Zinka and Deep Secret

Philip.Belben at eme.co.uk Philip.Belben at eme.co.uk
Fri May 2 11:54:40 EDT 2003

Sally has a very interesting contribution to my question on fidelity:

>> [*]  While I think of it, this is a good moment to raise the question of
>> What is marital fidelity?  It may sound obvious, but I find an increasing
>> attitude that it simply means not having sex with anyone other than one's
>> spouse; while I think that "faithful" ought to mean a lot more than that.
> Enough of that. The article talked about fidelity to a partner in other than
> sexual terms. It suggested that becoming "good mates" with a person of the
> opposite sex (or same sex if you happen to be gay) might be infidelity if
> you share conversations or ideas with the friend instead of with the
> partner, or if you find you have things in common with the friend that you
> don't have with your partner.
> This bothers me because - although I can see what it means, I can also see
> that compartmentilising life is something most of us do. I say things to the
> whole DWJ list I wouldn't say to my husband. OTOH, there are plenty of
> things I discuss with him that I wouldn't with the DWJ loop - or with anyone
> else. Maybe the problems occur when there is just one person rather than a
> whole lot with whom you share something in common?


That article seems to extend the definition in precicely the opposite direction
to that I had in mind!

I was thinking of fidelity more in the sense of standing by one's partner when
he/she is in trouble.

(Legally this idea is taken up, for example one is never AFAIK required to
testify in court against one's spouse.  OTOH we used to have a law that made
adultery a _necessary_ condition for divorce.)

> ODWJR - Would Zinka be considered faithful to Simon if she had enjoyed long
> verbal conversations with Rupert? Or if she enjoyed a bit more, with Simon's
> knowledge and consent?

Well, with Simon's knowledge and prior, free consent, I don't see how any action
of Zinka's could be considered infidelity.

Actually, thinking about it, I am coming down on the side against the article as
you portray it.

It is basically suggesting that you give your whole person exclusively to your
partner (is this applied to any relationship, or just some relationships?).  I
can see that this is a logical extension of giving your sexual attentions
exclusively to your partner, but I don't think that fidelity is really about
exclusivity with respect to self.  It's more about inclusivity with respect to
your partner - accepting the whole person.

I'm finding this difficult to express, partly because I am single - never
married, at the moment not even "going out" with anyone.  Can anyone else do


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