Originally Posted by WhatHappened
Someone's hand will be chopped off if you don't do X.
Your mother will mysteriously fall down the stairs if you don't do Y.
You will lose your home, marriage, spouse, children, and half your income if you don't agree to Z.
Wait, you honestly don't see the difference between the first two examples and the third? I was about to put up this kind of example chain to make my point painfully obvious... I don't think it would have worked.
1. Threat of violence
2. Threat of violence
3. Life change causing difficult choices.
I'm currently letting go of the fact that you made the 3rd choice the most extreme possible case in the OPs situation. This kind of approach to the situation is looking at through the eyes of lifelong "commitment". An entitlement approach to relating to other people which you go on to describe below.
I think the difference is that monogamy is typically part of what a couple has very specifically agreed to.
Living in the city vs suburbs, sticking with one career--these things are not. Career changes and moves are typically made to better the family's finances, comfort, or lifestyle. Dating outside marriage is not. And health issues--they're often outside a person's control, as opposed to being struck with cancer or mental health issues.
Again you have described exactly what I would have used as an argument *against* the promise of a lifelong relationship (monogamy or otherwise). It is an obviously short sighted promise "I promise that we will be together no matter what, even though I have no way to know whether or not my worldview will change dramatically between here and our deaths, but I promise to suppress any change which might possibly cause you to change, grow, or make difficult decisions which are painful"
What an entitlement approach to expectations of other people. Why on earth should his wife just pretend that she is still monogamous when she is not? Why does he get to decide for her that "no, this change will cause me too much heartache, you just need to bury reality deep in your heart and lock it away for my sake"? No one gets to decide that for someone else (unless you made a promise handing over the right to your own life I guess).
You are absolutely right that there are still other choices. The responses to "I want a boyfriend/girlfriend" could also include refusing, which may lead to divorce, and filing for divorce. But the fact that there are choices doesn't change the fact that, particularly as a parent, there are going to be major devastating consequences in virtually every area of our lives to either of those responses.
Which means that it is a very tough situation and someone is going to have to risk giving up quite a lot to stick to their ideals. You say it should be her because she is "coercing" him... I couldn't disagree more. I see them as *both* being adults, capable of deciding for themselves what kind of life they want to lead.
Let me ask you this, how do you think this situation should be solved?
If you can let go of insisting that there is a bad guy and just look at what is actually happening: What would you think should be done here?
1. She should be monogamous and suffer through it
2. He should allow her to have another boyfriend and suffer through it
3. He should leave her and suffer through the divorce results
They all seem pretty awful, for everyone involved. What's the right situation here? Should she suffer, simply because she's the one who has had the worldview change?
Should he suffer because he is resisting changing to embrace his partners life changes?
There is no bad guy here as far as I can see. Just two people who are in a difficult situation. Calling it coercive is just naming a bad guy so everyone else can feel better, even though no one is likely to be happy coming out of this.