Surprise Surprise! I got the chance to read the Saturday paper - rare indeed. Simon has Connor for a few days to give me a break.
I'm not sure why I am still dwelling on this infidelity nonsense, but I am and the paper gave me a shot in the arm. In an article called "Our Cheatin Hearts" Infidelity was explored from a number of angles. Perhaps more interesting are the 44 comments on the online version which seem broadly polarised between "It is just so wrong, and can you believe how hurtful it is" and "we are not designed to be monogamous - get over it" with a significant proportion espousing a sort of planned polyamory.
The article refers to a book by Kate Figes called Couples: The Truth
Figes notes that even though some relationships don't survive the blast of an affair, others emerge out the other side, with "a deeper intimacy". She suggests our "sanctimonious" stance on fidelity belies an insecurity about our relationships. With people today able to have sex, kids and a material life without marriage, "all the old reasons for [it] don't exist any more". With nothing else left, fidelity is held up as the prime symbol of marriage, to try to assure its survival in a world of raunchy temptation and easy divorce.
I tend to agree with that. I think what's important is love, trust and respect. However, how you implement them is totally up to you. Marriage, open relationships, whatever - as long as there is love, trust, and respect. Monogamous faithful marriage doesn't suit every couple, and more particularly it is the dynamic between them that is critical . A woman who is happily married may not have been so if she had picked a different partner. Perhaps if there were less pressure to "grow up, get married, settle down" then marriages would be more likely to occur only when both participants were in that zone.
One interesting comment to me was from a woman who had been cheated on by her husband and his (single) work colleague. She called the woman a parasitic home-wrecker and accused her of actively pursuing her husband, whereupon she was brought into line by another commentator who said
I can empathise but I think you're wrongly apportioning the blame. Your husband was the one in a committed relationship. Assuming that his lover was not, your husband committed moral wrongs that are much, much more despicable.
Which in some way provided me an answer to a comment put by one of our own who had put into question why a single woman will have an affair with a married man, but cease when she herself is in a committed relationship. The answer had been obvious to me, but the reason for it more obscure. I suppose it is just that violating your own committed relationship is harder to justify than violating someone elses.