Sunday, April 7, 2024

Understanding Infidelity Among OFWs and Spouses

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Infidelity is a complex issue that can affect both overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families. While away from home and loved ones, some OFWs may face temptation and engage in extramarital affairs.

On the other hand, family members left behind may also struggle with loneliness and seek comfort from others. Both scenarios can have damaging effects on relationships and families, leading to trust issues, emotional pain, and broken families.

A report from the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women in 2009 revealed that marital infidelity is one of the major causes of stress among Filipino couples, with about 36 percent of men and two percent of women engaging in extramarital affairs.

It’s important for OFWs and their families to maintain open and honest communication, as well as seek support from trusted friends or professionals if needed, to help overcome any challenges related to infidelity.

Why do people become unfaithful and cheat on partners

The issue is pervasive among certain groups of OFWs that some of those who work abroad even consider forgoing involvement in a relationship. Cheating can have a variety of causes and can often be the result of multiple factors. Some common causes of cheating can be any of the following:

  1. Lack of emotional satisfaction in the relationship: If a person is not feeling fulfilled emotionally in their relationship, they may seek it elsewhere. Emotional satisfaction in a relationship refers to a feeling of contentment and fulfillment derived from a sense of security, trust, and intimacy with one’s partner.
  2. Opportunities for infidelity: If a person is frequently around others who are attractive or who provide a lot of attention, the temptation to cheat may increase. Filipinos abroad may find themselves attracted to a fellow worker, a neighbor, or a civic group like a Filipino organization or a church organization.
  3. Boredom or monotony: If a person is feeling uninterested or unchallenged in their relationship, they may seek new experiences or excitement through cheating.
  4. Low self-esteem: If a person has low self-esteem, they may cheat to feel validated and attractive.
  5. Alcohol or drug use: Substance abuse can lower inhibitions and lead to impulsive behavior, including cheating.
  6. Lack of communication and intimacy: If a person feels that they are not being heard or understood in their relationship, they may look for emotional connection outside of the relationship.
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It’s important to note that cheating is never justifiable and can cause significant harm to the people involved. If someone is struggling with the temptation to cheat, it may be helpful for them to seek support from trusted friends, family members, or a therapist.

The temptation of extramarital relationships

There are several factors that can create opportunities for OFWs and their families to engage in extramarital relationships. These include:

  1. Physical distance: Being separated from their partner for long periods of time can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, making it easier to form emotional connections with others.
  2. New social networks: OFWs may be exposed to new social networks and communities, increasing their opportunities for forming new relationships. They may randomly find someone on social media and start engaging in communication that can lead to a deeper relationship.
  3. Stress and burnout: The demands of work and living in a foreign country can cause stress and burnout, making it easier for OFWs to engage in extramarital relationships as a form of stress relief or escape.
  4. Lack of accountability: Being away from their partner and support network can make it easier for OFWs and their families to cheat, as they may feel less accountable for their actions. As they continue to support their families with regular remittance money and calls, they mask their infidelity.

It’s important to remember that these opportunities do not excuse infidelity and that being in a committed relationship requires effort and honesty from both partners. Maintaining open communication and working together to overcome any challenges can help strengthen relationships and prevent infidelity.

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The impact of unfaithful parents on their children

Infidelity can have significant and lasting impacts on family members, especially children. Some of these impacts include:

  1. Emotional trauma: Children who are exposed to infidelity can experience feelings of shock, betrayal, anger, and sadness, which can have lasting effects on their mental and emotional well-being.
  2. Damage to trust: Children may have a harder time trusting others, especially in romantic relationships, as a result of seeing their parents’ relationship damaged by infidelity.
  3. Decreased family stability: Infidelity can lead to the breakdown of a family and the loss of a stable home environment, which can be especially harmful to children.
  4. Increased stress: Children who witness or are affected by infidelity may experience increased stress and anxiety, which can impact their overall well-being and relationships.
  5. Difficulty in forming future relationships: Children who are exposed to infidelity may have a harder time forming healthy relationships in the future, as they may have a distrust of others or a negative view of committed relationships.

