Fidelity, faithfulness, relationships!
Something that makes people extremely upset is that of unfaithful behaviour and infidelity. The reality in any such situation means a lot about the person doing the "cheating" (and less about the person being cheated upon!) And in some cases, those who are not directly involved seem to have stronger emotions about this, than those directly involved.
Fidelity means – faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support or the degree of exactness with which something is copied or reproduced. Therefore, the opposite “Infidelity” means – the action or state of being unfaithful to a spouse or other sexual partner or disbelief in a particular religion, cause or belief.
There have been a fair number stories about both fidelity and infidelity from time immemorial – extolling the virtues of fidelity and being very dismissive and frowning down upon infidelity. And most of the time, the “fidelity” is restricted only to the physical component of the relationship! Is only physical intimacy representative of fidelity? And in recent times, there have been many movies made on this subject. And from a legal perspective, fidelity seems to be restricted to the physicality of a relationship. Is that all there is to fidelity and being faithful in a relationship?
How about emotional or spiritual intimacy? How is that different? When looked at, more than physical intimacy, emotional intimacy is deeper! In any relationship there is an emotional component - that probably is what makes it a "human" trait. Given that the physical aspect, of the act of sexual intercourse might not prevail in all relationships. So, where does this spring from? It might seem that evolutionarily, monogamy isn’t the norm - however, from perpetuating the species, humans found that a "set of parents" were better at ensuring the safety and longevity of their offspring and hence the institution of a "family" and monogamous relationships was born.
What is the reason a person is unfaithful to their partner? Is it lust alone? What makes for a person to be unfaithful to their partner? Most likely the answer lies within. When one's self-esteem and self-worth are low, this is likely to happen more than otherwise.
in all likelihood, it almost always only means that the person has not accepted themselves for what they are and are searching for what they think is missing, elsewhere. The simplest answer might be to go within, and really ask oneself, "what am I missing in myself that I am searching elsewhere? It is never ever about just the physical act.
The act of sexual intercourse was and is still primarily nature's way of perpetuating the species and hence was made enjoyable, along with everything else that perpetuates the species - breathing, drinking (water), and eating. If any of those acts were made painful, probably such a species would not exist for long. Therefore, each and every living organism has its own way of procreation.In humans, this act has taken on the deeper and involved meaning of togetherness, caring, fidelity and trust.
Viktor Frankl, in his book Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning (Pg 92), writes:
To the individual who really is mature, the partner is in no way a means to an end. The mature individual's partnership moves on a human level, and the human level precludes the mere use of others. On the human level, I do not use another human being but I encounter him, which means that I fully recognize his humanness; and if I take another step by fully recognizing beyond his humanness as a human being, his uniqueness as a person, it is even more than an encounter - what then takes place is love.
Grasping the uniqueness of a partner understandably results in a monogamous partnership. There are no longer interchangeable partners. Conversely, if one is not able to love, (s)he winds up in promiscuity. As masturbation means being content with tension reduction as a goal, so promiscuity means being contented with the partner as an object. In neither case is the human potential for sex actualized.
Esther Perel in her talk (video link below) says,
So an affair is organized around the structured element called secret. The second element is that there is a sexual aura, an alchemy. Not necessarily the presence of sex itself; it’s not the bodily experiences, it’s the energy much more than the performance. And three, that there is an emotional involvement to one degree or another—from a deep love affair to even a transaction in which one pays for the other person to leave. But there is always a meaning to it. That is what I call the emotional involvement. Even when you try to make something mean nothing, it means a lot.
Let's be clear here - Fidelity is not restricted only to the physical. The physical act is only a manifestation of something much more important - about the human connection. About accepting oneself. About being "safe and comfortable in their own skin." Anyone who practices any kind of infidelity is hurting within and lacking love and acceptance. Counter-intuitively, what they need is love, acceptance, compassion and kindness.
And if one has already been found "guilty" of infidelity, then the "affected" person has to find it in themselves to be able to practice "selective amnesia" and forgive the other. I am aware that this last statement might seem to some as though I am condoning betrayal - NO! Far from it. However, as with all forgiveness, one forgives for their own sake, and not because another is worthy of being forgiven. It is a reflection of one's own thinking and maturity than anything else. It means emotional strength. For, only the strong can forgive. And yes, forgiving does not mean forgetting! (for more on this these 2 earlier article might be useful to access - Learn the lesson, forget the pain! & Am I driving my life looking into the rear-view mirror?)
All of which brings us to the simplest of truths - that any form of infidelity is descriptive and a clear proof that one has many things that they find unacceptable or lacking in themselves and are searching for that elsewhere. And as with any "If this then that" kind of thinking, it is unlikely that they will find what they are looking for. For, as with everything else, the answers lie within, and in loving and accepting oneself, exactly as they are, and with love and acceptance, becoming the person they would like to be. Wanting to become different does not mean that one must dislike how they are now - it only means that that accept how they are now, and with that knowledge and acceptance, identify areas that they would like to be better at, and do what it needed. The root, of all growth, is in living with loving and accepting oneself. And with that the love is within and there will never ever be a need to look for it elsewhere. And when with such love and acceptance of oneself, and of others, the physical act if performed, then maybe it might be what is truly immaculate and blissful.