Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Infidelity...... not such a bad thing?(84 Posts)
''social sanctions around ANY sexual infidelity have hardened to try and keep us true to one another. All 'cheating' is considered wrong and the ethos is 'one strike and you're out.' The trouble with this new ethos is that I believe (after three years' research for a book on infidelity) that the myths and taboos surrounding infidelity are doing more damage to relationships than the extra marital sex itself.''
Taken from this article on the main site......
My view is that infidelity is no reason to wreck a home, but I know I'm swimming against the tide compared to the MN moral majority's standard LTB kneejerk response.
It's an interesting read
I actually couldn't give a shit about the crap/average sex he had its the lies surrounding it. That's what causes the hurt.
Had he said I want to go and have sex with other people I'd have said sure knock yourself out but don't forget to take all your worldly goods with you because you won't be coming back, then we both could have made adult decisions based on facts. Unfortunately that curtesy wasn't extended.
The infidelity, the extra marital sex, doesn't wreck the home necessarily. I've known people who have discretely had 'someone on the side' for quite a long time and their home life is remarkably sound. What wrecks the home is when the infidelity is discovered and one partner completely loses trust in the other. There's no 'myth and taboo' about it. To feel betrayed by someone that is supposed to love you - and in such a personal aspect as sex - is the most viscerally unpleasant sensation there is, and it's a sensation that no amount of counselling, intellectualising or rationalising ever really takes away. That's not a 'moral majority kneejerk response', just a very human one.
But I don't expect you to agree OP....
Has your partner cheated on you OP?
I totally, totally disagree with you Cronulla.
Open relationships, are one thing (not my cup of tea). Infidelity, however, goes hand in hand with deceipt, lies and emotional turmoil. Why on earth would we need to discuss this openly with our children?
Lives are destroyed about infidelity. Children are affected when parents divorce. I would imagine, for those people, your point of view may seem like an unnecessary trivialisation.
I am on my phone right now. Will post properly once I'm on the computer.
Infidelity isn't about sex/monogamy; it's about lying and deceit, on many occasions and over a protracted period. It's not "one mistake" it's hundreds, and done deliberately. It may also involve only one partner getting "fun time" whilst the other is alone with the kids, and may involve spending family money on a third party. And that's aside from what it means in emotional terms.
So no, I don't think affairs at easy or even possible to recover from.
If it was "one mistake" - single ONS, no protracted lying, sex only - then it may be more recoverable than the repeated deception inherent in an affair.
I think there are worse things than infidelity tbh and if people dont nurture their love relationships then infidelity will happen or they will be dumped or someone will end up miserable. That goes both ways.
I thought the first reply on there by wws was excellent.
It isn't the sex, it is the lies and deception that go with it.
It's the lying that damages relationships. You just don't get it do you. Keep plugging away at it mate, maybe one day you will attain the emotional intelligence of a fully-functioning grown-up.
if someone lies enough and doesnt give a shit about their partner enough to really hurt them then the relationship is already doomed. the actual piv is symptom, not cause.
the relationship needs to either be cut short or worked on at a much much deeper level than the person just stopping fucking someone else
Agree with others who have said that it isn't the extra-marital sex so much as the lying and deceit which is the problem for the primary relationship.
Relationships are complicated and people's feelings about what is acceptable vary massively which is why lying and deceit is destructive because it prevents negotiation of terms which are acceptable and is an imposition of terms unilaterally by one partner.
The destruction of lies and deceit is not limited to infidelity, lies about important aspects of the relationship are always destructive.
Personally I would be less upset by an affair than I would a one night stand which "meant nothing" because I feel I can forgive feelings but not what I would perceive to be a tendency to abuse women.
My own relationship is on poor terms currently because of lots of lying by omission designed to present my unconfident husband as pleasing to me. He is only doing it because he feels I won't want him if he doesn't, him doing it has destroyed my respect, trust and intimacy.
It is lack of honesty, secrecy which affects intimacy and trust not extra-marital sex per se that affects relationships. You could argue that society is not particularly conducive to disclosure of desire and non-harmful management of numerous sexual relationships and that it is possible if society was more tolerant this would naturally reduce the lying and deceit but affairs are still a demonstration of cowardliness and weakness, you can't hand over blame to society,
I think its a bit of a problem occasionally that people who are ok with extramarital stuff are assumed to be unconfident of what they deserve out of a relationship though or that they are abused. I think monogamy should be an agreement but not necessarily a default status that people feel they have to conform to. many people would probably be much happier without it
It's like that thing we used to say in the playground: the 8th deadly sin is being caught. Glib and meaningless. My rule of thumb is, if you've got to lie about it, it's wrong.
We might all be able to come up with examples where infidelity may be justified, or at least forgiven - hell, I had a stab at trying to be unfaithful myself, after 24 years of being unfairly accused of it - but that doesn't mean it's all ok and we should stop worrying and just shag whom we please, regardless of how our life partner feels about it. Monogamy isn't for everyone, but if it isn't for you, for heaven's sake say so up front and give them a fair choice, as Mosman said above.
It's not the act itself it is the lies surrounding it.
