Our "sour" view of infidelity could be partly to blame for our struggle to enjoy successful long term relationships in today’s world, according to a social scientist in Britain who believes that being a little more liberal where love is concerned could actually help improve our relationships.
In her new book, The New Rules of Marriage: Internet Dating, Playfairs and Erotic Power, Catherine Hakim suggests that a secret fling can offer renewed appreciation for your long-term partner. She believes that staying completely monogamous is a trap that has us feeling like caged animals.
She advises couples to take a French view of successful long-term relationships, suggesting that these “masters of seduction” take a far more philosophical approach to cheating, allowing their partners a longer marital leash.
American Cosmopolitan Helen Gurley Brown, who recently died aged 90, had a similar view which she expressed in her novel, Sex and the Single Girl, advising women not to get too attached to any one person through their lives.
“Nice, single girls do have affairs, and they do not necessarily die of them! They suffer sometimes, occasionally a great deal.
“However, quite a few “nice” single girls have affairs and do not suffer at all,” she wrote.
Hakim also believes that relationships in which both partners have affairs and don’t hurt one another is possible. She told interviewers on BBC that while many people feel that an affair is a dealbreaker in their relationship, those who approach infidelity with a more liberal view may see benefits in their long-term relationship.
“If you take the view that most of them blow over and a good marriage is still a good marriage we should be a bit more laid back about them like the French, Italians and Spanish.”
However, sharing your extra-marital exploits with your partner is almost always out of the question, warned Hakim. “Total discretion is the absolute rule, the other party should never find out.”
The author illustrated her point by likening a boring relationship versus a little adultery to lying on the couch at home doing nothing versus eating out at a restaurant. She compared an affair to a “an article of luxury”.
Is infidelity a “luxury” best left to the brave or something worth indulging in? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.