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Fidelity Versus Infidelity - The Eternal Tension In The War Of The Sexes

Frankly, no-one has a definitive answer to the greatest problem in the battle between the sexes.The problem is fidelity/infidelity.Apologies to those who rightly say fidelity is a problem between lovers/partners, not the sexes. I agree. But I focus on heterosexual relationships here because they're what I know. Although, as most of us get older and more experienced, there's a tendency to feel one knows less and less about any kind of relationship!The point is this. Our society - 'free', liberal democracy in general - has an ideal of fidelity. The marriage ceremony doesn't any longer require a wife to obey her husband in marriage but it still requires both partners to remain sexually faithful. So while equality between the sexes is accepted, infidelity is not seen as acceptable and fidelity remains the social and romantic ideal.Yet everysinglewhere you look, you see marriages and relationships breaking down because of infidelity. Mel and Robyn Gibson came to grief over Oksana Grigorieva and extramaritally-conceived lovechild Lucia. Jesse James bagged the wholesome Hollywood star Sandra Bullock as his wife but bedded the unsavoury Michelle McGee as his mistress. Tiger Woods had a lovely wife and two gorgeous kids at home but played away, and away, and away... Arnold Schwarzenegger married a Kennedy and forged a political career. But the same month he impregnated Maria Shriver with her fourth child, he impregnated housekeeper, Mildred 'Patty' Baena, too. And actor Kelsey Grammer couldn't wait to sign divorce papers this year before getting his mistress pregnant and proposing marriage. Ex-senator John Edwards happily cheated on his wife, Elizabeth, with the ghastly Rielle Hunter (even her name is false) enjoying clandestine romps with his mistress despite the fact that his wife, and mother of his children, was dying from terminal cancer. Adding insult to injury, the unfaithful Edwards also impregnated his Other Woman.Infidelity, not to say rife sexual incontinency is absolutely everywhere.You may have noticed that men seem to be doing most of the cheating these days, having extramarital affairs right, left and centre. Hardly a day goes by without another Sex scandal involving a married man and a hypocritical Other Woman claiming she couldn't-help-the-affair-she-was-in-love.Maybe women have just as many affairs but don't get caught. Who knows. But infidelity is generating chaos throughout society, destabilising marriages, long-term relationships and families. The financial cost is huge to those involved. Individual divorce settlements may work to the advantage of the wife or husband but, overall, divorce inevitably results in financing two homes instead of one, with all the attendant costs. The mental and emotional costs are even greater. It's a reasonable guess that Maria Shriver will be marked for the rest of her life by cheating husband Arnie's behaviour. Her world will have turned upside down, forcing her to re-evaluate everything she thought was true. The Schwarzenegger-Shriver children will be destabilised and hurting as well. Their father has been living a massive lie. Their mother is in terrible pain. Young Joseph, the 'lovechild' result of Arnie's infidelity with Mildred, has to come to terms with the fact that his mother conceived him by Maria's cheating husband. He was left on one side while Arnie's children grew up in the family home precisely because Mildred was a bit-on-the-side.So when we look around and see the results of infidelity - social, emotional, mental, financial, - when we see the terrible effects on partners who are cheated and betrayed, on children left in broken families, and even on the cheats themselves who often go off the rails - we have to wonder, is it all worth it?Is the ever-so-secret, extramarital affair really worth all the fallout? Is a romp with a housekeeper or a session with a tattoo-ed lady really indispensable?Since it goes on - and on - maybe it is.It's blatantly obvious that monogamy doesn't fulfil many people's wishes. We all know wives who've taken lovers, husbands who've cheated while their wives were pregnant, husbands who've maintained mistresses in secret apartments, married people who've had one-night stands - and all the rest of it.We all know that women, with their precious 12 eggs or so a year, have biologically-based reasons to be picky when it comes to choosing a lover or husband. Men, however, have evolved over countless generations, with their gazillions of sperm, to be pretty indiscriminate. Add to that the fact that a marriage these days can potentially last 60 years and it's easy to see why partners stray. Can anyone truly keep their desire alive for just one person over three or four decades? If not, is the answer just a companionable marriage, like a brother and sister living under the same roof? Young people may imagine libido's gone before the age of forty. That's simply not the case!So what's the answer? Jealousy is not likely to go away. Neither is lust and infidelity. The two together just keep on lighting fires under marriages, homes and families. Perhaps we'll all get to a point where the destruction becomes so widespread, and we're all so aware it will follow cheating as night follows day, that we'll back away from those chances and invitations to cheat and betray partners rather than following the examples of Mel, Jesse, John, Kelsey, Arnie and Tiger.Perhaps it'll become common for people to say: "No I don't think I'll take you up on your invitation for a little casual Sex outside my marriage. I love my wife/husband and don't want to ruin my marriage. I have three kids who mean a lot to me. A divorce would be incredibly painful for my husband/wife and a broken home would ruin my kids' security. All of us as a family would suffer financially from divorce too. So although you've got great legs/eyes and you're sexy as hell and I'm really tempted, I'm off home to my partner and kids. They're the life I've built and the people I love. I don't think I fancy throwing all that away for an hour's romp in bed with you."What do you think? Are you convinced? Or d'you think people will go on saying:"You know I'm married, so this is going to lead anywhere. I wouldn't be doing this except my wife/husband doesn't understand me. It won't happen again but I can't see any hamr in it as he/she'll never find out. I mean - it's not like this will end up as it did for Mel, Jesse, John, Kelsey, Arnie or Tiger. Is it?"By Catherine Dagger - READ CATH'S BLOG on daily life in Provence, south of France, at: http://provencesouthoffrance.blogspot.com Cath lives in Provence. In the past she lived in Washington DC., England, Scotland and Italy. Sh...  

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