Marriage requires many things to work, and at the heart of it is trust. When you believe your partner is working late, has a client dinner, or has to travel for work, to find out that actually (s)he has been living it up in hotels with someone else, spending £1000s on them, planning holidays to exotic places with them... that's what kills the relationship. That someone could ring you up every night and say 'I love you' when they are away, and then coldly hang up the phone and get into bed with someone else... How can you ever trust that person again? Next time they call and say 'I've got to work late, sorry', are you going to believe them? Errrr, what do you think? If there is no trust there is no relationship, and that is when the LTB advice comes to the fore.
In some cases the trust can be regained, and the partnership can survive, but even then it is irrevocably changed.
What I find incredibly interesting, having viewed several people having afffairs/one night stands whilst married, is that there is, in many cases, a turning a blind eye by work colleagues, even encouragement in some cultures. Given that around 1 in 4 people in a committed relationship have sex with someone outside that relationship (based on surveys), then there is almost a tacit acceptance that people will have affairs. From experience, I expect the figure is a lot higher.
But when someone like SGB comes along, who has an open relationship, and an understanding with her partner, everyone looks at her like she's a bit weird.
So lying and being an underhand cheat is socially acceptable, but being in an open relationship and not lying to your partner is seen as weird. Society is fucked up.
... and Offred, oh yes about the silly little lies. XH used to swear he'd given up smoking, even while his breath and clothes reeked of it, even with a still-warm cigar butt at his feet. It was so insulting. I told him time and again, I understand if you can't give up, but I do not want to be lied to. Still the lies, every fucking time, like a broken record. He'd lie about what was wrong with the car - I knew that loud knocking had to be something but he would pretend it was nothing, then when it proved to be something pretty important (wheel bearings iirc) he said it was because he didn't want to worry me. How worrying is that?! And of course the classic, after we'd split up, when he turned up with an eye patch on following a cataract operation and admitted he'd been driving for years
effectively blind in one eye. He said if he told anyone they might have stopped him driving. Er yeah, and there might be a damned good reason for it. (That explains the "mind that bike", "what bike?" incidents...)
And then, of course, because fibbing was like breathing to him, he would never be able to trust anything I said even though I'm honest to a fault. So that was a recipe for a really trusting, sharing relationship wasn't it?
Thank God it's over.
SGB doesn't do relationships, she has no partner and has an almost pathological hatred of monogamy, tbh I do find some of her views abhorrent, she also doesn't believe in honesty within relationships very much at all, which is a bit rich, coming from someone with no experience of a long term partnership.
Interesting that far more women are now divorcing for infidelity after previous generations having to suck it up for the sake of the children - good on them I say, who wants to live with a liar and a cheat?
What a very insulting thread on a page full of (mostly) women devastated by a partner's infidelity - not surprised to see the creator is cronullansw - he really doesn't get it.
Thank you for the clarification Belalugosisshed. I did say someone "like" SGB. I hadn't realised she wasn't in a relationship. Perhaps my thread should be amended to read "someone in an open relationship comes along".
I was going to n/c but I have been the wife whose husband had an affair. I find Branleuse's post rather offensive as to me it suggests that I was not nurturing love" within my marriage. I was, the problem was my husband was more interested in nurturing elsewhere.
I have also been in an open relationship, since my divorce, where me and the other person involved knew that it was just that - sex, and either of us could go elsewhere for it if we wished.
And I think that as long as both parties know that there's no fidelity that you can shag where you choose, then that's fine. And the implications of that are fully discussed, like leisure time, finances, and understood, then that's great, knock yourself out.
But when one partner has decided to lie and deceive to get their rocks off and is diverting family money and time and energy to another relationship in secret, that's utterly unacceptable.
And fuck all to do with how much their love is nurtured in the marriage.
I think it's more than the lying, although I agree that is more damaging than the sex.
I was in a slightly unusual position, in that three plus years in to my H's hidden/secret infidelity the sex had be o e so non existent that I had suggested an open relationship, but he had firmly refused it.
So it is something about the power balance, and that the unfaithful party is every bit as subject to the feeling of need for monogamy and stability as the faithful one, within their ' main' relationship.
I have been thinking the very same thing recently. I was in a relationship with someone who was deceiving me (unfaithful) for some time BUT he was fun to be with, lovely to me and I found him exciting. The man I married, on the other hand, was always faithful to me but was difficult to live with and made me feel like crap.
Weighing it up, I would pick the upbeat, fun person who liked a bit on the side every time.
I believe that the unfaithful person actually liked me more than the one who married me (!) The unfaithful one liked women more, simple as.
It's the sheer lack of respect too, that's a huge part of it.
The other thing about the power balance is this:
You never see a betrayed partner on here saying, oh he does his fair share in the house and with the kids, and we both do the garden together. What you have us usually one partner doing everything, and often working too, and the other one having all the fun. That can't be a coincidence.
Infidelity through lying is taking the active decision to hurt someone else repeatedly - someone you have either taken vows with, or made other commitments to.
It can also indirectly be an active decision to plunge innocent children into months, maybe years of psychological uncertainty and damage
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.