Sunday, November 2, 2008

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?

Various studies have been conducted by research centres all over the world on couple relationship behaviour; notably infidelity.

The act of infidelity is not a modern phenomenon. It has probably started since the existence of mankind. The only difference is that it is less tolerated now as modern societies began to create the concept of marriage as an institution, the religious impositions of the sanctity of marriage, new moral codes regulating the exclusivity of coupleship, the romantic idealism of fidelity and not least the feminist movement.

The whole concept of one man for one woman, as romantic as it sounds, does it really work for or against the core of human nature?

Now, I was brought up in a society and community which regard fidelity as an obligation. I believe that my parents have been completely faithful with each other although I've known some of my relatives who have been cheating on their wives. Yes, only the men cheat, never the women. While we try to close an eye on this, it is nevertheless a scandal  where endless gossips, conversations and debates  are held behind closed doors. 

The debates are usually divided into two groups; as most debates usually are but the interesting thing is, there is absolutely no gender balance in any of the group. You always get the women thrashing the adulterer while the men are quick to come to his defence.

One of my cousins had a huge fight with her husband when they decided to debate on Clinton's fidelity. There is nothing better than a healthy discussion on global "affairs", I'll say!

Recent studies carried out by several reputable behavioural science research centres in America have shown two surprising changes in the American society today, in regards to infidelity. Firstly, the female infidelity rate has increased which means that women are equally unfaithful to their spouses, and secondly more and more young couples are engaging in adulterous relationships.

They claimed that modern women now have more opportunity to commit infidelity as they become more emancipated; they get to know more people at the workplace, staying late at work and travelling more on business. Previously, when most women were still housewives, they stayed at home all day and hence were less exposed to the possibilities of infidelity. (Have they not heard about how the milk men and post men do more than just delivery services?)

They also claimed that in this modern era, the internet and mobile phone have contributed to the increase rate of infidelity. Even housewives can now indulge in  flirtations via the internet and instant text messaging. As for younger couples committing adultery, the internet is the main culprit.

This I can agree to an extent because with so many online dating services, adult friend finders, etc. it's so easy for men and women to hook up with someone in total discretion. Let's face it, even if you have every intention to stay faithful to your spouse, many profit-making agencies are trying very hard to make you fail. You can hire escort services with just a click of a button by entering your credit card details, preferences and hey presto!

Look at all the seemingly innocent online social network websites; Facebook, MySpace, etc. Applications like "Are you interested in me?" "Would you like to sleep with me?" are not as innocent as it seems.

Bottom line is, whatever these studies aim to achieve, I think the bigger question to ask is why are  people committing infidelity? I don't think any of this rate can ever be considered accurate because many people will never own up to being an adulterer. So, they can just stop wasting their time and money on researches.

Society has taught us that infidelity is a taboo and it is wrong, but it has never quite prepared us as human beings to deal with such concepts which are created by presumably religious or sexually inactive people. When he or she decided that marriage should be a sacred institution and it is morally sinful to cheat, many of us have  followed without ever studying the nature and readiness of humankind. Otherwise, why so many have faltered under the most insignificant temptation?

Then, there are bigger questions like is it possible for a person to love more than two people at a time, or is it possible for a person to fall in and out of love?

A one night stand to a certain extent is arguably acceptable but what happens when a fling becomes a thing? An affair is no longer harmless because it breaks up a family which can potentially lead to far reaching consequences, especially when children are involved.

Various people commit adultery for various reasons. While to many, it is simply unacceptable, it doesn't really address the issue. Instead, couples need to look at themselves and evaluate what has gone wrong in their relationship to cause either one of them, or both, to be unfaithful.

Has the husband stopped noticing his wife because he is too busy with work? Has the wife stopped being sexually desirable because she becomes a full time mother? Have the children became the center of their lives as a couple?

Or an option would be to study yourself by asking whether you are the faithful type or not. Be honest and own up to it.

Unless these problems are being addressed, be rest assured that infidelity will continue for as long as mankind shall exist.

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