Should we redefine infidelity to save love and marital relationships?

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  1. profile image55
    Raj Rishiposted 13 years ago

    Most relationships in love and marriage break up due primarily to boredom, which results in cooling of passions.  It is difficult to 'enjoy' the same fare daily howsoever delicious it may be. This is, of course, not to deny other reasons for break-up.
    Desire for change is very human and natural.  This is why we go to restaurants, clubs, parties and outstations. Since we do not dare to express our desire for change of partners openly, we do it clandestinely. Or, we make excuses and raise compatibility issues to break up the relationship and also to keep our conscience clear.
    The age-old view of marital fidelity has become so much ingrained in our thinking patterns that we have become extremely egoistic and possessive of our partners. Another reason why we feel enraged at the  'infidelity' of our partners is that we are die-hard narcissists. We consider it a challenge to our self-estimation of manliness and womanly attractiveness if our partner even thinks or looks at others much less actually sleeps with them.
    Hundreds of thousands of marital relationships can be saved from breaking and the resultant painful legal, financial and emotional consequences if only we change our concept of fidelity.
    Let us not forget that it is not possible to eat or live daily outside the house for a long time. We get fed up with our escapades when  we have seen it all. We long for our home. And once we come back, we love it more than even before and tend  to stay there forever.

    1. Anath profile image63
      Anathposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I agree, fidelity should be redefined.  I find difficult to believe that we are meant to be monogamus in the first place!

      The desire to change partners is just natural, many people only dream with it while others take it seriously and actually go and do it secretly.

      As for fidelity being tied to narcissism, I find that it can be rather ego boosting to see a man going out with another woman and coming back to me afterwards because I am the best wink
      It is what happens at swinging parties, everybody have fun but at the end you end up with your partner because it is YOU the one he/she loves.   
      I have met several couples who have seen their marriages saved after they opened their minds and relationships to new challenges.  Swinging allowed them to fulfill their fantasies in a safe environment and at the same time allowed them to realize who they really love.

    2. profile image0
      EmpressFelicityposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I would think boredom might play a part, but when it comes to actual breakups, there are probably more pressing reasons.  Such as "unreasonable behaviour" (including domestic violence).  Or financial problems.  Or.... 

      "Of divorces filed in England and Wales in 2003, 69 percent of them were at the wife's behest. The most frequently cited fact for the basis of the divorce for women? Her husband's "unreasonable behavior." For those men filing for divorce, on the other hand, it was a two-year long separation that was the most frequent reason for their request for a divorce.

      Top reasons why American women said they'd gotten divorced –
      communication problems (69.7 percent);
      unhappiness (59.9 percent);
      incompatible with spouse (56.4 percent);
      emotional abuse (55.5 percent);
      financial problems (32.9 percent);
      sexual problems (32.1 percent);
      spouse's alcohol abuse (30.0 percent);
      spousal infidelity (25.2 percent); and
      physical abuse (21.7 percent). 21.

      Top reasons why American men said they'd gotten divorced –
      communication problems (59.3 percent);
      incompatible with spouse (44.7 percent);
      unhappiness (46.9 percent);
      emotional abuse (24.7 percent);
      financial problems (28.7 percent); and
      sexual problems (30.2 percent)."

      1. Anath profile image63
        Anathposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        In my opinion:

        1) communication problems (69.7 percent); come from not being able to talk with your partner about your fantasies.

        2) unhappiness (59.9 percent); from not being able to "have your way" with other desirable people, hence a feeling that you are missing out.

        3) incompatible with spouse (56.4 percent); because he/she does not want to "play your games" or explore new ways of loving.

        4) sexual problems (32.1 percent); come from the fact that libido changes with physical age but also with the age of the relationship.

        5) spousal infidelity (25.2 percent), infidelity occurs mainly at a physical level (at least before it becomes emotional) if your partner cannot fulfill your physycal (sexual needs) you will try to get that somewhere else.

