We all know what infidelity is, or do we? Infidelity within an exclusive relationship is drop dead personal and traumatic, to everyone that is involved. According to Ester Perel; infidelity hasn’t really taken a standard and universal meaning due to the onset of the digital era. Presumably we can not define infidelity in a traditional manner, since males were given somewhat a license to cheat through an organized system called polygamy, suffice it is to say there relationships weren’t exclusive.
Needless it is to say that cheating is interpreted as a sign of a bad relationship or of something lacking in ones partner. However according to Ester Perel’s experience with numerous couples, even happy couples do cheat. So why do we cheat, is it the devils work? Is it? People stray not because they want to find another person in marriage but because they want to reconnect with a different version of themselves. “Oh, I was so happy with Dick, we’d just stay inside …” I never felt so alive with Harry”. these are the versions people want to revisit. It isn’t so much that they want to leave the person that they are with but the person that they themselves have become. So yes, I’m not condoning cheating but neither I’m I going to condemn it.
So at the heart of it all, what is infidelity?
Is it having an affair, extramarital relationships, cheating, sexual intercourse, oral sex, kissing, fondling, emotional connections that are beyond friendships, watching porn, internet relationships, or is the dead beat “having a romantic relationship which results to a sense of relational betrayal?”
To be precise, its definition really lies in its nature, is it emotional infidelity; this is basically the behavior one partner engages in which fosters emotional or romantic intimacy not necessarily sex but the act in itself is with someone else other than your partner. It is somewhat like an affair, in the sense that it is organized around a secret, the structure of this betrayal has secrecy at its core. This “affair” ultimately leads to a sexual aura, so to say an alchemy. This state leaves one person full of sexual fantasies and fetishes that require some deep emotional involvement. But people do brush this off to mean nothing at all as no sex is experienced first hand. What they fail to understand is that betrayal isn’t in sex itself , its not the bodily experiences, its much more of the energy than the performance. So even when you try to make something mean nothing, it means a lot.
Sexual infidelity on the other hand is straight up fucking another person other than the person you are committed to.
So now you know that love isn’t much of an emotion but more of a brain system (Helen Fisher) one of the three is related to mating and reproduction, and the other two explain why human beings are capable of infidelity as much as we so value love highly. That goes to explain why happy couples also cheat. This isn’t just a hear-say propaganda type of shit but its factual;
a) Pair bonding is a hallmark of humanity. In simple terms 80% of human beings will eventually marry.
b) Brain architecture may lead to infidelity. The three brain systems aforementioned elaborate this,
- The sex drive. This system has evolved to motivate individuals to seek copulation with any species of the opposite gender that they deem fit. This is mostly observed in females who have hormonal imbalances once every month. If you are a woman and you’ve had your periods then, maybe once too many times you’ve been possessed by that whore-rific demon and anything goes, naah mean! So now you get it, you don’t have a problem its just your brain messing with you, tell it to stop.
- Romantic love. this has evolved to motivate individuals to focus their mating energy on specific partners , thereby conserving courtship time and metabolic energy.
- Partner attachment. This basically explains the whole issue of parents who are together just because of their kids. this system motivates partners to stay together long enough to rare an offspring.
c) Mate poaching is currently a trend. This is basically trying to woo an individual from a committed relationship in order to begin a relationship with them instead.
d) Infidelity doesn’t necessarily signal an unhappy relationship. You’ve seen the “three systems” and how our own biology can mess us up into endless philandering, even though your relationship is flawless. In fact there are myriads of research that portray infidelity more as a biological process, and sooner or later, they(scientists) might name a gene that correlates to infidelity. I’m not for this though..”why did you cheat?..I have the gene.”
In a nutshell, as at this very moment, someone is cheating or being cheated on, or thinking about having an affair, or offering advice to someone who is in the aftermath of one, or being the third angle completing the triangle as a secret lover. Cheating brews more gossip and fascination than the relationship itself, so voracious that in the digital age cheating is just death by a thousand cuts. So much so that it is the only sin that gets two commandments in the Bible, one for doing it and one just for thinking about it. What often gets lost in the discussion of infidelity is attention to emotional infidelity and the ugly ways in which it can plant seeds of doubt and dismantle a relationship to the point of campus students killing themselves and their partners, to the point of divorce, to the point of one changing their sexual preferences because of their displeasure and dislike for the opposite sex.
So whats the way forward if you’ve been cheated on, if you’ve cheated on someone, if you plan on cheating on someone, if you know someone is cheating on you but you love them, if you are in the wake of a heartbreak, whats next?