The New Rules of Marriage: Is it acceptable to play away?

One academic is creating a stir with her controversial new book; The New Rules of Marriage: Internet Dating, Playfairs and Erotic Power. Catherine Hakim suggests that society looks down its nose at those who cheat or have affairs which is in turn causing more couples to divorce instead of potentially forgiving and forgetting.

Ms Hakim also makes the point that ‘successful’ affairs can occur within a marriage in which neither partner is hurt from the outcome. The meaning of this being that the committing partner is discreet enough therefore the innocent party will never out about the indiscretion. Though what happens in the case that the partner is not as discreet as they perhaps should be?

Harkins view point is certainly one which leads to huge debate and I have found it hugely interesting the number of different opinions across different publications. Is her point really valid? And are we just living under societal/marriage restraints?

I believe it is certainly the case that when an affair occurs within a relationship the hurt, confusion and view points of other, outside parties really take over. Though should it be the case that if forgiveness is the chosen path then the couples relationship will be viewed as less significant than it originally was because of the mistakes either party has made?

Divorce should not be an easy way out, though forgivness is much easier to give when no rings have been exchanged. The concequences of infidelity I feel become more significant in a marriage as there is more at stake. Without the vows people in reality people have no official obligation to each other, instead in a good relationship they should share a mutual respect for each others feeling and wants for the future and have the same ideas of what is to come from their relationship.

I believe that when you become a married unit it should be for life, as you vowed to each other. Though the opposing argument being at what cost? Should you drift along in an unhappy marriage to keep the divorce rate down?

I do understand however that temptation within a marriage for some may be greater as the ‘thrill’ element then comes into play or the ‘forbidden fruit.’ Though is this worth risking a long term relationship? A friend? A home? A family unit? Of course this comes down to the individual and the situation. Everyone is different as is every relationship and people view differently the act which causes their breaking point to be crossed.

A friend recently told me a story about a couple who have been married for 25 years, with the husband committing adultery 3 years in to their marriage. A case where the act was founded and forgiven. It was during a stag night abroad that he had a ‘holiday fling.’ His wife was soon to find out and after the initial devastation was overcome she decided to forgive him. 22 years later and still married, the wife shares the story with people and laughs about it and how ridiculous his behaviour has been in the past thinking that his one night stand was in any way shape or form a good idea. On the flipside however I wondered if this had not been a one night fling and a affairs which perhaps lasted for months or even years would it still be a humorous conversation this far down the line? This situation for this individual was not crossing the line and became an insignificant part of their relationship.

I am however not so sure about Ms Harkins idea on making sure the other party doesn’t find out about the infidelity. To me it would be the case that naturally anyone playing away from home should to a certain extent be trying to do so, unless of course their true intention is to cause a breakdown of the relationship. Though do secrets and potential lies not say a lot about a person, their characteristics and their commitment?

It has always been my opinion that if someone steps forward and confesses their mistakes then they are regarded more highly even if they reason for them doing so is just to clear their own conscience.

This also raises the issue for me of the secrecy side. Everyone is entitled to their own privacy but should warning bells be ringing if an individual can so easily live a double life? What does this say about what is to come from them in the future?

So is the book just bad advice gone too far? A play on words and a test for society to see who follows through? Talk about shooting down the romance!

No doubt it is going to be an interesting read!

What do BeauBoo readers think? Share your opinions!


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