It’s important for parents to consider the impact of infidelity on their children and to seek support and guidance if they are struggling with infidelity in their relationship. This can help to minimize the negative impacts on children and support their overall well-being.

What to do if you suspect your partner is cheating on you

If a spouse suspects that their partner is cheating while abroad, they may want to consider taking legal action. Here are some steps that can be taken to file a complaint:

  1. Gather evidence: Collect any evidence of infidelities, such as text messages, emails, social media posts, or photographs. It’s important to make sure that this evidence is obtained legally and without violating any privacy laws. If children or co-workers witnessed the act of cheating, they can also help in building the case.
  2. Consult a lawyer: Seek the advice of a lawyer who is knowledgeable in the laws of the country where the cheating partner is located. The lawyer can help determine the best course of action and assist with filing a complaint. The following groups or agencies provide free legal advice in the Philippines:
    • Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) – provides free legal assistance to indigent citizens and assists in the prosecution of criminal cases.
    • Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) – provides free legal assistance to indigent litigants through its Legal Aid Program.
    • Commission on Human Rights (CHR) – provides free legal assistance to victims of human rights violations.
    • National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) – provides legal assistance to marginalized and vulnerable sectors, including human rights victims and political prisoners.
    • Legal Aid Society of the Philippines – provides free legal assistance to indigent litigants and operates legal clinics in different areas of the country.
  3. File a complaint: Depending on the country, a complaint may be filed with the local authorities, such as the police or courts, or with the embassy or consulate of the partner’s home country. Note that the Philippines’ law criminalizes adultery and concubinage. Both are deemed “crimes against chastity” under the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines and are treated as sexual infidelity in the Family Code. The law discriminates against wives. The crime of adultery can be committed only by a wife and her paramour.
  4. Seek support: It can be a difficult and emotional process to file a complaint against a cheating partner. Seek support from trusted friends, family members, or a therapist to help cope with the challenges and stress of the situation.

It’s important to note that the process of filing a complaint against a cheating partner can be complex and may vary based on the laws and regulations of the country where the cheating is taking place. It is recommended to seek the guidance of a local lawyer or the assistance of a consular official for further information.

Philippine laws against infidelity

In the Philippines, marital infidelity is considered a crime under the Revised Penal Code, specifically Article 333, Adultery. The crime of Adultery is defined as the act of a married woman who has sexual intercourse with a man, not her husband, and the man who had carnal knowledge of her knowing her to be married.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is the primary law enforcement agency responsible for investigating and enforcing laws related to infidelity. However, it is important to note that a complaint of infidelity can only be filed by the offended spouse. If a spouse suspects their partner of infidelity, they may choose to file a complaint with the PNP or seek legal advice from a lawyer.

In the Philippines, infidelity of a spouse is not considered a criminal offense. As such, it cannot be reported to the Philippine National Police (PNP) as a crime.

However, if the infidelity has led to other criminal offenses, such as domestic violence or harassment, it can be reported to the local police or the Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD) of the PNP. The WCPD is a specialized unit within the PNP that focuses on addressing cases of violence against women and children and can provide assistance to those who have been victims of such crimes.

It is also worth mentioning that in some cases, infidelity may be used as a ground for filing for annulment or legal separation in the Philippines. In such cases, legal assistance may be sought from a private lawyer or a legal aid organization.

In addition to the Revised Penal Code, there are other laws in the Philippines that govern issues related to family and relationships, such as the Family Code of the Philippines and the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act. These laws provide protection and support for individuals who are affected by infidelity and other forms of violence and abuse within the family.

Punishment for adultery

In the Philippines, if an individual is convicted of the crime of Adultery under Article 333 of the Revised Penal Code, they may face the following penalties:

  1. Imprisonment: The punishment for Adultery is prision correccional, which is a term of imprisonment that can range from 6 months to 6 years.
  2. Fine: The individual may also be required to pay a fine, although this is not specified in the law.

It is also worth mentioning that the Philippines is one of the few countries where adultery is still a criminal offense. In many other countries, it is considered a private matter and is not enforced by the criminal justice system. The Philippines has been considering proposals to remove Adultery from the Penal Code, but as of my knowledge cutoff, it remains a criminal offense.

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