Importance of defining fidelity in your couple
The continuum of behaviours that is considered adultery is long and the combinations are endless. Certain individuals consider that fantasizing on another person than their partner is cheating, while others require penetrative sex for it to be cheating. Others will need an emotional attachment, but sexual attraction is considered fine. Sometimes, fidelity isn’t defined by one’s behaviour but more about one’s intentions. The examples that we could give are numerous and vary from one relationship to the next.
For that reason, it is very important for couples to exchange on their perception of fidelity. An indispensable discussion that is often forgotten in serious relationships. Some will even avoid having it by fear of having different opinions that could ultimately lead to not even starting the relationship or creating an awkward moment. This can demonstrate an uneasiness about intimacy. It is also important to talk about what reactions and consequences when faced with one of the partners acting out and cheating on the other (couples therapy, break up, acceptance, reflecting on the continuation of the relation, etc.). We can even exchange on telling each other or not about the cheating and how you and your partner would want to find out about it. This clarifies each other’s points of views on the matter and determines if we agree on the implications of committing to the relationship before hand.
Fidelity touches our most fundamental values as individuals. They can remind us of very painful memories of our past about being cheated on or if we cheated on someone. This can bring back feelings of betrayal, lost and major deceptions. We can also face very different point of views by having this discussion with a new flame at the beginning of the relationship about what fidelity entails. These differences can make one of the partners insecure, generally, the one that has the most restrictive definition of fidelity. It will also show how much respect each partner has towards the other person’s opinion on the matter and how they will listen and understand. It shows as well, how flexible we are about our own perception of fidelity or rigidity on the matter.
How to manage differences about fidelity
Since fidelity is part of almost every loving relationship that is long term, it is of utmost importance to have a discussion on our intentions in the relationship. This discussion, even though it might be a hard one and even stop the relationship from flourishing even before it starts, often avoids meaningless fighting and feelings of jealousy. On top of that, it clarifies the commitment each partner is taking before embarking on the relationship. Unfortunately, some people may still feel jealousy even though, the partners had this discussion.
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