The story of Aphrodite’s extra-marital affair is still very amusing and relevant to today’s society. Concepts of human life are just timeless and the stories of ancient Greek mythology were to teach us mortals right from wrong.
One morning her lover Ares, the God of War, was late to leave her bed and Helios, the personification of the sun, saw Ares leave as he rose with his chariot. Helios was quick to inform Hephaestus about the affair. Hephaestus, probably going through a range of emotions, makes an invisible net which he hangs above the marital bed and leaves the marital home. Aphrodite is quick to call for Ares and the lovers spend an enchanting night together. The next morning Hephaestus arrives home and finds the lovers tangled in the net. He takes the trapped lovers to Zeus and exposes their affair to all the gods on Olympus.
Ah, the scorned, left and betrayed spouse! But it gets better, the players in this story are stereotypical, even in today’s world.
Hephaestus is the hard-working, honest, but ugly, disabled and unworthy husband. Just like so many betrayed spouses are demonized by their wayward spouses. The betrayed wife is crazy, the left husband is physically abusive. To justify their affair there has to be something seriously wrong with the betrayed spouse. In contrast, the other stories about Hephaestus, he is portrayed as the patron of art, quite favorably and definitely in a much better light if not the opposite of this story.
Aphrodite is the gorgeous, sexy, lusting woman, who seduces. Her image as a woman is glorified, where Hephaestus is demonized. Ares is also glorified, the hero; attractive, masculine, a man we women would like our lips for. An affair is secret, there is no reality base. Nobody has to pay bills, mowing the lawn is not what lovers do. No, they have secret rendezvous, quick moments together while reality is closed out. That makes the affair so thrilling, the affair partner is completely idealized.
Research shows that affairs that see the day of light don’t last long afterwards, reality is something different and the idealization of the secret lover quickly fades. Hephaestus did not want to divorce Aphrodite, he was a decent hardworking man who valued marriage. He wanted Zeus to influence his daughter Aphrodite to be a faithful woman.
So Hephaestus exposes the affair to the Gods. Many betrayed spouses make the affairs known, when they broadcast it to the world it makes for a juicy news story, especially when billboards get hired or other notable actions take place. The media and society are quick to judge these exposures are vengeful.
The same happens to Hephaestus, the Gods, most of them not exactly faithful to their spouses either and lusting for beautiful Aphrodite, laugh at him. We see the same responses in modern-day. Faithful people support the betrayed spouse and exert pressure to end the affair and for the unfaithful spouse to return to the marriage. Unfaithful people are shocked and angered. What if this would happen to them? They call it vengeful, vindictive, salacious etc. From how people react to exposure of an affair, I can tell how faithful they are to their partner.
Usually the rest of the story is left out, while it is also what we commonly see in modern-day. Aphrodite has many more lovers and children, but never finds happiness. Quite frankly, her life is a train wreck with intrigues, drama, revenge, murder, you name it. Ares did not fare any better. Lifetime would not be able to put it all in 1 movie.
The demonized betrayed Hephaestus actually moves on with life. He remarries and has long and happy life. Quite the contrast to Aphrodite and Ares.
Often when we look at the betrayed spouse, we pity, we label as ‘scorned’, we judge, even years after the fact. Do we ask ourselves if the betrayed spouse really deserves that label? The betrayed spouse is initially confronted with many emotions as affairs of strike like lightening on a clear day. Emotions are raw and deep. The adulterer on the other hand has emotions on a much more superficial level and rarely get these dealt with properly. Research shows that years after the fact, the betrayed spouse has moved on, yet it is the betrayer that still has many emotional issues that stem from the affair and the resulting divorce.
He who has acted morally right, has no regrets. The Greek Mythology teaches us, living without morals is a downward spiral. However, you may not always get what you want. Hephaestus did not want a divorce, but he did end up with one. His divorce was a blessing, perhaps it is an unforeseen blessing for you as well!