Why do people get married when infidelity is on the rise?
"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act"-- George Orwell
If I have to hear another friend tell me that she caught her husband cheating, I will be forced to write a thesis on the subject. Well, maybe just a post (or a couple of them, since there are way too many ramifications on the subject).
It is insane (unbelievable almost), how infidelity seems to be on the rise, or maybe it has always been this way? But women used to put up with it more in the old days which is hardly the case anymore.
My question is this one: Why are people still get married (especially a second time around or a third) when there's a high probability that one -- or both -- will be having sex with other people while married?
And in order to answer this question (which I probably won't be able to) I will quote a couple of experts.
Jennifer Bass, Communications Director for the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, says something interesting: "There is all this political and social commitment to marriage, yet infidelities is what our news is made up of. There's research on relationships and research on sex, but putting them together is not so easy. One week it's 'everyone's having sex,' and the next week it's 'the sexless marriage."
David Buss, author of The Evolution of Desire and a professor at the University of Texas, says: "Men's genes program them to seek many mates and try to monopolize the reproductive lives of those mates, but women are also programmed for infidelity, they have a drive to monopolize the economic resources of their mate, but also to keep a man or two in reserve, because men die earlier or go off, and women need protection."
Then in his book Dishonorable Passions, the law professor William Eskridge Jr. has shown facts on how,"non-procreative sex had slowly but surely gained a place in American life, a cultural tide pushed by nonconformists and artists—not to mention enlightened affluent boomers. But monogamy has so far withstood the revolutionary impulse."
People continue to get married regardless of all theories and reasons. Even if as rational people they observe that sexual exclusivity is an unnatural principle. American habits have a moralistic component and there's certainly a history of puritanism in many countries around the world.
Let's observe men and let's observe women. Both genres are capable of cheating but their psyche is completely different from one another.
Men. They might have sex outside their primary relationship and say that it doesn't mean anything. They typically claim that their hunger for "sexual variety" is a basic and irresistible impulse. When men have affairs, they tend to be motivated by sex — new sex, more sex, different sex.
Women. When they are having an affair, they get very involved and they start questioning their attachment to the marriage. A woman has needs too, but women are less predictable and much more mysterious than men. Women cheat for many reasons: companionship, romance, more security, and, then of course, sex.
This doesn't mean that cheating is simple for men -- on the contrary -- men also have affairs to avoid intimacy, recover their lost youth, or escape an unhappy marriage. Not easy issues to confront at all.
And let's be clear that not all affairs happen because the marriage is in trouble, however, a marriage with conflicts is certainly at greater risk of having a "cheater" in the relationship.
There are stable married couples with wives that are no longer interested in sex or that claim they have strong relationships with their husbands, without a need for physical intimacy (which is absolute b****). So to be fair to men, I also pose this question: Do married women who are no longer interested in having sex with their husbands expect them to remain faithful?
They got to be kidding, no? I understand that they might not want to see the affair thrown in their faces, but they have to realize that their husband's intense need has to be met somehow.
Cheating wives are harder to come by but there are also plenty of them, because women get bored just like men, but they certainly have less issues with the constant need for sex or variety.
We live in a society that is far more judgmental about women who cheat than men, which is absolutely unfair and ridiculous -- but then again this is also a country full of Republicans -- so this fact is not surprising.
I have seen how when a woman's affair gets discovered, the marriage ends abruptly and it gets ugly, but in the case of men, when an affair gets discovered they are often forgiven. Men have more freedom to be cheaters, the social and economic ramifications of infidelity are much more severe for women.
So there we go, these are some facts that are important to consider and yet no real answer as to why people decide to get married…
I promise you this, I will continue with my research and I will ask the input of everyone I know, I also await your comments on the matter. In the meantime – many couples will continue to get married and many others will continue to cheat on each other… Sad but true…
Image via VeloSteve/Flickr