        As I said.... that is just MHO

        1. profile image0
          EmpressFelicityposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          All of what you've mentioned would certainly play a part for some couples, but a lot of what screws up people's relationships/marriages is nothing to do with sex at all - it's things like job loss, money worries, lack of intellectual compatibility, disagreements over children or in-laws - you name it!

          Sex might be a big factor in some breakups, but not all by any means.  Some people (more likely women than men though) also have affairs not because they aren't getting enough sex in their marriage, but because they aren't getting enough attention/love generally.

          You obviously agree with the OP - how would you redefine infidelity?

          1. Anath profile image63
            Anathposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            I think that I see infidelity more as an intelectual thing than physical.  I mean, anyone can "fall into temptation" and have a one night stand but still love his/her partner.  It is the same with swinging couples, they agree to have sex with someone else BUT they love their partner.

            For me infidelity is more about love than sex. I think that is where most people get confused because they want to believe that love and sex are always toguether.

            1. profile image0
              EmpressFelicityposted 13 years agoin reply to this

              OK, I have to admit I'm still confused.  I don't know you, but I'll assume you're married.  What exactly would your husband have to do with/say to another woman in order to qualify as "unfaithful" in your book?

              1. Anath profile image63
                Anathposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                First of all I don't believe in marriage.  Let's say I am in an open relationship (for the past 3 years) where the term unfaithful is not relevant.

                Just having sex with another woman is not enough.  We like to explore our sexuality and we do it toguether, it is not a secret between us.  I don't feel betrayed because HE IS with ME.  I am the one he loves or he wouldn't be with me.  The same goes for him, he cannot feel betrayed because at the end is him the one I chose to be with. 

                I know this is not the norm, but this is the way I like it and the way I am happy.  Amazing as it might seem to you this open relationship is the one that has given me more happiness than any other previous relationships.

                1. profile image0
                  EmpressFelicityposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                  So basically you're saying that to you, infidelity has the conventional meaning, i.e. "sleeping with someone who isn't one's partner/spouse".  And that since you have an open relationship, then in your relationship there can be no such thing as infidelity.  I can't say I'd ever fancy an open relationship but obviously it works for both of you, so fair enough.

                  1. Anath profile image63
                    Anathposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                    No, I mean that just having sex with someone else shouldn't count as infidelity as long as your partner knows about it and agrees with it.

                2. profile image0
                  Poppa Bluesposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                  "open" relationships are fine as long as they last, and they don't last though some last as long as many marriages. People get old and one partner may find they are spending more time with another. Sooner or later one is going to want to settle down, so enjoy it while it lasts.

            2. Disturbia profile image59
              Disturbiaposted 13 years agoin reply to this

              Oh please, I've probably had more experience with this particular subject than most people.  My first husband was a bi-sexual, swinger, BDSM freak who must have had sex with half the hookers (straight and gay) of San Francisco. He would always try to presuade me to take lovers... I never did, becasue it's against my personal moral and ethical code.  We had many friends with open marriages and those that often had multiple partners... I think it's all a bunch of crap and these people were nothing more than a bunch of fakes trying to make themselves appear cool. 

              I don't believe that love and sex are or even should be always together nor are they the same thing, but when you promise to be faithful to someone, that's what you should be.  If you don't want to be with just one person, don't get married, stay single, play the field, fool around with whom ever you wish, you are centainly free to do so.  I've been married 5 times and have never cheated on any single one of my husbands, but I have been cheated on many times and I have just one thing to say about it... IT SUCKS!

              I don't believe in any relationship lasting forever.  Forever is just too long and like anything else relationships have a shelf-life.  When it's over, you know it... so move on to someone new if that's what you want.  But while you are in the relationship, that's where you should stay... in the relationship... play in your own yard and don't stray.

    3. profile image0
      cosetteposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      yeah, and while we're at it. let's redefine what it means to be a good parent or citizen too. a few child beatings and minor felonies won't hurt anyone roll

      just because something is "age-old" doesn't mean we should toss it on the trash heap.

      FYI, severing a relationship has nothing to do with narcissim. it is about a breach of trust. leopards don't change their spots. they just get better at concealing them.

