Fair’s fair when it comes to infidelity
The real problem with British sociologist Catherine Hakim’s view of modern marriage is not her acceptance of infidelity.
Neither is it her assertion that people who live in serial monogamous relationships are the same as caged animals. Although that is a little offensive.
And it’s not even the bit where she says that having an affair is no more a moral issue than having a good meal.
The real problem with Hakim’s theory is that she considers infidelity, sleeping around and having an affair a solution to the inherent and common problems of the modern marriage.
It’s a selfish and destructive line of argument which adds nothing of benefit to the discussion about healthy long term relationships.
Everybody is actually capable of cheating on their partner, married or not. Betrayal has to be one of the oldest acts in the book. Affairs are impulsive, selfish, often short term and wrapped in layers of tunnel vision: the very antithesis of long term relationships.
For this reason, depending on the length of time you’ve been together and the pressures and stresses of life that an individual may be facing, they appear on the outside to be an escape. How many times have you heard someone say that they launched into an affair because they were feeling unhappy, bored and uninspired?
That’s because long term relationships are hard; they take work, perseverance, forgiveness and the ability to think about the consequences of your actions no matter what.
For some people those parameters are challenging; they’re not sexy, exciting or inspiring enough, so they choose to seek out those feelings elsewhere, instead of facing the problems head on.
And that’s where the real betrayal begins because cheating on your partner is the same as saying that you value yourself above the relationship that you are in. That you are willing to break the barriers of trust to make yourself feel better about what’s missing, and that you’re prepared to avoid finding a solution.
As psychologist Meredith Fuller told The Punch, that’s called “muddying the waters”.
“The desire to have an affair is actually a big hint that your needs are not being met and that you need to make some changes.”
Fuller admits that this can be hard. It takes work and a great degree of self-awareness to question yourself or your relationship but life will not move forward until you do.
“The key here is action. Maybe you need to split up for a while, maybe you need to go to couple’s counselling. But whatever you do, do something.”
Follow me on Twitter: @lucyjk
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