Forget marriage counseling or couple’s retreats – apparently the real key to a happy marriage is adultery. That’s the underlying premise of a new book from bestselling author and sociologist Catherine Hakim, who proposes that infidelity can actually revive a tired marriage.
In “The New Rules: Internet Dating, Playfairs, and Erotic Power,” Hakim maintains that not only is it natural to think about being with another man, it would be healthier to act on those fantasies.
Her reasoning: Monogamous marriages are unnatural, and we should allow for the more “natural” habit of taking other partners. In the book, she compares the monogamous spouse to a caged animal that continues to see temptation beyond the bars, but cannot get to it. Whereas partners who engage in “no-strings attached” flings do not feel trapped in their marriage.
What’s the only catch? Your spouse can never find out about the affair. To me, that sounds a little like the punch line of a joke: affairs are the key to a happy marriage – but only if your spouse is lied to and betrayed.
She, herself, claims, “I am happily married, and I hope that if my partner had an affair, he would be so discreet about it that I wouldn’t notice anyway. Total discretion is the absolute rule; the other party should never find out.”
This feels contradictory. If affairs are so good for a marriage, why then should they be secret? The last time I checked, a healthy relationship was one with open communication and trust.
In an article written by Hakim for The Telegraph, she cites the high divorce rates of the United States and Great Britain as a result of monogamous relationships where having an affair (or “cheating” as we like to call it) is a major contributor to the ends of marriages.
She suggests that couples should model their relationships on French marriages – where there is no feeling of betrayal when a woman finds lipstick on her man’s collar or a hotel bill on his charge card statement. Hakim claims that nearly a quarter of the French population and a third of the Finnish population engages in extramarital affairs with no repercussions.
Her conclusion is that if one is locked in a celibate marriage, the best solution is to seek sex from an alternative source instead of trying to work through whatever issues you have having with your spouse. This will result in staying together… or will it?
It seems to me, that if you can’t discuss your problems, divorce might already be on the horizon…
What do you think?