      1. donotfear profile image84
        donotfearposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        Bravo!!!!  Here, here!  Applause.  Well said.

        1. profile image0
          Brenda Durhamposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          I third that!  big_smile

        2. profile image0
          cosetteposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          smile thanks, DNF.

          i have seen people on tv who are in open relationships. ok, swingers. they all say that..that it doesn't matter how many people the other plays with because they LOVE their spouse and they know without a doubt their partner LOVES them, so it's ok to have your mouth, lips and tongue all over a stranger's intimate body parts and know his mouth, lips and tongue are all over some other woman's (or man's) body parts.

          someone you love.

          oh boy.

          see, i think about these things...i would be beyond uncomfortable being married to someone like this. and it has nothing to do with insecurity. i am not jealous and am very sure of my looks and sensuality. seriously, do you really believe he tells you EVERYTHING? every text message, every "I love you" uttered in the heat of passion?

          love isn't a symbiotic relationship. it is embracing all that life brings you, the joys and sorrows and struggles, too, and facing them together as one united front. would either of you be there for any of your lovers at 2 in the morning?

          i doubt it.

          you're saying that these people's real lives and real problems don't bleed into the bedroom? then it is not real intimacy you are sharing with your other lovers, it is pure carnal pleasure and physical release. i'm sorry, but i am worth more than being somebody's vessel for physical release.

    4. profile image0
      EmpressFelicityposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I've just reread the OP, and these two sentences jumped out at me.

      Had it occurred to you that another reason a "cheatee" might feel enraged at infidelity is that some cheaters cheat largely because they can get away with it, and because they secretly (or not so secretly) enjoy the feeling of power it gives over their non-cheating spouse?

      Believe me, it does happen.

    5. Pearldiver profile image68
      Pearldiverposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Ho Hum...... what a sad and boring post hmm

      I don't think that you know much about people at all... let alone relationships hmm

      Personally I don't go to restaurants, clubs and parties as a result of a desire for change... How boring would that be? hmm

      I think you should hone up on your rejection responses.... I have a feeling that when you get to meet some real people that they will tell you what a strange and boring person you are lol

      Sheesh.... why don't they keep their rubber doll domestic disputes to themselves???? hmm big_smile

    6. h.a.borcich profile image61
      h.a.borcichposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      You think that if infidelity was not a marital crime that more marriages would survive?
      I think it would be better for those not willing to do the vows to not get married! Why should such a huge corner stone of most societies be changed? Getting married is not a requirement - it is a choice as is being faithful.
      Come to think of it, those kids we had in the marriage before I got bored....Oh, and that degree I only did part of the schooling for....and I want that car but I am tired of the same old payments, too.......
      Seems like one can change their mind midstream on a committment but then it becomes something else. Holly

    7. Ben Evans profile image66
      Ben Evansposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      The question that should be asked is which comes first?

      1) The relationship.


      2) The sex.

      If sex is more important to a person than a relationship, then a person will not have a loving relationship.   So you choose one or the other not both. 

      Speaking of narcissism what is the reason we want to have sex?  Really why would a person want to have multiple partners?  It would obviously be to say I am attractive; I can get multiple partners; I am varile; I need attention.......Well you get the picture.    That is pure vanity for the ego.

      So why do people think that monogomy is important?  I think Cossette made a very good point.  Basically you either choose your family or your libido.  This is a sociological outcropping of natural law.  To maintain good societies, people have to take care of their families.  Sex, at least in its basic purpose, is to create babies or families.  Hey, maybe sex has evolved but it still creates babies and regardless of attitude society is going to say that a person is responsible for their family.

      So what does this have to do with my thesis which is you choose either sex or a loving relationship?  Well, you cant love multiple sexual partners.  You have to betray another partner to have sexual relationship with another. 

      What if this person is ok with it?

      This person may say they are but most of the time they arent.  It is going to hurt most people.  You cant hurt a person and love a person at the at the same time in this manner.  This is actually an extreme psychological hurt.   It just goes to reason that sex is more important than the relationship if a person wants multiple partners.

