If someone is in a monogamous relationship and is attracted to someone who isn’t their partner, conventionally they have the following options:

  • ignore the feeling and stay monogamous;
  • leave their partner in order to get together with a new partner; or
  • cheat on their partner with the other person.

I’ve talked a bit about staying monogamous, though I’m sure there will be more on that in future posts. Leaving the original partner is always a possibility, but often the person does not want to leave, for reasons such as:

  • they love their partner
  • they feel committed
  • they don’t want to be seen to break their promises
  • breaking up would cause upheaval (emotionally, practically and/or financially, particularly if they are married or have children).

For those who don’t want to leave their partner but are finding it hard to reconcile this with an attraction to someone else, a secret affair is the only other obvious option in our culture.

So given that other options aren’t obviously available to most people (a situation I aim to change), it isn’t really surprising how many people cheat on their partners. It seems to be almost expected by western society today that many people will enter into ‘monogamous’ relationships (such as marriage) and will then, sooner or later, have sex with someone else without telling their partner or spouse.

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