Now that we’ve gotten to know each other a little better, let’s continue our discussion on fidelity. Imagine this scenario: You’ve been dating a guy for 3 or 4 months and the two of you are just starting to contemplate making the step toward commitment. In the course of dating, you have what seem like fun, harmless conversations like the one we’re having now, and at some point, you express to him nonchalantly, your belief that all men cheat. Three months later you guys decide you’re going to be in a serious, monogamous, relationship. He’s probably not thinking about cheating, at first, but as the relationship progresses, the newness wears off and temptation starts rearing it’s ugly head (as it always does) – the fact that he knows – somewhere in the back of his mind – that you expect him to cheat, is not going to be a helpful deterrent – on the contrary.
The interesting thing about male infidelity is that it doesn’t usually come via a random, unexpected encounter; I mean, seriously, how many of us have women showing up at our doors in trench coats. It’s usually someone we’ve known for a while or someone who, at the very least, has been on the periphery of your lives for an extended period of time. Maybe it’s an old girlfriend turned friend, maybe she’s one of your friends or acquaintances, maybe it’s a co-worker we’re spending long hours with – the point is, if it’s going to happen, it’s going to be with someone we’ve been around long enough to allow the idea to fester and nestle itself into a comfortable space in our minds. Once it’s in there, outside of cutting of contact completely, it’s almost impossible to remove. From there, depending on how often we see the person, and the context of those encounters, the temptation grows and grows till we hit the breaking point: the rationalization.
I call the rationalization “the breaking point” because it’s the point where we stop thinking about why we shouldn’t step outside of our relationship, and start thinking about why we should. Our mind will first point to what we feel are deficiencies in the relationship: lack of passion or sexual chemistry, boredom, etc, etc, etc. The last step of this rationalizing is us convincing ourselves that fidelity is impossible. We look around at all of our other guy friends who seem to be doing it, we look on television and it’s common place there, we see Will Smith admitting he and Jada have an open relationship – acknowledging the natural desire for outside companionship and eventually, we’ll tell ourselves, like you and the rest of society told us already, that all men cheat. In convincing ourselves of that, it no longer seems like we’re doing anything wrong. Rationalization Complete – game over, meet me at the motel.
So what does this mean – I still don’t feel like I’ve done an adequate job answering the question for you.
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