The Hard Truth about Singapore's marriages

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We do not need Ashley Madison after all. More Singaporeans are having affairs behind their spouse’s back in the last one to two years.

Private investigator, Magnum, says he gets an average of 30 to 40 cases each month. Either a wife or a husband would contact him to investigate if their partner is having an affair.

They come and tell me my husband is on WeChat or my wife is on WeChat. And they meet someone there,” he adds.

Her World magazine confirms what Magnum is saying. The magazine recently ran a story titled, “The app[WeChat] S’pore husbands are using to cheat.”

Yet Magnum who has been a private investigator for the last 30 years says he gets an equal number of married men and women accusing their partner of cheating.

Old ladies also go after young boys. We have quite a lot of them. They hire us to check on their boyfriends. Some of these ladies are married, some have gotten divorced.”

Some of their husbands allow them to have affairs. They tell their wives, ‘go look for another man on WeChat,’” he says.

Magnum’s words seem to paint a different reality of Singapore compared to a recent survey released by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) that shows 80 per cent of Singaporeans believed extramarital affair is wrong.

IPS senior research fellow Mathew Mathews believes that the survey proves that Singapore is still largely a conservative society that holds firm to traditional values.

Sex is the mother of all problems

But beneath the facet of a conservative society lies the problem of sexual frustration and incompetency.

Some people marry because they think they want to have family. It’s not true, they want to have sex,” he says. He adds that marriage will hit the rock when partners have different perception of their relationship.

One of my clients, she is 23 year old and has three children. Her husband does not want to touch her anymore. He pushes her away when they share a bed at night. She says, ‘if I do not divorce him, where I go? He goes look for girlfriends every night. Where I go? I am only 23′.”

Martha Lee, clinical sexologist and founder of Eros Coaching, reveals that the most common problem married couples who seek her help is vaginisums.[fvplayer src=”http://youtube.com/watch?v=ibFAK7vfNHE”]

Vaginisums is the involuntary tightening of the vaginal walls, which make penetration during intercourse difficult or even impossible. According to Lee, 90 per cent of women experiencing this problem are due to psychological issues such as traumatic sexual experiences, fear of pregnancy and poor emotional attachment between partners.

They should be adult about them [their sex life]. Know that not getting what they want when they want is part of being in the marriage and this is not restricted to sex. Couples should seek support from marital counselling or sexologist,” she says.

We are hungry people

Like Magnum, marriage therapist Jasmine Boulter notes that her clients who have committed extramarital affairs have increased by 30 per cent in the last one and a half year.

Two married people often have the impression that the other party should give me what I want first before I give them anything.”

I don’t feel your love so I am not going to give you what you want,” she says. She admits that sex can be used as a bargaining chip or even as punishment more so among women in a marriage.

We are hungry people. It is emotional hunger. So when an outsider cares for you a little, you fall easily,” she further says that in most cases the spouse is of better calibre than the third party.

She believes that people have affairs because they need a quick fix to the emotional hollowness they feel at home.

If you have a child, the wife might feel the husband should appreciate her for taking care of the child. The husband might feel he should not be jealous of the child for his wife’s attention. Then they do not talk about their feelings with one another,” she explains.

People need to talk and share these things with one another. You think you can handle these issues on your own, you can’t.”