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  • Infidelity is commonly interpreted as close to the greatest tragedy that could befall any relationship

  • and as the natural, inevitable prelude to the break-up of a union.

  • It is viewed in such dark terms because, under the philosophy of Romanticism

  • which has dominated our understanding of love since the middle of the eighteenth century, sex is understood

  • to be, not principally a physical act, but the summation and central symbol of love.

  • Before Romanticism, people had sex and fell in love but they did not always see these

  • two acts as inextricably linked: one might love someone and not sleep with them.

  • Or sleep with them and not love them. It was this dislocation that Romanticism refused to countenance.

  • Sex was simply the crowning moment of love, the superlative way of expressing one's devotion

  • to someone, the ultimate proof of one's sincerity. What this philosophy unwittingly

  • accomplished was to turn infidelity from a problem into a catastrophe.

  • Never again could sex be viewed as in any way divorced from intense emotion and a profound desire for

  • commitment. It was no longer possible to say that sex meant 'nothing', in the sense

  • of being a joyful, kind but emotionally-empty act devoid of any desire to care for or live

  • with a new person in the long-term and in no way indicative of any drop in affection for the established partner.

  • There are, of course, many cases where infidelity means

  • exactly what Romanticism takes it to mean: contempt for one's relationship.

  • But in a great many other cases, it may mean something really rather different: a passing, surface

  • desire for erotic excitement that coexists with an ongoing, sincere commitment to one's life-partner.

  • Our culture makes this thought close to impossible, and so getting 'over'

  • an infidelityby which is meant, learning to see that the unfaithful act might not mean

  • what Romanticism tells us it meanshas become a challenge of heroic proportions and

  • most of the time, a brute impossibility. However much an unfaithful partner may patiently explain

  • that it meant nothing, the idea seems entirely implausible. How could sex, the summation

  • of love, ever mean anything less than pretty much everything? There may be one potential way out of the impasse:

  • a frank examination of the recesses of one's own mind and perhaps,

  • an honest recall of certain moments of past personal experience.

  • What this brave investigation is likely to throw up is evidence that one is strangely capable of somethingin the

  • circumstancesreally rather surprising: caring deeply for someone

  • and yet entertaining, or masterminding, a sexual scenario involving somebody else. However much the thought seems

  • unbelievable when we hear it from the mouth of a straying partner, it does appear that

  • it is, in some ways, really rather possible to think of screwing one person and loving another.

  • The best way to recover after an infidelity may therefore be to ignore what

  • Romanticism tells us that infidelity has to mean, and to consult instead a more reliable

  • source of information: what we ourselves took infidelity to mean the last time the idea

  • crossed through our minds or our lives. It is on this basis that we maywith considerable pain of course

  • come one day to be able to forgive and even in a way understand and

  • accept the apologies of a repentant partner. It is on the basis of subjective experience

  • of unfaithful thoughts that we may redemptively enrich, complicate and soften what happens

  • when we end up as their victims.

  • At The School Of Life we believe in developing emotional intelligence.

  • To that end we have also created a whole range of products to support that growth.

  • Find out more at the link on the screen now.

Infidelity is commonly interpreted as close to the greatest tragedy that could befall any relationship

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B1 US infidelity romanticism partner desire love viewed

What Infidelity Means

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    Priscilla posted on 2018/08/20
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