“I always admire the French and the Italians who are very devoted to their marriages,” “They take them extremely seriously, but it is understood that there might be other visitors at 5 o’clock in the afternoon you just never boast about.” He goes on to call marriages “unromantic” because you’re “closing yourself off,” and generally finds the whole institution to be rather Old Testament. “People make so many mistakes. Do I think human beings are meant to be in 40-year-long monogamous, faithful, relationships? No, no, no. Whoever said they were? Only the Bible or something.” So is hugh right. Lets look
In purely evolutionary terms, sticking with a single partner makes very little sense. The law of averages alone suggests that the more women a man has sexual relations with, the greater are the chances of his line continuing compared with a man who confines himself to a single partner.
Of course, we like to think we humans are far more complex creatures – that we are more than mere animals, and that we are influenced by factors beyond our biological and evolutionary drivers alone. I guess we can thank the bible for that sense of superiority.
Seriously, when it comes to relationships, we enter a whole new world – way beyond pure biological and evolutionary drivers.
Yes, our relationships are imbued with far more complex concepts – think passion; think love; my word, think pre-nuptial agreements and wealth protection! And, of course, think “faithfulness”.
When we talk about someone being unfaithful in a relationship, the conversation quickly turns to questions of fault and blame. Why is that?
This is an issue that needs to be debated far more openly. Fortunately, I think that debate has started-
In the course of my work advising on sex and relationships, I have noticed a recent tendency for people to be more honest about their extra-relationship activities – not only more honest with their partners – most importantly, honest with themselves.
As it happens, I do believe in and strive for true love. But I am also a realist and understand the desire for variety – in all things, including relationships.
Having said that, I definitely would not do anything behind my partner’s back. Instead, if I felt I ever needed something extra or different, I would make a point of talking to him about it, openly and honestly. And I would expect the same of him.
Unfortunately, despite the trend towards more openness with these issues, I suspect my approach is in the minority.
I know many people who are in relationships they should not be in. And many are being selfish by not being honest with their partners.
When I speak with them, they are, of course, convinced they are doing the right thing. Almost invariably, they have a non-existent or unsatisfactory sexual relationship with their current partner, who is unaware they are having a sexual relationship with a third-party; and the justification goes along the following lines – “I have every right to be happy, but I need to stay with [her/him] … for the sake of the children – for financial reasons – for [her/his] sake …” – take your pick.
I even know someone who has been married for 20 years, has children, is gay, and yet they remain married because they are afraid to come out.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not being harsh when I describe these people. I am not judging them. I am all in favour of diversity and, in particular, sexual health and happiness.
And I am not saying these people do not have legitimate concerns about the effect that leaving their current relationship will have on their kids. I am sure their concerns are truly Editheld. In fact, the strength of these concerns about kids can be seen in the number of marriages that break up shortly after the last child leaves school. I think we should coin a phrase for this phenomenon – how about “School Gate Syndrome”.
Nor do I dismiss the legitimacy of the concerns about the effects their leaving the relationship might have on their finances or on the health of their current partner.
And I am certainly not saying their circumstances are easy. Trust me, I have been there a number of times. They’re not easy.
I’m simply saying these people are not being honest with their partner or with themselves.
To me, unfaithfulness means one partner engaging in sexual relations with a person other than their partner, in circumstances where their partner believes they remain committed to one another.
In my view, whatever self-justification the unfaithful partner may convince themselves of, they are lying to their partners and should move on and let the other person find their own happiness. Otherwise, it is completely unfair.
Again, I am not trying to judge anyone here. In fact, the term “unfaithful” itself is very emotive and judgemental. Perhaps we should stop using the term when it comes to consensual non-monogamous relationships. Society needs to accept that some people live like this. It also needs to be accepted that its also not a human natural science to be jhave sex wirh just one person for 40 years.
Forgive or forget?
If my partner was unfaithful to me, I would want to know they had safe sex, and why they did it – in that order of course.
It’s not that I would accept an unfaithful partner – trust me, I wouldn’t.
But I do have a different mindset from most. I understand that some people just cannot be faithful. Its just not human, and being unfaithful is not not usually malicious.
I once had a partner who was on-line dating the entire time he lived with me, and whilst I was under the misapprehension we were in an exclusive relationship. Needless to mention, I was devastated when I found out. But then I realised it was his issue, not mine – and I left him. I never assumed any of the fault for the relationship failing due to his unfaithfulness. Why should I? And, to be fair, he never expected me to. Fortunately, he did seek help later as this was a regular occurrence in his relationships. Somehow, the fact he accepted he had a problem and sought help to overcome it, helped me get over the hurt quicker. I told you we humans are complex!Edit
Whether you choose to forgive or not is up to you. But I do advise getting all the answers first and not to personalise it. As difficult as that may seem, the issue is not about you, it’s about them.
And I think you need to know so it does not affect your future relationships. Once your trust has been breached, it is often very difficult to trust again. So you need to accept right away that it is not your fault and its thier issue and not yours.
So, if you find yourself on the receiving end of an unfaithful partner, my advice is to try to understand why they strayed. Nothing is ever as simple – as black and white – as it seems. So, talk to your partner and get to the bottom of the issue. Then, make your decision – forgive them and stay; or forgive them and move on – it’s entirely up to you. But don’t – I repeat don’t – forget!
What if your partner has seen a working-girl?
Ladies of the night, what a curious description! Not sure why they call it that. I have known many escorts, prostitutes, hookers, working-girls, whatever you want to call them – and they don’t just work night times. In fact, it’s a very normal existence – most are mothers who can’t go back to work full-time. Remember “Belle De Jour”. It really should be legalised.
I know many women can’t separate their emotions from the sex – unlike men. As I have noted above, in evolutionary terms, men are sexual creatures – genetically predisposed to spreading their seed far and wide! Generally, they’re not going to see a working girl for a relationship – so, it really shouldn’t be seen a threat to anyone if they do. More often, it’s about being able to try something new and to walk away with no-strings attached.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that women are in the majority on the health and relationship imperatives for legalising the sex worker industry.
If my partner visited a sex worker, I’d have 2 questions – first, again, did they have safe sex; and second, why did they visit them?
Most likely they simply wanted to try something they felt they could not ask you for – like cross dressing, being dominated, anal, maybe using a sex toy, or something as meaningless (to you, maybe not them) as a foot fetish.
Trust me, many people in our pressure-cooker society have these urges. And why on earth do we make it so difficult for them to satisfy them.
As many wedding vows require, we commit to one another “until death do us part”. Hell, that’s a long time – at least I hope it is!
So we are in relationships for a very long time. Is it any wonder that one or other or both of us have a desire to experiment.
EditNot long ago my niece asked me how I viewed relationships. I replied – “Darling, imagine you’re a jacket potato. Eventually, wouldn’t you get bored with the same filling (say, cheese), and fancy a little different filling once in a while”
My niece understood my metaphor. My sister and brother in-law took a while to pick up their jaws!
So, as in all things, it’s best before you jump to conclusions, to ask the questions, understand the issues, and then make your decision.
And always remember it’s not your fault. Frankly, at the risk of going biblical again, it is what it is.
Oh, and a final word – if it’s you who is “playing away”, do be honest, so your partner can as the questions, understand the issues, and make an informed decision. Otherwise, it’s just not fair.