Unfaithfulness: Why so much guilt?

Boredom, need to seduce, to reassure ourselves ..., we have a thousand reasons to want truant loves. And to act. If infidelity is never innocuous for a couple, it is not incompatible with love, say specialists. What makes us feel so guilty?

Christilla Pellé-Douël

Married, happy couple, Emmanuelle, 29, fell under the spell and in the arms of a colleague at a professional conference. Since then, she has been bitten to try to justify her transient adultery: "I'm young, shy, that an older, self-confident man has made me melt, yet I feel bad about this terribly guilty story. . "

Guilty, the big word is dropped. So we would not be so "liberated" as that? To deceive his spouse or his companion would not be so easy? Yet not a day without advertising, without reporting on the last dating site for married people or on the one that provides an alibi for infidels; without expert analysis of libertinism or other sexual practices, including those of footballers ... Everything leads us to believe that infidelity is a kind of mode to follow, free from implicit moral judgments or guilt feelings. After a long study that allowed him to conduct dozens of interviews with infidels, the sociologist Charlotte Le Van claims the opposite: "What struck me a lot is that today we have not extramarital relation on a whim, except for those whom I call the "infidels by principle", who claim a very hedonistic conception of life.The choice of infidelity is neither easy nor trivial, it requires always a justification, and even appears to some to be a safeguard. "

Yes, there was a real liberation of minds and bodies, driven by May '68, feminist movements, contraception and the bursting of landmarks. Yes, the law has evolved as well. The criminal notion of adultery has disappeared, divorce no longer holds the fault. And yet, observes the sociologist, "if the social authorities have moved, individually, the norm of monogamous marriage is still present".

Polygames of Nature

Logic, considers Patrick Lemoine, psychiatrist and author of Seduce (I read, "Psychology", 2005), who works on a book on the subject: "Our The notion of fidelity is completely ethnocentric, it must not be forgotten that in many civilizations this idea does not even exist! The man - as the woman - the Christian Christian who we are is paradoxical: we are made of polygamous, like all primates, and we function morally and socially as monogamous.Be amazed, after that, that there are bugs! "On the same line, the philosopher and writer Belinda Cannone also questions a powerful internalization of a scale of values, due to the norm (again and again) of our monogamous marriage: "The notion of infidelity is negatively connoted, as if it were a deviation from the norm."

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