before his distraught partner.   Then there's the lover, also a victim of lies. She goes storming off. The show is viewed throughout the United States and around the world.

Another real picture about cheating spouses is viewed by private investigator Kevin White. His workplace is the front seat of a pickup. The tools of his trade are cameras equipped with telephoto lenses. Binoculars are there too. "Everybody always thinks the affair is only at night after dark on a moonlit night, but it goes on all day. Most of our surveillance are in the middle of the day."

White finds the secret romances in not so secret places. "You would be surprised. Apartment complex parking lots, deer camps, anywhere you can think of, construction sites." White spies on cheating spouses and almost always knows the investigation's outcome. "It's surprising and depressing that out of everybody that's come to the office it always ends up happening. Sometimes it takes months to prove it, but in every single case I've never had to go back to the person and say, 'Oh guess what. There's nothing going on."

White is single and jaded for now about marriage. He recognizes the hurt. White said, "You have people that just cannot believe that someone would do that. It just rocks them to the core."

White recalls observing embarrassment, anger, and hurt from his clients, but the morality issue seldom surfaces. The same is true with Cheaters, except in a clip about Jamie, the girlfriend who never knew her lover was already in a relationship. The show's host Joey Greco announces, "Most uncomfortable with the situation Ms. Buckles admits she can identify with Heather and does not fault her for the actions she took. Jaime now questions the moral character of Mr. Carrelli in light of the way he treated his girlfriend."

Adultery is considered morally wrong by many, but numerous people commit it. The General Social Survey in 2004 found that 15% of those ever married say that they have had sex outside of their marriage.

We would like to hear your opinion about the morality of extramarital affairs. Go to our web poll and take the survey.