An exploratory study on women's solutions to their husbands' extra-martial affairs

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An exploratory study on women's solutions to their husbands' extra-martial affairs


Author: Hung, Yiu-ying Angie
Title: An exploratory study on women's solutions to their husbands' extra-martial affairs
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1996
Subject: Adultery -- China -- Hong Kong
Husband and wife -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Studies
Pages: v, 103, 14 leaves ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record:
Abstract: In contemporary Hong Kong, marriage is regarded as a two person life-long experience. When husband brings in a third person, this will create another system - the extra-marital system , which competes with the primary marital system. To women, the disclosure of husbands' extra-marital affairs is a shattering experience which involves a complex of moral considerations in their handling process. These moral considerations, according to Gilligan, are governed by two moral orientations : justice and care. It is observed that women are more inclined to the care orientation. The present study has adopted a qualitative in-depth interviewing approach to study five Chinese women's solutions to their husbands' extra-marital affairs. Three distinct findings have been noted in their process of defining the problem; resoloving the problem and evaluating the resolutions of the problems. From a caring orientation, women defined the nature of their husbands' affairs as an insoluble dilemma from which their husbands could not escape. Besides, women were also willing to share the responsibility for the affairs together with their husbands and the third party. To resolve the problem, women were intendend to preserve their marriage and give time to their husbands to terminate their relationship with the third party. Although husbands took no concrete action to terminate the extra-marital relationship, women finally accepted the coexistence of the two relationships : extra-marital affair together with the marital relationship. Instead of judging it as failure, the respondents considered the extent to which they could maintain the marital relationship as the chief criterion for measuring the degree of success of their resolutions of the problem. Several recommendations for social work intervention have been suggested with reference to these findings. First, social worker should understand the nature of extra-marital problem from a wider context and to develop a reflexive awareness when working with our clients. Second, it is recommended that social workers should extend their work focus beyond the non-participating partner and try to involve the participating partner in the counselling process. Third, emotional support and empowerment programmes should be provided for the non-participating partners. Lastly, social workers should be aware of the influence of mothers upon the children.

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