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.
Faithfullness a game of odds?(16 Posts)
I have been looking at a few articles and statistics on fidelity. They vary a little but on the whole they seem to suggest in the UK roughly about 30% of women cheat and 50% of men. If so whoever you are there is a fair chance (statistically) that your partner/spouse will/has cheated on you at some point (or you them I suppose). To me it kind of puts a dampener on the idea of a successful faithful monogamous relationship/marriage. Especially when infidelity is a line in the sand for many. Is the idea of a faithful partner for life too much to dream? Is monogamy realistically too much to ask of another long term?
"so whoever you are there is a fair chance (statistically) that your partner/spouse will/has cheated on you at some point (or you them I suppose"
Is this right?
I'm not denying it's a fair number, but did the 30/50 cover anyone who has cheated ever? Eg didn't break up with a home boyfriend before getting off with someone at uni.
Or... is it those who have cheated on their spouse/life partner?
Well I'm always surprised by posters that put up with below par relationships to be honest. Not necessarily with monogamy but fundamental differences that lead to unhappiness. I think that data is skewed - probably takes into account all relationships and I'm sure many people in their younger days were less focused on fidelity. I'd be interested to see what it would be for current relationships. It also depends on what the definition of faithful was in that study.
I think marriage and monogamy are difficult, which is why 40th/50th etc anniversaries are a big deal.
Stats on infidelity are... not enormously trustworthy, imho. I would want to take a good look at where and how people were recruited to answer the questions before deciding they were representative.
Granted the accuracy of the statics may be something to question. I have not got the time to spend resarching and pulling them apart. At this point taking them at face value. That why the operative word I used was "if" rather than because or as. But I don't think there is smoke without fire. I think cheating to different extents is a lot more common than we like to believe (a lot I suspect undetected). Fair point peppatax about definition (a snog, a fling or a deep relationship etc) I would assume most definitions would cover doing something your other half would totally not sanction and be mortified if you did. I know that my view maybe be jaded by my own experience but the older I get the more I see it around me and in the world I live (sometimes the people you totally least expect). Also now exploring the online dating world I have come across some who are looking to be discreet as they are admittedly cheating. I know it's out there and I know it's more common than I used to think in my old rose tinted view of relationships.
Also as I side thought although the polls were anonymous I think a lot of people have trouble being truly honest with them self. Especially when to do so would challenge their self view. So I do wonder how many people lied about it still in the poll?
Now if we are to say that includes people who have cheated in the past but are ok now. Are we saying that leopards do change their spots? I don't see why not per se? But a lot of the advise on here is on the lines of once a cheat always a cheat. If they have cheated on someone before they'll do it again etc. Should we give cheats a second/third/fourth change etc? Or are we suggest that people cheat because they haven't found the right one? Is it ever right or excusable to cheat?
Personally I think the world is seldom black or white. On a individual level I am not one to judge because I don't know all the details. I just think as a whole it is far more comon than we like to think and could be happening to some of use now. So do we accept that however much we trust or think we know someone we should accept it as a risk? Should we take on the notion that this could happen or blissfully ignore it? Is monogamy not working for far more people than we/they would like to admit? Or is it simoly a lot of people more inclined to put their desires/urges ahead of their commited relationship? After all I don't believe in the 'one' myth. Logically no doubt there are plenty of people (even in the same city) you could no doubt fall in love with and be happy with given the right circumstances? Is this what makes monogamy hard for people?
Not so much leopard changing their spots, just what you do when you are 17 and snog someone else at the end of term disco after too many WKDs is not much indication of whether you are going to jeopardise family life with an office affair, say, a couple of decades later.
It's not picking apart the stats to ask more questions about them, since you quoted them, presumably from somewhere.
I think many people make the mistake of thinking that fidelity is directly related to how much the person loves you and/or how much they know that you love them. Whereas it's my belief that fidelity is down to a person's personality, strength of character and moral compass.
Strong attraction or passion are not necessarily what sustains a long-term relationship, but people don't want to believe that. It's unromantic and unsexy as a concept. People's unrealistic expectations based on the romantic myth are largely responsible for their inability to stick at relationships. People regard 'falling in love' or 'falling out of love' as carte blanche to think with their genitals. Expecting never to be attracted to anyone else again once you're married is ridiculous. But acting on it when it happens is a choice.
