We all have guilty pleasures in life when it comes to forms of entertainment – from watching a flea circus to WWE, reading the Daily Mail to Jeremy Kyle. The latter two are favoured by me, sadly, and I’ll often find myself switching from a Jeremy Kyle lie detector special to a “When Did This Woman Last Have Sex” article. Oops.

But one thing these mindless forms of entertainment do for me (apart from take up too much time of my dissertation writing period) is make me think about what actually counts as modern day fidelity. When so many women stick with their men after they’ve slept around or when so many of us women are taking on multiple casual relationships well into our 60s, does it mean the traditional way of one man and one woman is over?

Stand By Me

My views on fidelity are perhaps influence by my parents relationship. Over their marriage, my father cheated on my mother and eventually they split ten years ago after my mum found the third affair to be one too many. In my mind I wonder what took her so long but then also understand that she had a young child (and was pregnant in the first situation) and didn’t want to set out on the road of single motherhood. As previously discussed, children won’t be an option to me and I’ll never be able to use the line “we’re together for the kids” which so many people, from every different class background, often use when the issue of infidelity raises its head.

Because of the relationship my parents had where my mother dare not look at another man despite her stunning looks and endless stream of male attention, I find myself craving serious fidelity where you are each other’s world, where even Jessica Alba begging for it wouldn’t make him cheat on me and where not even Jessica Alba would make me cheat on him!

But I honestly don’t think this is possible.

For a start, the internet means we have more access to dating sites and casual forms of communication than our parents generation ever had. For them, they’d meet someone down the local and end up in a tête-a-tête. These days, if you want to hook up with a woman on the other side of the world whilst away on business than you can arrange it over email. If you want to meet a female from down the road and have your one night stand in the middle of the afternoon in the office toilets then, again, there’s sites that can arrange that. We’re seemingly inundated with more opportunities to cheat.

And don’t get me started on cybersex, text sex and everything in between.

The lines are so blurred that it’s not hard to see why the concept of fidelity isn’t the same as it once was 20 or even 10 years ago. Does cybersex with an American man in Hawaii count? Does sending a pic of your tits to a work colleague count? Does meeting someone on Craigslist and having a quick fumble in the back of the car count?

It’s basically time we created our own rules for fidelity. In the past, fidelity was always very uniform and we were told kissing someone counted as cheating, that him texting a pic of his bits to another girl meant he didn’t love you and that there was no difference between an emotional or sexual affair.

Over six years into my own relationship, I’m wondering what I’d do if my other half did have an affair. Whilst I trust that he’d never betray me like that, you can never be 100% certain. I’m not saying we doubt every person we’re in a relationship with but I think it’s important that, in your head, you’re prepared and know how you’d react. For me, an emotional “I love her” affair would be the end of my world, sex or not. A quick snog at the office party could be solved by him sleeping on the sofa for the night and a nice pair of designer shoes. And likewise, I hope he knows how he’d react if he caught me in the act with someone or what he’d do if I told him I snogged a topless waiter on a hen do.

In my eyes, it’s important to make your own rules and make them clear to your partner. Whilst telling him you don’t class a snog as cheating doesn’t give him free reign to do it week in week out, it’s important you both make rules for your relationship and set out what would be the ultimate deal breaker.

In an ideal world, no-one would look at anyone else and we’d all live a very Disney life of fidelity and marriage and glass slippers but over the years I’ve learnt that’s not always the case. What do you think?

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