I solemnly swear to be true and faithful… not!
by Gia, 8th April, 2014
Psychologists and relationship coaches often argue that the reason why people have such difficulty with committing to one another and being faithful is the “need for diversity”. Faced with the undeniable transformation of today’s relationship models, where are we heading?
What is infidelity? What constitutes infidelity? A kiss? The sexual act?
If you haven’t gotten around to discuss the dreaded exclusivity clause, then, my dear ladies, do it! Only that will allow you to define the what.
Interesting enough, I spoke to my friends M and R. about this very same subject.
M, a woman, defends that in a longterm relationship, the occasional one night stand should not be considered cheating. Her argument: it doesn’t hold any emotional value, it’s merely physical. R. on the other hand, a man, states that cheating depends on the frequency. Quote: ”It’s only cheating if you do it more than once.”.
Bottom line: infidelity is defined exclusively within the couple, case by case, person by person.
But we all, in some way, already knew that. After all, the lie of some, can very often be the truth of others. And who are we to judge?
This brings us to the much harder question: the why.
You have a new partner, you established that it’s a relationship, and you clearly defined it’s a one on one game. And then… BAM! The ugly truth: your girlfriend slept with somebody else. Plates fly, punches get thrown (only imaginary ones let’s hope), tears are shed and rivers cried. And after all that, the big, the unavoidable question comes up: WHY?!?
The truth is, the attempt to understand unfaithfulness has been haunting both men and women since the beginning of time. You can find literature on the subject (mostly descriptive of the behaviour, or even of how to overcome it) – but none on the reason that explains unfaithfulness. Psychological and social research are still at a very early stage.
Do we cheat because we need to get different things from different people? And if so, doesn’t that mean we are with the wrong person? Can we still believe that one person only can complete and fulfil our needs?
Imagination. Sex. Example.
Those three little words can often explain infidelity.
Imagination. We imagine what we will be by our thirties and we don’t just imagine it on a professional, but also on a personal and emotional level. We even imagine that certain age to be the point, where we have to start committing.
Sex. AKA the dreaded Lesbian Bed Death. You want to keep the relationship, you love the person, BUT the passion starts to die. Routine takes over and all of sudden, the “menu” of the new “restaurant” starts looking pretty darn appetizing.
Still in the bedroom department, another interesting phenomenon is what I like to call the Madonna effect (according to the Madonna-whore complex, which was first discovered by psychologist Sigmund Freud). More commonly to be found in heterosexual couples, but also visible in lesbian/gay couples, the Madonna complex occurs when your partner sees you as a sacred, borderline divine, holy figure with whom they cannot fully liberate themselves sexually. Like the song goes “all I want is a little respect“, but too much of it will keep you from getting down and a little dirty once in a while! Visible result of this phenomenon: your partner will fulfil her fantasies with someone else and won’t even consider it as cheating.
Example. Freud always said that we repeat in our relationships the patterns of the relationship we have seen with our parents. Under this optic one can also argue that people that constantly observe broken homes and dysfunctional relationships between their parents or even family members, will have a tendency to develop equality dysfunctional relationships of their own. Luckily, every rule has an exception.
Truth of the matter is, the concept of relationship is constantly changing.
Polyamory: The Relationship of the Future???
With all the infidelity issues, new forms of relationships are arising, polyamory being one of them.
Polyamory can be defined as the establishment and maintenance of committed relationships with two or more partners with an emphasis on the emotional connection. So if you ladies were thinking you found the perfect excuse to have that threesome you’ve been dreaming about, the answer is a resounding no. Openness and transparency are crucial, but with several partners and not just one. In the book “The Ethical Slut“ (yes, it is a real title of a real book!) by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy it is stated very clearly that in a polyamorous setting, honesty is essential. All parties involved are aware of each others existence and role.
Personally, being profoundly monogamous myself, this concept has always eluded me. Seriously? Having one woman is hard enough, let alone have two or three! The least I can say is that my consumption of alcohol, valium and caffeine would definitely skyrocket!
Can we still believe in fairy tale dreams of finding the one person, the one soul mate that will love us the way we are? Or, can we even believe in multiple soul mates?
There is no magic formula to prevent infidelity… The cliché (although true) advice would be: keep it fresh, establish the ground rules from the beginning and keep an open communication. Truth is, love, commitment and fidelity are a leap of faith, a trapezes’ jump: you take a deep breath, you throw yourself and hope the
other person won’t let you fall.
We would like to thank our new author Gia for this interesting article.