Understanding infidelity

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By Adrian Bobe

A-Listed!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


IF YOU missed last night’s slapping scenes and climactic, heart-wrenching battle between the legal wife and her husband’s lover, I’m sorry this column will not update you.

Recently, more and more people are glued to the primetime soap, The Legal Wife. If I were to judge from the number of social networking citizens claiming “they can relate to the plot,” then I can say that maybe there is an increasing number of broken families or relationships because of infidelity.

The story of the tormented and broken wife and the equally interesting and clingy mistress is enticing Pinoy drama fans to join the loop every night. This, to me, is a declaration of the country’s confusing protagonist-antagonist culture, and yes, our love for drama, painful love stories and the endless tug-of-war between lovers.

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Filipinos are ‘pocketbook plot’ aficionados: We can relate to the plot, we find ourselves slapping for the betrayed, and sometimes, we are the offenders wandering for love.

This makes infidelity more than interesting. It has caused tormented relationships. To note, studies have correlated infidelity with trauma and emotional despair. Marriage, for instance, remains a contract in paper, but in reality, it will never guarantee fidelity.

However, regardless of its apparent and outward adverse results, people still engage in it. Despite being tagged as a ‘direct jump in a frying pan,’ it still exists and even counting in great numbers.

If a census of this curious case of betrayal, lust and multiple sexual partnerships will be established, we might just end up tongue-tied that infidelity count is more or less equal to the number of unemployed or job mismatched Filipinos.

That is why, in the parlance of psychology, let me share to you what my girlfriend discovered after pursuing a scholarship paper on infidelity.

Along with colleagues in De La Salle University-Manila taking Graduate Studies in Clinical Psychology, their research on behavior and personality types surveyed why a person in a relationship still engage in unfaithful behaviors and infidelity.

Firstly, their research found out that infidelity may be predicted based on how a person was treated during infancy stage. Babies who were neglected by parents or nannies (for instance, while crying for food) develop a pattern of negative self-acceptance and concept of other people. As they grow, they hardly trust others, hence, engage in short-term relationships.

On the other hand, infants whose mothers or nannies were receptive of their needs, develop positive views of self and others. They cultivate happiness and sympathy in romantic ties. The first are tagged as “insecurely attached” and the latter as “securely attached” people.

Our focus here is the increasing number of “Nicoles” who snatch husbands in broad daylight. Note this for easy reference: “Nicole” is under the “insecurely attached” set.

This set has two segments, the “avoidantly attached” and the “anxiously attached” set of people. The “avoidantly attached” is incapable of lasting with a single partner. Overtime, this person has developed an ‘unrestricted or promiscuous socio-sexual orientation.’ The “anxiously attached," on the other hand, is fearful to be abandoned and rejected. They tend to be clingy to anyone, even with a married man.

Secondly, infidelity can be predicted by “relationship variables.” This aspect is composed of satisfaction with partner, alternative quality (when you seek enjoyment and fulfillment from other partners) and the degree of commitment. This aspect is where the scorecard comes in handy when you assess yourself if you are prone to infidelity.

Assess yourself according to these questions: Do you spend more time with friends than your lover? Do you feel the need to spend more time alone? Do you forget occasions like birthdays or anniversaries? Do you feel empty when spending time together? Do you express love less and less? If you answer more ‘yes’ than ‘no,’ then yes, you are a candidate for infidelity!

And to cap it all, do you think your partner is unfaithful? Yes? Then you may become one yourself!

Lastly, infidelity is not merely a choice a person decides on. This may save a lot of “Adrians” (excuse me for that matter) from social disgrace, but the paper has this to say: Infidelity is a product on how a person was brought up as a child. Character- building is a product on how a child waited for his milk, followed house rules and obeyed parents. This may not be true to everyone, but generally, the unfaithful were once “the disobedient, impatient, the-not-so-trusting, the unruly and the never satisfied” children.

As a result, 79 percent of the respondents in the survey admitted that they have been unfaithful; 85 percent promised that they will never be unfaithful; 93 percent said that excitement drives them to committing infidelity (they have been probably fed late and so cried a lot for spilled milk).

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 06, 2014.

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