I agree that it's not about how you feel about the other person, it is about you as a person on the above posters post.
I will try to be honest - it's an anon forum anyway!
I will admit I have been tempted in almost all my relationships at one time or the other and it was always through unhappiness. I am not sure teenage years count, but I was a bit of a mess and cheating was something that was a bit tit for tat (I'm talking like 16,17).
I recognise that I find the practicalities of monogamy quite difficult, but then I very very much do want to be monogamous to someone that I love. I'm trying to be self aware that this is a battle between the subconscious urge for validation and not wanting to break trust and respect and behave in an immoral way. I don't want an open relationship or anything like that.
I am almost 40 but have only had one normal non abusive romantic relationship my entire life - the one I have now. And I have been tempted to cheat but haven't acted on it physically. I found the strong attraction very overwhelming.
I think this. You can be given confusing messages during your formative years about putting yourself first, and not another person but then I have suffered child abuse where I wasn't important and then abuse by partners where my feelings didn't matter either so I recognise I am very conflicted subconsciously about my morals and self worth and a 'normal' relationship and especially that with men.
People can change but they have to want to and understand themselves.
You can go your whole life either alone because you are scared of being hurt or take chances and hope you trust your judgement.
I never assume something is forever. I will never marry. I know that it might not last with my DP but I want to try to enjoy it while it is good. I want it to be a good thing. I don't understand how you know that person is a forever partner and are then surprised when it doesn't last forever. People change and grow.
In those numbers though there might be a significant mumber of people who should not really be together, who dont really love their partners but have just sort of never separated had kids and all of sudden think bliemy is this my life?
My wife's grandmother cheated on her 1st husband, married the OM and they remained happily married for 38 years.
I think there are far worse things than infidelity.
Some of the behaviour from men I read about here absolutely astounds me.
Give me a sexually open relationship over the miserable relationships on this board, any day of the week.
I agree, TheStoic. But I do think the ideas sold to us about love and relationships are in many ways a recipe for disaster. I suspect romantics are more prone to infidelity than the more practical and pragmatic among us, because they see love/desire as being more important than fidelity. If you see the excitement of a new relationship as something you must have forever, then fidelity is unlikely.
The statistics are pretty depressing. There has been no divorce, separation, or (to my knowledge) infidelity in any of my family or dh's family, including uncles, aunts, cousins etc. I guess that's fairly unusual. Maybe it's genetic!
Not only monogamy, but the entire institution of marriage is getting redesigned, due to what you described.
In the end, it all depends on what you build with your partner and hope that it is the same thing that they are after.
DH and I have been together nearly 20 years. It's possible he's been unfaithful to me at some point and I didn't find out. Or that he hasn't yet, but will be in the future. Or maybe I'll be unfaithful to him. I hope none of these things happen, but realistically speaking I know I can't be sure.
To me, none of that changes the fact that we have a lovely life together and have shared a lot of happiness. The last 20 years won't be wiped out - I'll always know our love and happiness was for real, even if it doesn't last forever.
Sorry if that sounds corny - but it is Valentine's Day after all!
People talk a lot on MN about how foolish many women are to make themselves financially dependent on their husband or partner, in case the relationship doesn't last. I'd say the same is true of making yourself entirely dependent on your partner for your emotional well-being, self-esteem and social life. Again, I'd say this is more common in romantically-inclined people who find 'the one' and throw themselves so wholeheartedly into their relationship that they lose their independence and sense of self, and don't believe that they could ever split up.
Eolian I think your pretty mucg spot on with how I felt. I understand how people can be unfaithful. Durring my marriage I had been tempted at times. I have had oppertunities at times and tempting offers. But for me I couldn't bear to risk hurting the woman I loved, it would have broken my heart. And called me old fashioned but I meant every word of my marriage vows (wouldn't have said them if I didn't). If we are honest I think fidelity is about personal strength. Therefore I could understand and forgive my ex wife's infidelity, she is human like the rest of us. But I also realised she was abusive and no good for me. So the infidelity for me was by far not the bigest thing to me.
Also as a recovering romantic (now I see the world in a different light) I think your right about romantics being more prone to infidelity or at least prone to stronger temptation.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now »
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.