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We have very different ideas about faithfulness

 We have different ideas of faithfulness (Photo: iStock)

Hi Chris,

I've been discussing being faithful with my fiance, and I realise that he has a whole set of different ideas about it from mine. Can you give me some thoughts to bring to the argument?

Being Faithful

Chris says,

Hi Being Faithful!

Marriage is worth every minute, but it's hard work. And being faithful can be one of the most difficult bits. That's because despite it's advantages, monogamy doesn't seem to come naturally to us. Our ancient ancestors rarely were, and even today there are cultures whose marriages are wildly different from ours.

Like Mosuo men and women can have as many partners as they like, and they never live together, even if their relationship's lasted for years. He goes on living with his family, including helping raise all the children born there, and she lives with hers.

The Warao have a festival in which all the adults can have sex with whoever they like. And not every culture prizes virginity. Many languages don't even have a word for it! So nothing about marriage is universal, including the idea of being faithful to one another.

Many couples are faithful of course, but failure can cause huge distress. So we'd probably all be a lot better off if our expectations were more realistic, and we talked about how relationships really are rather than some hopeful ideal. The fact is that someone strays in almost every marriage. But because we believe that infidelity's so important, a relationship that was working well can often end over a trivial affair.

So be prepared to forgive - perhaps after breaking a few plates! And talk about why one of you might be tempted to cheat. Like nobody tells couples that they need to work at their sex lives. But you must, because that's what really binds a couple together.

It's important that you and your fiance can talk honestly and openly about sex, and how to meet each other's needs.

All the best,


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