Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Fidelity a scarce commodity?

When I was a little girl, I had a recurring daydream. I’d meet my soulmate when I turn 16. He becomes my best friend, we go to the same college together, move to the same city, fall in love and get married, have kids and live happily ever after. There was no space for dating other guys, having my heart broken or breaking other hearts, people hitting on me only for a particular reason—none of that. It was the perfect love story; one that couldn’t be made into a movie since there were no twists or turns.

I grew up and expectedly, my daydream was shattered into a millions shards. Many came and went; I broke some hearts and my heart was broken a few times. But nonetheless, I still believe in love, commitment, marriage, fidelity and the likes. Which is odd, because the concept of marriage scared the bejesus out of me for the longest time—not because I wanted to sound cool and say that I don’t want to be tied down or whatever excuse people use, but because my first-hand experience of marriage in my formative years was less than perfect.

Today I see fidelity has become a scarce commodity, a point of discussion with people actually debating whether or not it is possible. People I know fall in love, spend heaps of time together, fight, share, laugh, and then get married. I’m presuming that when they are getting married it’s not just for the party (as fun as that idea may be). You are taking a vow to love, cherish and respect each other, no matter what. Yes, there will be ups and downs, sometimes the road will look barren for long periods of time, sometimes you will want to either kill yourself or your spouse, or both. But in the end, you promise at that altar, in front of a fire or a cross or a courthouse, that you will stick it out. So why the question of whether or not fidelity is possible? Isn’t that the premise of most relationships, especially that of marriage?

When people tell me they think fidelity is overrated and not a practical expectation, I look at it this way—I love my mom. Now if I meet my friend’s mom who may be prettier, or more fun, or just cooks better, does that mean I...switch or move on to the other mother? Not really.

So why is it so difficult for people to stay committed in a marriage and uphold those vows? I’ve heard people say that yes, I’ve cheated, but I love her/him, so I shouldn’t lose her/him. Huh? If you do love the person, how could you allow your body to make love to anyone else? Isn’t it repulsive? I know love and lust are two different things, but isn’t lust a part of love? If you are truly in love with someone, aren’t you also attracted to that person, and hence won’t feel the need to satiate any physical needs elsewhere?

I’ve heard people say, “I love XX, but so-and-so is so cute, I just can’t resist!” I could understand that if you’re in a relationship where you’re not entirely happy or sure about the person. But if you’re married (and I don’t mean those weddings where you are forced down the aisle)... how?

I may sound old-fashioned, close-minded or just plain stupid. But it makes me thinks, in this day and age, when we have so many options for just about everything, from detergent to investment plans and cars, are we also beginning to look at options for our love and commitment? Is it really becoming that difficult in today’s urbanscape to stay loyal to one person, where you can have up to five people at a time?

I try not to judge but sometimes I can’t help it. Forgive the righteousness of this post, it’s not the intention. I’m just old-school. Despite seeing lots of infidelity all my life, I am a complete champion for faithfulness, loyalty, chivalry and old-fashioned, one-person, head-over-heels, going-down-on-one-knee, sweeping-you-off-your-feet kinda love. Is that too much to ask for?


  1. Boi, i totally, completely, and absolutely agree with you.. in a way, it's beyond me why and how people 'cheat' and go astray in relations, and then have the audacity to term it as 'variety is the spice of life'. And while it is a little too much for us to judge without knowing the reason behind certain things, i can definitely say that, very often, it's just a momentary weakness, which has some serious downfall and consequences later on...

  2. Well Naaj, thankfully there are some of us who still uphold these vows, with or without a marriage. And I'd like to believe that there are some men out there who believe the same too. It isn't too hard :)

  3. I think the problem is that, for most people, marriage ends up being much more of a compromise than we planned for when we were kids. When you get to my ripe old age, you will start to worry about things like security and stability, except the universe doesn't seem to be in a particular hurry to provide that soul mate you were planning for. Other things, like money, houses, cars, white picket fences, all might fall into place, since you have more control over making those things happen, but the universe (for most people) doesn't seem to cooperate as often on the soul mate thing. I have a friend who is in his mid or late 40's who just posted that "refusing to be tied down" might lead to a change in life expectancy in the US, since he's realizing that if anything happens to him or his great many single friends, having no one close within helping distance is kinda scary.

    Needing someone in helping distance is a really, really long way from "soulmate," isn't it? And if most marriages are compromises, I can understand why you're hearing that fidelity is just one option (or possibly not an option).

    I've been in relationships where I was so wildly in love that it wouldn't have occurred to me to cheat, and I know I'm only tempted to cheat when I'm not that "in love" with someone (though I still love them). I think I agree with you on the ideal.

    Hopefully, I'm going to be like you when I grow up, and hold on to an ideal for what marriage should be like (however naive that sounds), and refuse to compromise on that. Till then, it seems more natural / ethical to just be single till I'm willing to let myself go all bangla flim again. This is such a personal thing that I'm sure everyone's reasons are different, but I suspect a common foundation for most people who cheat is that they're not in love the way you are :)