I do believe that there is a strong, ethical component to marriage that any self-respecting person should adhere to. It is simply the right thing to do. Even in intimate matters there is the feelings of the other person to consider and consideration for others is a key element to being mornal.
On the other hand the paternalistic concept of one person ‘owning’ another person is repellent to me. Granted that should any person I feel to be in a relationship with, especially a formalized relation, engage in a sexualized relationship with another individual I would be initially hurt and my sense of proprietary rights would be outraged. But rationally it is the fear of abandonment more than anything else that raises such ire. Possibly in males it is an instinct to insure the perpetuation of one’s own genes to the exclusion of that of other males. With females it appears to be a loss of security and the feeling of loss of affection. Certainly the concept of females as possessions (chattels) not only appears to persevere, but even to thrive.
Logically it is their body to do with as they wish. Logically so long as the love between us still thrives and they remain true to the commitment to be together, to be a family, where’s the harm. Logically, if I really love them should I place bounds on their affection? Surely I should choose rationality (which is not as emotionally cold as some may think because it means consideration for someone you love) over blind rage (which does not mean caring for others so much as selfishness).
Because I am married that does not mean that I do not find women attractive. I do not subscribe to the notion that one can only have one true love. I have had the privilege of being in relationships with several truly marvellous ladies, loved them all and remember them fondly. If there was any failure it was on my part and it is that failure I regret.
So, ultimately the concepts of ‘cheating’ or being ‘unfaithful’ ring false to me and seem to be contrived of (continuing the metaphor of bells) to be cast of cheap, flawed and miscast metal. Couples meet, come together for a time and sometimes part. Someone who joins to you for life is your friend and companion. Placing inequitable restrictions upon their behaviour is neither friendly nor companionable.
Even so, I would hope that these matters would be conducted openly and amicably. Alice Novics of, “Alice in Genderland”, spends one day of each week as a woman with her male lover. Her wife knows, does not really approve but understands and does not want to know the details. Or so my reading of that story goes. To many this would be repulsive but to me it seems equitable and conducive to the happiness of each person. Is not the “pursuit of happiness” considered by some to be an “inalienable right”?
On the other, other hand, Stevie is right. One must consider the needs, sensitivity and right to awareness of anyone with whom you have made a compact. Emotional entanglements have a cost that needs to be considered and sometimes that is, in fact, the relinquishing of one’s freedom to act on impulse.
Love means trust but it is also means forgiveness when that trust seems broken. At least that is how I interpret the words of a man speaking a couple of millennia ago.