Is this the news that men all over the world have been waiting to hear?
A prominent French Psychologist, Maryse Vaillant, has claimed in her book that extra-marital affairs are good for a marriage and can actually improve the marriage. Therefore men should stop being castigated for being serial womanizers and having extra-marital affairs. Needless to say the book has run into a lot of controversies.
Vaillant argues that men cheat on their wives because they need breathing space (and not because they don’t love them any longer), and that fidelity is a “cultural” and not a “natural” concept.
Well, I do agree with her argument but not with her act of justifying infidelity, or “rehabilitating it”, in her words.
The fact is we’re biologically not meant to be monogamous. We’re very similar to animals in this regard, and animals don’t stick to one mating partner. Men especially are genetically programmed to mate with as many partners as they can - it’s the whole theory about evolution and the male trying to spread his genes as far & wide as he can. So I do agree that fidelity is a “cultural” rather than a “natural” concept – we are “conditioned” to be loyal, we’re not innately loyal. However, marriage is a cultural concepts too so if men intend to get married - which most of them do at some point or the other - they should be willing to live up to the commitments that come with marriage as well.
It’s also true that most who cheat claim they did so because they needed breathing space, which they didn’t get in their marriage/relationship or because of the boredom that had set in after years of being together. But I feel the way out of this should be a healthy discussion with your partner and not infidelity. And if it’s boredom that one needs to address, the couple should try to spice up their love & sex lives - do small romantic things that will make their partner happy, try out new things in bed etc. If nothing works, they should seek professional help.
So yes, I agree that fidelity is completely a cultural concept but saying that infidelity is good for a marriage is a lame excuse for not wanting/being able to live up to the commitment one makes. And trying to “re-habilitate” fidelity is like asking women to put up with more shit in life. After all, men are never OK with their wives having a sexual relationship with other men, are they?
Come to think of it, we’re not very different from animals at all in this regard.
What do you feel - do you agree with Maryse?