Let's face it, long-term monogamy can be a bore and a chore. If it weren't true, no one would ever cheat, no one would write articles about spicing up your sex life, and Fifty Shades of Grey would have sold one copy (to E.L. James' mother). Yet, couples are less tolerant of affairs than ever before. Generally when we find out our spouse has cheated -- even if it's a one-time thing -- we're all, "I'm going back to the U.K. and filing for divorce, Rupert!" Though we'd probably use our own husband's name. Anyway, it's easy to say, "Just don't cheat. EVER." Easy to say, not so much to do. But one author, Catherine Hakim, claims she has the solution: Couples should be allowed to cheat. In fact, it should be encouraged. Errr, okay. Let's look into this theory ...
In her new book, The New Rules of Marriage: Internet Dating, Playfairs and Erotic Power, Hakim says that monogamy makes people like "caged animals." And while that sounds kind of hot, I don't think she means it that way. No, she means it like a tiger pacing back and forth, roaring, "I wanna sleep with my sexy coworker!!!"
So Hakim suggests we adopt the French model and that couples should be allowed to have affairs on the side. And if that doesn't work, we should at least eat a lot of pastries and brie to take some of the drudgery out of monogamy. Har har.
I admit Hakim has a point. Life is long, and monogamy feels longer, and we all fantasize about grabbing a little new nookie occasionally. But where Hakim totally loses me is when she says:
I am happily married, and I would hope that if my partner had an affair he would be so discreet about it that I wouldn't notice anyway. Total discretion is the absolute rule, the other party should never find out.
Let's parse, shall we? Hakim says she's "happily" married. Er, could that be because, so far as she knows, her husband hasn't had an affair? That might account for some of her martial bliss.
Then she goes to say that the cheating partner has to be "totally discreet," which is a fancy way of saying, he/she should cover it up and lie about it. Yeah, that works wonders for a marriage. Most couples say they get over the cheating faster than the lying. And HOW exactly is the cheating party supposed to KNOW in advance that their spouse never finds out? With technology, it's almost impossible to cover up an affair for any length of time these days.
If monogamy is making you like a caged animal, then there's only one thing to do (besides end your monogamous relationship): Sit down and map out a plan for both partners to be able to sexually explore on the side, or figure out a way to bring other people into the bedroom and explore together. None of this sneaking around stuff.
Hakim seems to live in a fantasy world where cheating will be instantly forgiven. Until she finds out her husband has cheated and she's hunky-dory about it, she really should keep her theories to herself.
Would you easily forgive your spouse for cheating?
Image via Gibson Square Books