Divorce, infidelity, adultery and monogamy

Adultery is one of the oldest sins in the world if not quite the most ancient. Infidelity is a broad church and covers a variety of behaviour and what may be considered acceptable to one person may be far from tolerable to another.

What constitutes infidelity?
Flirtatious behaviour, kissing, suggestive text messages and intimate phone calls may well be just perceived as acceptable fun’ by some while others would be appalled at the idea that their partner whilst maybe not actually having sex with another man or woman is prepared to indulge in intimate contact or ‘talk dirty’ with a member of the opposite sex. 

woman looks at manThe majority of people, if asked, would probably respond by saying that having an affair is  more acceptable than it was thirty, twenty or even ten years ago. Advances in technology mean that is now much easier than in the past to ‘play away'.  Mobile phones and text messaging, access to computers, e-mail and the internet make arranging illicit liaisons and communicating with the object of desire so much simpler than in pre technology days.

While about a third of people would be unhappy about their spouse being in receipt of provocative e-mails or text messages about half doesn’t think there is anything much to worry about unless they start to receive or reciprocate flirtatious phone calls.

Neither would one in five people in a relationship consider a lingering kiss as evidence of being unfaithful and a small but still significant minority do not class indulging in casual sex with someone else as deceitful, astonishing as that may seem and however likely it would might be that their other half would instigate divorce proceedings. 

Oral sex does not count as a ground for divorce
As far as grounds for divorce are concerned oral sex does not legally constitute an act of adultery.   

Monogamy man with lipstick on his collar Committing to be with one person emotionally and sexually is what is expected within a society that recognises marriage as a legally binding contact between a man and a woman.  In the West, monogamy is the norm and it is illegal to have more than one officially declared spouse in the UK where bigamy is a criminal offence.

However, a growing number of people appear to think that monogamy is ‘unnatural’ and that it is unrealistic to expect a man or a woman to remain faithful to one person indefinitely and use this argument as a means of justifying extra marital sex.

What is monogamy
Most men and women would say, if asked, that monogamy is both desirable and essential to a successful marriage and to avoid reasons for divorce.  That does not prevent increasing numbers of both sexes from seeking sexual and emotional gratification outside of their own relationships. Solemnly made promises said with the utmost conviction do not prevent people from causing disruption and heartache through infidelity.

However, discussion of the ‘unnaturalness’ of monogamy is only really a way of sidestepping the issue of infidelity.  It’s happening and it’s happening with greater frequency and it is a subject that needs to be addressed if more marriages are not to end with couples getting divorced.

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