Infidelity is “hot” in recent years. We chastise celebrity cheaters, like Tiger Woods, but research reveals that about 34 per cent of women have had an affair, and 32 per cent of men. A number of scholarly books have been published rejecting monogamy.
Social scientist Catherine Hakim suggests in her book, “The New Rules: Internet Dating, Playfairs and Erotic Power” that having an affair might make for a better relationship. She writes that sex outside of marriage is akin to eating a meal at a restaurant.
“The fact that we eat most meals at home with spouses and partners does not preclude eating out in restaurants to sample different cuisines and ambiences, with friends or colleagues. Anyone rejecting a fresh approach to marriage and adultery, with a new set of rules to go with it, fails to recognize the benefits of a revitalized sex life outside the home.”
Psychologist Dr Meg Barker encourages us in her book, “Rewriting the Rules” to rethink the norms underlying our love lives, from rigid definitions of sexuality to the idea that there is only one person for us out there.
After all, divorce rates are high nowadays. We live longer, meaning a potential of 60-plus years yoked to one person, as opposed to a four-year term to a government. A female banker divorced her husband because he forgot Valentine’s Day. Inspired by the erotic bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey”, she bought some sexy underwear, but he didn’t notice, which was regarded as “unreasonable behavior”.
Celebrities are human too and they suffer from failed marriages exactly like others do. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez met on the set of movie “Gigli”, while Jennifer was married to her second husband, Cris Judd. Three days before Jennifer filed for divorce from Cris, she was already introducing Ben as her “new boyfriend” to friends. Though the pair became engaged in 2002, the relationship was over by 2004. Jennifer then married Marc Anthony in the same year. But after 7 years and the birth of twins, Jennifer and Marc announced their divorce in 2011.
In 2004, Brad Pitt allegedly fell for his “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” co-star, Angelina Jolie, while he was still married to Jennifer Aniston. A media frenzy ensued, and soon after filing to divorce Brad in 2005, embarrassed by the Angelina and Brad’s photo shoot as a married couple in W magazine, Jennifer talked bitterly about Brad in an interview with Vanity Fair, “There’s a sensitivity chip that’s missing.”
When Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher married in 2005, it seemed to be an unlikely pairing. Demi was 43 and Ashton was 27. A few years into their marriage, it appeared that age didn’t matter for the couple. In 2011, rumors started to fly regarding Ashton’s infidelity. He first defended his marriage on Twitter until it became apparent that the rumors were more fact than fiction. Demi officially filed for divorce in November, 2011.
On the other hand, arranged marriages still exist in some countries. A few of my Indian friends suddenly got married after a short vacation back home. They then have kids and grow a happy family. Arranged marriages have very low divorce rates, partly because of their cultural expectations. The couple start cold, heat up, and boil over time as they grow; while unarranged marriages start out boiling hot but eventually this heat dissipates and leave with a cold relationship. So life sometimes can be really simple, we just make it complicated. The key to succeeding in a relationship may not be finding the right person; instead, it’s learning to love the person you found.
Do we really need to find “the One” to prove that we’re worth something? If we break up with someone, will that relationship become meaningless? What about sex – does that always have to be “normal”? What if we don’t want to be with just one person? I never married and I may not have the life experience to comment on these. The following quote brings up an interesting point:
“Breaking up is a natural evolution when you try to figure out what you want in life. If you’re with an individual who isn’t moving in the same direction and at the same rate that you are, it ain’t going to work.”
Break ups may simply course corrections on our way to happiness.