      Many modern societies allow behaviors such as polygamous relationships (not marriage) but to change societies' stance on is quite a different thing.  This is against the structure of the family and hey that is exactly how society is structured (just like a family).  Sorry, this forged in iron.  You wont break it.

      If you want to participate, I believe it is your right to do so.  I do not think your partner will ever love you even if you think you love your partner if you are participating in this type of relationship.

      1. profile image55
        Raj Rishiposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        Ben Evans
        The sad truth is that the ground reality collides with ideal situation. You say that sex, at least in its basic purpose, is to create babies or families. A growing number of people are avoiding bearing children altogether.
        This is despite the belief that a woman becomes complete only when she becomes a mother. If the basic purpose of marriage is to have a family, how come more and more people are going for live-in relationships? The forged in iron structure of the family is already breaking up.
        Again, you say that you cant hurt a person and love a person at the at the same time in this manner. Why should you feel hurt if your partner refuses to take the fare you offer on a daily basis while the hard truth is that you yourself wish for the change although you hate to admit it even to yourself? Are you feeling hurt because you are not either getting the opportunity for change or because you are afraid that you might be caught   or it might lead to break up?
        You say that basically you either choose your family or your libido.  Cooling of passion for the same person is quite human and natural. Why dub it as libido and make it appear sinful and unfamilial?
        While it is true that family life provides security, warmth and sense of belongingness, somehow, the ideal of family clashes with the fundamental  natural instincts, whether one agrees or not. Those who sacrifice their libido for the sake of family life keep looking wistfully for sex with others, even though they may not do it. You are deceiving yourself and your partner by professing loyalty to them. You can suppress libido, but you cannot stop it from rising in your heart. It means that you are only pretending loyalty to your partner. The sin is already in your heart. You cannot love your spouse truly or satisfy them if you are trying to control your libido for someone else at the same time.
        I think the definition of   true love and (in)fidelity should be based upon human nature and  psychology rather than on  the  concept of what is right and wrong howsoever  hoary and sacred it may be.

        1. Ben Evans profile image66
          Ben Evansposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          My stance is not idealistic.  It is the way society defines morality as it applies to relationships.  Your stance is actually idealistic and unacheivable.

          My argument about sex was not to say that the only reason to have sex was for having baibies.  It was to explain how society formulates its complex moral issues with infidelity.

          Before we go any further, you are making many broad assumptions.  First this is not religious argument and has nothing to do with it.  Second you place an assumption that all people must be wanting to be polygamous.  I think that is just popularization of people in western modern culture.  You are a better person if you can attract more people is the battle cry. 

          Who says people are looking for sex and nothing else?  What proof do you have to support that everyone is looking to cheat.  I think it might be a desire to be rock star.  You know what?......... When men are young, I mean 18-21, many men have a rock star fantacy to be with as many women as possilble.  However, is this how a 30 40 50 60 year old thinks. Is it a popular idea or is it reality?  Well, since you cannot speak for all males how can you say that all men have this wander lust?

          Now true love cannot be explained by psychology.  It is a spirituality. 

          Right now human nature is the average of all humans behavior right?  What percentage of the world that is polygamous?  So before you can define what people appear to want, you must have empirical evidence.  I would say right now that a majority of the people of the world are monogamous.  (Maybe that is not the way it is in western culture)  I dont have proof. 

          The way you describe me is all assumptions and really it is a tagential and an emotional argument to my thesis.  You dont know what I think or what drives me.

          You arent going to change my mind and society will still look at infidelty as immoral.  You arent going to change that.  It hurts people.  That is the reason.   The main reason society wont do an about face is allowing this this will seriously hurt childrens lives.  If a person has no care for thier family, you know what we may as well throw in the bag and let this whole world go to pot. 

          Now while I didnt say there is anything wrong with what you think or how you choose to conduct your life.  I believe that is your choice.  The free love argument was made 45 years ago in the 60's.  Society did not fully embrace the idea (It was only the fringe.....Most of whom gave up that life to have families)  then.  So how can anyone expect society to changes its stance now?  You can do what you want and for the most part people wont judge you............However, those who are or were close will definately judge you heavily if choose to ruin their lives.

