Hi Everyone! Nice to see you!
What do you get if you are in a fidelitous relationship? Well, assuming that both parties don`t stray, the gains are trust and security and closeness along with knowledge of rightful conduct. We feel good about ourselves when we know that we are loved exclusively and when we know that we can trust that this has permanence. But fidelity alone doesn`t make for a good relationship. There isn`t much gain if the relationship is abusive or without mutuality in the first place, though loving someone whom you also know to be loyal to you is a tremendous bonus.
Now, are these conclusions just moralising in disguise? I don`t think so. The point is to find out what we get from a position that could be seen as moral and right. However, let`s look at what happens when we don`t behave in this way at all, when one or both people in a relationship have intimate liaisons with others unbeknown to each other.
Well, it`s a thrill for many to cheat and to try not to be caught. Most cheats have a great time hiding their behaviour and things only begin to unravel when they get caught. I see this behaviour as founded in the way a child begins to hide from their parent, seeking an identity of their own: the spouse or partner becomes the parent, in fact, and the straying adult seeks an affair as a sign of independence against the parent they still carry with them in their adult world.
The main thing to realise is that once a person has had an affair, the pre-affair level of trust cannot be reclaimed. Cannot. Anything following is just a patch-up. Both parties suffer, one knows that they will not henceforth be trusted and the other feels pain at having been lied to and betrayed. To both the blemish is unrecoverable. There is a stain forever. The guilty party who has had the affair, feels guilt, of course, and venom from their partner, and the guilt they suffer compounds the problem, making it MORE likely that they will have another affair as they need to escape guilt and recriminations. I am tempted to say that the offending party needs to "start with a clean sheet" elsewhere!!! Well, let`s say that they need someone who views them in a positive light, which approval they now cannot get from their partner. With their partner enraged at them, they need someone with whom to seek solace and good regard! Indeed, the reaction of their partner can be cited as the cause of their straying behaviour.
So a whole cycle of guilt and anger and revenge and embitterment is set up by one indiscretion. Promises of faithfulness now ensue... and the stakes are very high indeed. "If you do it again, I`ll leave you!" Mistrust is a corrupting enemy, causing loss of respect for the other person and loss of self-respect too. No one gains from feeling that they have to spy on their partner... and how do you love someone whom you disrespect enough to spy on them? Indeed the erring partner now becomes a child, to be watched, controlled and maligned and the other becomes the parent, with the moral high ground. We can see that a relationship can hardly be conducted in terms of parent-child and this, of course, is the central problem when breaches of trust occur.The parent role here destroys adult love because a parent-child relationship is one devoid of sexual love,being rooted in a nurturing inequality.. (It`s funny how we snap back into our relationship model, our parents, at every juncture!!!) And it is the quality of our parent's relationship with each other, and thence with us, that dictates our spousal behaviour. What a surprise !
The difficulty with the fidelity issue is when one person in a partnership is "able to be" faithful and one is not. In open relationships too, satiety does not ultimately bring the gains that liberty might be seen to offer. Jealousy still pulls people apart, it eats away at consensual adultery and certainly does not earn the peace and security ostensibly bound up in "lets both be guilty". It really is just an attempt to make acceptable polygamous behaviour and, essentially, circumvent any guilt that might otherwise be felt. Hmmmmmmm..... Guilt avoidance yet again !