In the case of oppressive relationships where any form of abuse is perpetuated the damage is long-term distress and unhappiness. This type of relationship might seem good to others on the outside but internally is hurtful and degrading and leads to silent suffering and escalating abuse. Individually the two parties expand their participation deepening distress and abuse.
This is the case of battered women or psychologically terrorized spouses that remain silent about the abuse due to shame and uncertainty as to what is happening in their lives. As time passes, they adapt to high levels of physical or psychological abuse and when the abuse reaches a level they feel is no longer safe they do not know how exit the relationships, even in cases where their life is threatened they feel they are partially to blame and that they helped caused the abuse. In most cases their dependency on the abusive spouse is total and they can no longer see themselves starting over again on their own.
An abusive individual rarely changes and will always ask for another chance, promising to change. Abusive individuals are usually keep double standards secretly allowing themselves the freedom to explore relationships outside the marriage but not accepting the same for their partner; when found out they always plead for forgiveness and another chance but there is no certainty they will ever abide by their intended resolution. An abused woman in this circumstances will always give another chance. The abusive spouse remains in control and the relationship evolves toward deeper levels of unfaithfulness and abuse.
Battered women need to choose their personal safety and that of their children first. They need to know they are not alone and that there are people ready to help but this choice is viable in early days of abuse. The longer the abuse and the longer the silence the more difficult it is to get out of these relationships. Abusive individuals rarely change even while undergoing psychological treatment. Once relationships reach these points of imbalance, the damage might be too large to repair and eventually divorce might become the only alternative.
It is not unusual for an abusive spouse to escalate threats into actual acts of violence, and it is also not unusual for a battered wife to stay in this relationship for different factors that may include financial dependency, age factor, fear of change specially at advanced age, and the eternal hope that her abusive spouse might one day change. It is easier to stay in painful situations we have learned to withstand than to risk a change for the unknown. Starting all over again can be a scary task for most people.
Marriage in the manner in which we perceive it today is no longer working. We have the highest rate of divorce ever and it is due to lack of education and our religious belief systems. We still vow to own one another 'till death make us part', but this sense of ownership is dangerous and by allowing ourselves to participate in this concept of marriage we give up our rights of personal respect, individuality, and the innate right to evolve in our own personal way in all the aspects that make us normal. It promotes abuse instead.
We give up our individuality when we allow our partner to dictate what is good for us. This is a dangerous road to travel because we always reach the point where we need to reclaim our right to be ourselves. The problem here is that while we live under these rules of unhealthy arrangements our mind and natural needs become slowly depleted, we loose connection, sexual attraction and real intimacy and eventually recur to search for our natural needs outside the marriage. These needs can escalate from simple friendships, to more intimate connection, to sex and infidelity.
It is also impossible for an oppressed spouse to remain sexually and physically attracted to an abusive partner. The abusive spouse also loses interest in sex. In early stages of abuse there is a need to return to the beginning and to fix the relationship at the root of the problem but it is not easy for an abusive individual to give up power. This is not an easy task in the case of long-term abuse and couples grow toward divorce.
Returning to the beginning can be very exciting and enriching and worth pursuing in some marriages. The two original people that came into the relationship want to re-emerge and rather than separating, bring their personal experiences into the relationship. This can become the positive route to repair and rekindle the marriage. Some relationships learn respect for the first time at these points of crisis. During these stages of reconnecting, people realize that experimenting to any extend outside of the marriage had been part of searching for passion and intimacy lost in the relationship. It is important that this openness is created so that individuals can see one another again as sexual, exciting, and attractive people.
Sexual attraction might reemerge in relationships where abuse is minimal. In this turn of events people feel young again, sexual, passionate and are able to rekindle the attraction they originally felt for one another, only better; and damaged relationships can easily be turned into healthy ones. Respect and open mindedness become part of these new relationships and it is normal for both individuals to include their friends into their new relationship. This is a sign of growth and willingness to accept each other as normal individuals.
We live in an age where relationships need to be nurtured not destroyed; marriage needs to be preserved not abandoned. This concept is one where two people understand that they are together for the simple choice of wanting to be together; think of it as two 'Soul Mates' that come together to share the life journey and celebrate each other with respect. In this relationship there is a clear definition of boundaries and both partners understand their natural identity, and maintain their own career, creativity, friends, social life, religion, belief systems, and can pursue their individual growth.
These are two people that support one another and are emotionally 'into each other', that love each other unconditionally and can be empathic with each other, supporting each other as listening friends. There is no judgment and instead these individuals give each other time to think and come up with their own answers on what direction they need to individually grow. In this type of relationship the communication issues become healthy and open, intimacy grows, and sexual relations remain passionate.
In long term relationships where damage has taken place due to infidelity coming to this understanding is the answer to avoiding divorce and instead the beginning of a new relationship where life can become better and more joyful. Healthy individuals have the ability to come to this point of growth.
With our present concept of monogamous marriage our system of marital relations promotes cheating instead of honesty and openness. The concept of respecting ones spouse or partner and allowing them to be free is something we all fantasize about but it is a great challenge; personal insecurities and fears arise when thinking of ones partner venturing out into another meaningful friendship or relationship while remaining in the marriage. But in cases where the situation has already taken place the tendency is to cut these relations and attempt to restructure the 'old' monogamous system; it is 'trying to do the same thing over again and attempting to obtain different results' instead of accepting and openly maintaining the relationships already build. This is the answer to a healthier marriage where cheating never happens again.
This type of relationship known as Polyamory might be the solution to divorce in most cases. It is accepting multiple loving relations in ones live and making it openly known to your partner, allowing ourselves to love more that one partner, a natural phenomenon we restrict for moral issues or fear of being abandoned.
This is important because once individuals experience meaningful relationships outside of marriage the realization that they are capable of loving more than one partner is welcomed and feels 'natural' because it is. This might be confusing in conventional marriage but should not mean divorce, instead the opportunity to accept a healthier concept of relationships that is open in nature and where both partners are aware and accepting of each others activities outside the relationship welcoming new partners into their family and social environment who live similar interests without the natural fear of abandonment. It is a commitment to preserve the marriage and remain with the partner you already love.
There is information available in the Internet on this concept. Read about Polyamory at http://www.lovemore.com/home/what-is-polyamory/. This might be a healthy solution to your relationship and the possibility of a more honest and fulfilling lifestyle and it is very possible for those that already have a loving and nurturing relation outside the marriage if you can overcome fear, denial and personal insecurity.
Their definition of what Polyamory is:
"When people ask “What is polyamory?”, it’s not surprising that there can be some confusion.
Some people guess that it means any kind of non-monogamy. In reality, the word has carried more pointed meanings ever since it was coined independently by two women activists for ethical multi-relationships in 1990 and 1992.
To these inventors of the word, and to polyfolk ever since, “polyamory” connotes multiple romantic relationships carried out with certain assumptions and ideals: of honesty and clear agreements among partners, mutual good will and respect among all involved, intense interpersonal communication, and high ethical standards. These ideals may or may not always be achieved in practice. But as the Wikipedia entry for polyamory succinctly puts it, “an emphasis on ethics, honesty, and transparency all around is widely regarded as the crucial defining characteristic.”