    8. goldenpath profile image68
      goldenpathposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I highly, yet respectfully, disagree.  Relationships end due to lack of communication skills and the many obstacles resulting from it. 

      Marriage is a sacred vow to be one with your spouse and not a convenient revolving door.  Fidelity is essential to that vow.  Through it and communication trust is fostered.  There is no way on this or any other planet that entertaining whims outside of the marriage vow can improve conditions at home.  Fidelity is a very part of your integrity and character.  A proper marriage is entered with the understanding that both of you will stick it out in good and bad times and to ever continue to work on strengthening the union.  Redefining marriage is what has gotten us in the mess we're in now with the various skewed perceptions of marriage in the world.  Infidelity assuredly negatively affects their posterity for generations to come.

      Infidelity is a gross crucifixion of marriage and the family as a whole.

  2. Origin profile image61
    Originposted 13 years ago

    You can fix it all by just allowing polygamy.

    (I kid, well sort of.. it would probably help in some ways. Although, we would have like 100 times more kids, possibly.)

  3. profile image0
    ralwusposted 13 years ago

    anyone who is bored is boring and just because I am married does not mean I do not love my wife of twenty years. She never bores me, but she is old and dried up you see.

  4. profile image0
    Poppa Bluesposted 13 years ago

    Sounds like you're preparing an excuse for an affair. Good luck!

    1. donotfear profile image84
      donotfearposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Yep, it does, doesn't it?

      1. Disturbia profile image59
        Disturbiaposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        Doesn't sound like he's looking for an afair to me, it sounds like he loves his wife and she doesn't have to be young or hot or anything but what she is... BRAVO ralwus!

  5. profile image0
    cosetteposted 13 years ago

    changing morality to make immoral behavior palatable is ridiculous.

    just ONCE i wish people would own what they do. i could respect that at least.

    i suspect the word 'accountability' will be gone from the dictionaries soon.

    1. profile image0
      Justine76posted 13 years agoin reply to this

      yeah, lets change stealing to borrowing, and all will be fine.

      1. Disturbia profile image59
        Disturbiaposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        Exactly, that makes as much sense as an open marriage.

  6. profile image0
    Justine76posted 13 years ago

    how does redefining fidelity make a peroson who desires trust and honesty in a relationship suddenly be ok with being cheated on?

    1. Disturbia profile image59
      Disturbiaposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      It doesn't... being cheated on is just that, being cheated on and speaking as one who has been there, it stinks and there is nothing that anybody can say to justify it.  You don't have to "redefine" the word fidelity, there is already a word in the dictionary for cheating... it's INFIDELITY!

      1. profile image0
        Madame Xposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        Exactly smile

  7. donotfear profile image84
    donotfearposted 13 years ago

    NO matter what way you look at it, infidelity isn't a subject without controversy. Yep, it can happen to anyone and, possibly, no person is immune from it. But crap, why get married and creat a union if you wanna have other flings? Makes no sense. Marriage was designed with commitment in mind, remember that. And that means a commitment to 'forsake all others'. If you wanna change the meaning of marriage, be my guest. But it wasn't made to be easy, but a partnership. And that means sharing each other's body & soul. And not sharing with somebody else...that ruins the bond. I'm not looking for an approval, I'm just stating my view.  And no, I'm not a saint either. I've been married more than once and made mistakes in the past. But I've definitely learned this: love and marriage is a choice. It's your decision whether to stay or go. Think about it.

  8. profile image0
    cosetteposted 13 years ago

    well, as long as you are happy.

    and you don't have any children.

    i just don't understand it but you seem happy so (meh).

    and i wasn't being sarcastic. it just doesn't make sense to date someone and get to know them if they are just there for sex. well i guess i am a prude then hmm?

    oh well. i'm comfortable with my prudeyness wink

    1. Disturbia profile image59
      Disturbiaposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I don't think you are a prude at all cosette, you just have standards. 

