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Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Fidelity Lie

More and more I'm thinking "man" was not meant to be owned by another. I don't mean that we're not supposed to love and care for each other, but the whole couplehood thing is beginning to look more and more like a failed experiment. Like maybe, genetically, we were meant to have multiple partners.

Look around you: our politicians, our dramas. our comedies, our friends and neighbors. Infidelity is everywhere, and has been for a long, long time. And while it's still trendy to hide one's infidelities, I'm not sure how long even that will be in vogue.

Yeah, can't help thinking about the Clinton/Lewinsky "scandal" and how that played out, how most of us, at least in the non-I-hate-Clinton-with-a-passion Republican camp, weren't all that bent out of shape about it. It happens. It's private. It's life, we said.

It's life.

And then there were the holier-than-though politicians whose tender sensibilities were torched by the whole ordeal, only to find out that they were doing the same thing. Or worse.

Americans accepted that, too.

And we continue to watch our movies and sing our songs and read dramatic fictions that bombard us with infidelities, that seduce us with last minute  breakups because the RIGHT person finally came along, or woke up, or dropped down from the heavens so we could root from them getting together despite the ring, despite the 4-layer frosted cake, and all those wedding-registry gifts that will have to be returned.

Because the right one, the next one, is always greener.

I'm not promoting a poly-amorous lifestyle. I'm not promoting infedility. I'm not saying that by remaining faithful, you're missing out. Because infidelity doesn't work in my opinion.

But not because it isn't right for us. It may very well be. It may be that other thing in our jeans.

Unfortunately, society makes it difficult. It tells us not to, tells us it's morally wrong. Says we shouldn't, then winks and holds a finger to its lips. It shows us pictures of how much better life could be. Drops us into a field of fragrant flowers and dares us to find our way out. See how fulfilling, how hot, how incredibly cool infidelity really is?

And maybe it is. Until society catches you. Until it removes the finger from its lips and reminds you to do what it says, not what it does, that it is not your role model. And everything comes gleefully, accusatorily crashing down around you, and there's hell to pay, hell to pay for that little bit of heaven.

And you're sorry and remorseful and a better person on the other side.

Until you do it again.

Who wants to go to heaven anyway?


Carlos Ferrão said...

Looks like you've been burned buddy! I like my fidelity just fine, thank you very much. It's wonderful being married.

Clifford said...

@ Carlos:



Anonymous said...

Well I had to check out yer blog, Cliff :-)

FYI there's an interesting piece in the latest "EDGE" posting where the question they pose to heady figures worldwide is "What have you changed your mind about?"

One of the researchers commented about this and found that, worldwide, divorces peak at 4 years with very little variation across cultures, etc. So there seems to be something deeply embedded in human evolution about staying in a relationship long enough to bear one child (in the distant past, analysis suggests children were spaced on average 4 years apart).

Of course, I'm very happy with my family, but I do think your insight has something to it.

Ken H

Clifford said...

Thanks for dropping by Ken -- I'm honored (:

4 years, huh? That's fascinating. I will definitely look for the posting.

I think the answer may be in the past...that whole, "It takes a village to raise a child" concept of a few years back, was pretty sad...because it was pointing out something we've lost and are likely never to regain. But in the end, deep down, I thinks that's us. Villagers. Sharing the workload. Sharing the child rearing duties. Sharing each other. This blog is predominantly a stream-of-consciousness space for me, and this was what was floating through my head today. It will probably show up in my fiction in some way, shape, or form, and will take someone else to point it out to me.

Clifford said...


I hadn't heard of the EDGE site, but man, I'm freaking hooked!!!! Brilliant, I say!

Thanks for plugging me in...haven't found the post yet, but I'm liable to be up all night reading...

Charles Gramlich said...

At this moment in time, fidelity is heaven. Can't imagine that changing.

Clifford said...

@ Charles

Nice to hear!

Kate S said...

Cliff, piggybacking on the anonymous comment, I read a book called "Why We Love" and it gave all the hormonal/chemical reasons as to why that was true (the 4 year deal). There are definite, measurable shifts in our body chemistry that follow a timetable whenever we "fall in love." (and out of it)

Probably why I had a dream the other night where I told my mother she'd better finish writing my romance novel for me, because I didn't believe in love... :^)

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This is me and one of my two cats. His name is Cougar, and he’s an F1 Chausie. A chausie is a new breed of cat under development. Chausies are the result of a cross between a domestic cat (in Cougar’s case, a Bengal) and a jungle cat (Felis Chaus). Cougar’s mom is 8 pounds and his father is a 30-pound jungle cat. He’s about 16 pounds, super intelligent, spirited, and toilet trained. A writer without a cat (or two) is not to be trusted.