Monogamy is difficult to maintain. Sure, it’s easy enough at times when your life is devoid of temptation. But unless you and your partner live in isolation in a cottage in the woods, there are no guarantees that an attractive “other” will not emerge — to lure you away and challenge the sanctity of your relationship.
“Oh no,” you think. “Not me. I adore my partner. Things are still so fresh. And I have so much to lose if I were to stray.”
Yes, of course. But research makes it clear that our best intentions are often worthless in the face of a compelling, and possibly unexpected, attraction to another person — someone intent on connecting with us. Those who report having had an extramarital relationship say it was with a close friend, co-worker or long-term acquaintance; these tend not to be random strangers.
What’s more, an act of infidelity is often understood as the “dealbreaker” in relationships. And few people are abhorred more than those known to have “cheated.” Movies, songs and literature are replete with stories depicting the appalling retribution believed owed to those who stray.
Despite all this, studies show that most people have in fact engaged in some type of infidelity in the past or have experienced a partner’s infidelity.
The question arises then: Is it time to ditch, or rethink, monogamy as a standard?