My last post about infidelity sparked some really interesting discussion, and has got me thinking about just what fidelity means, and how important it actually is in a relationship.
So, given I always get such thoughtful interesting responses, I wanted to ask some more questions about what loyalty in a relationship means to you.
Firstly of course we have the issue of what is cheating? I think we have established that the majority of men (all my readers excepted obviously), would probably cheat if they had the chance and knew they could get away with it, but what exactly do you define as cheating? Is it a kiss? Is it sex? Or do men take the Bill Clinton approach to just how much bad behaviour you can defend… ‘I did not have intercourse with that woman…’
I’m sure it varies hugely from person to person and from men to women. For women, sex normally implies some kind of romantic involvement, and it’s hard for many women to imagine their partner sleeping with someone else without there being strong feelings involved. In a way, it’s the thought of the emotional attachment that hurts more than the act.
Imagine two separate scenarios – in one your husband comes to you and tells you he had a drunken one night stand with a colleague. It happened once, he says it meant nothing. In another he admits to you that for several months he has been having strong feelings for a colleague – he thinks about her a lot, but he has firmly resisted any physical relationship.
Which hurts most?
The second issue then, is how much you would be prepared to forgive. If men are just not built for monogamous long-term relationships, should we be facing up to this fact and setting our expectations and boundaries accordingly? Or should we be strict and demand that he resist his ‘natural urges’, no matter what, and become a one woman man?
And what about us women? If we are supposedly better designed to remain faithful, is it somehow more hurtful and shocking for a man to find out his wife has been cheating on him?
Some people have very strong, clear ideas about exactly what behaviour they will and will not tolerate, but affairs of the heart are rarely this simple. We are human, we make mistakes, surely the important thing is how we each handle these mistakes? If you found out your partner had cheated on you, would they be out on their ear, or would you be prepared to forgive and forget?