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Modern Relationships and Infidelity

An Essay

By Katerina PetrouPublished 24 days ago 4 min read
Modern Relationships and Infidelity
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

My views on relationships were once romantic. Designing the cut of my wedding dress for a body I had not yet grown into. Listening to each slow song with a dancing imagination of myself and somebody I did not yet know. Reaching adulthood dropped the curtain that this fantasy acted in front of. I was able to view behind the stage and understand the less musical reality of many relationships. Loyalty and fidelity were once qualities I assumed to be obligatory when sharing your life with another. However, each developing generation appears to own a decreasing capability for attention. It is almost as if a fear of commitment is installed into our minds as we reach adulthood.

Our view of relationships, and their health, originates from the parental example we are given during our early years of childhood. Personally, my parents presented to me a marriage built on pure love and strong work. Though I formed a fantasy of romantic love from art forms, as many do, my ideology of marriage as a concept was structured from the representation my parents provided. So, when I entered my adult years, I was forced to exit the shield of my childhood.

When a man flirts with you with the apparent intention of pursuing you, it is easy for your view of faithful partners to diminish after seeing him, only one week later, with his wife and two kids. Sitting in a restaurant as a husband stares at you from across the shoulder of his wife who is obliviously engaging in a one-sided conversation can do this, too. Unfortunately, despite the agreement of devotion when committing to another person, people get bored. And, as a result of this boredom, they seek an ego boost to invalidate their insecurities. Family law solicitors, Rainscourt, confirm that the time between the fourth and seventh year anniversary of a marriage is the "danger period". They reveal that half of all divorces occur during the ninth-year anniversary.

The interest to enhance my knowledge on this topic erupted after I developed romantic feelings for somebody. This man was almost twice my age and in a long-term relationship. Lust is a sensation that I have always associated with negative connotations. As the conflict between my morals and desire poses the internal question - am I a bad person? In the hopes of easing my guilt, I studied the philosophy of intimacy through John Armstrong's book, Conditions of Love. When referring to the emotion of lust, he eloquently defines it as "an attack by the body upon the mind".

Any longing emotions that I associated with this man, warped into detest. As my perception of the situation became clearer, I understood that he merely viewed me as a tool to validate his attraction and appeal to the opposite gender. Given my age, he got more of an ego boost than he bargained for. In 2021, a survey was conducted by Health Testing Centres which revealed that over 46% of respondents in monogamous relationships admitted to having an affair. Relating to infatuation, which I am sure many people who seek affairs embark upon, Armstrong conveys, "In infatuation, we use another person as a prop in a fantasy about ourselves." Therefore, if an individual feels insecure about their worth or their aesthetic, they may mould another person into the provider of this reassurance.

Due to the, seemingly, rapid increase in infidelity, the prioritisation of independence is something that I believe the younger generation is learning to master. Myself included. I intend to build my own life - property, finances, career, hobbies. So, if I am to meet a potential partner, I am not reliant on them to contribute to half a life. As, should the relationship terminate, I will not have lost anything other than them. Though I believe this behaviour and mindset carry its positive attributes, it can make forming trusting relationships that bit more difficult. In fact, Grayfords, a family and commercial law firm, confirm that the rate of prenups positioned into marriages rose from 3% in 2010 to 15% in 2022.

Moreover, I have comprehended, first-hand, that the expectations and requirements for a partner that people hold in this generation have reached a, somewhat, unrealistic standard. This goal of a flawless partner and relationship is, I believe, a defence. Fearing disloyalty and abandonment, we put ourselves in a position where it is almost impossible to trust somebody - thus, granting them access to our emotions. In Conditions of Love, John Armstrong states that "there is no such thing as perfect compatibility." He proceeds to advise that "all loving relationships must accommodate some degree of incompatibility."

When I found myself forming a connection with the man who was not available, emotionally or literally, I considered fighting my morals and being selfish. This thought process was based on the disdain and resentment I held against modern love and its lack of purity - that I once believed it would own. Even though we are human, sometimes weak and always making mistakes, it is vital to sustain the goodness in ourselves. Regardless of how other people treat you. The importance of remaining aware our feelings, and to not dismiss them, is paramount. We are not criminals to have emotions, so long as we do not allow our emotions to harm others. In order to be kind to others, we must be kind to ouselves.


About the Creator

Katerina Petrou

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