      I am an open minded person.  My philosophy has alwas been to live and let live and to each his own.  But there are limits and somewhere everyone draws a line, including me. 

      I don't oppose open relationships, as long as they are not just for shock value.  I'm fine with gay marriage.  I don't even object to polygamy, just as long as everybody in the relationship agrees to play by the same rules.

      Fidelity means to be faithful and loyal... to me that is being true to your word.  So if you promise not to be with anyone else, you shouldn't be.  If you promise to be with only these three people and you are, you are certainly practicing fedility, because again, you are keeping your word.  And if you make no promises to anyone, that's OK too, because you can't break a promise you never made.

      It's when you go outside the promise, outside the arrangement and are no longer loyal to your partner/partners that you break the trust.

      As I said, everyone has standards, limits and lines in the sand.  It's all a matter of honesty and personal integrity, which to me are the most important qualities a person can have.

      1. profile image0
        cosetteposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        thanks smile (and i agree about honesty and personal integrity)

        i think people have affairs because they need an ego boost.

        which is selfish, not to mention dangerous.

        1. donotfear profile image84
          donotfearposted 13 years agoin reply to this

          You're right, cosette. An ego boost....sometimes the ego gets in the way of logical reasoning, grows into a total obsession, then takes root & blooms into a full-fledged crisis.

          1. Disturbia profile image59
            Disturbiaposted 13 years agoin reply to this

            Yes, this is what seems to have happened to my husband.  He has affairs both physical and emotional with women to boost his ego and that feeling of being "the man" in their eyes is so intoxicating to him that it really has become an obsession and an addiction.  I know he loves me, and his "infidelity" has nothing to do with me.  At first I felt it did, but that was just my own ego getting in the way of what was really happening.

            He craves the excitement and thrill of impressing and sweeping someone new off their feet.  Once he's made the conquest, he quickly loses interest.  You can only make a first impression once.  Of course, if I did anything like this, he would flip his lid and probably kill me.  It is this double standard and the fact that he has been sneaking around behind my back, that has my blood boiling.

            But of course, keeping it all hidden from me is also part of the big thrill.  I guess cheating isn't as much fun when your wife knows all about it.  Maybe he's afraid that I'll want to join him with his girlfriends.  I wouldn't be opposed, but ironically, he would see that as me cheating on him... and I thought my views were strange.  Either way, it is now a moot point as he has agreed to give up this affairs.  We are currently in counseling for these behaviors.

            1. profile image55
              Raj Rishiposted 13 years agoin reply to this

              This is my point disturbia. You admit that your husband  loves you despite his ego boosting  escapades. This proves that sex is not the only defining aspect of abiding marital relationship and love.
              But instead of killing you if he also accepts you like you are accepting him, you wouldn’t be counselling and marriage would go smoothly. I think he is bound to get fed up with his affairs sooner than later and come back to  you as completely yours. Of course, it may take some time and patience to keep cool and prevent your blood boiling.

              1. Disturbia profile image59
                Disturbiaposted 13 years agoin reply to this

                I understand what you are saying and I can agree to a point.  I guess I'm just too literal.  The point if this hub is the question of whether infidelity should be redifined.  Infidelity is what it is, breaking the trust.  It does not need to be redifined. 

                People can have whatever kind of relationship they want as long as they are open about their intentions. 

                My husband does not want an open relationship.  He does not want me to be with other men, or other women for that matter and he certainly doesn't want me to be with him and anybody else at the same time.  He is so jealous and possessive that he has a nervous breakdown if another man even looks at me in a club or a restaurant, or if I wear a short skirt or a tank top.

                He says he wants to stop this behavior of cheating but he can't help himself, which is why we are in counseling.

                1. profile image0
                  Justine76posted 13 years agoin reply to this

                  this is exactly what I was trying to sya, only yours came out much better.  smile I agree 100 percent, infidelity is what it is.

                  (btw, my husband found a way out of the nervous breakdowns, we dont go out.)

                  I wish you the best of luck and much sucess in your counseling, disturbia.


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