Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Rules of Affairs...

Right now I'm reading Lust In Translation, a book about how different cultures view romantic affairs. It has brought up 2 questions: (maybe more as I read...)
1. The author writes that in the US, there is a rule about when you are in a serious, Monogamous relationship that a discussion must take place. The couple mutually decides that they are in an exclusive relationship. If they don't have this conversation, it is assumed that they aren't exclusive and can date other people.

In France, however, if you date someone or kiss someone, you are automatically expected to be faithful.

So, is there a rule about when the relationship is serious and monogamous? Do you have to say "we are exclusive" or can it be something you agree on without discussion. I guess, in my case, I assumed that Dennis and I were exclusive because he told me that he loved me in the first 2 weeks. But had we had a "normal" dating relationship, I think I still would have probably expected to have the discussion where we say "we are going steady and we are not going to see other people." But Dennis said this is ridiculous. If we are dating, we are not seeing other people. Do we see "fidelity" differently because of culture? (in dating. In marriage, there is no negotiation.)

2. The other thing that is interesting so far is the "American rule" (according to the author) about having to know everything about the affair. The truth sets you free and is the path to healing, most Americans would argue. This means that if a husband cheats, the wife should be able to ask him about every detail. He owes her the truth.

I'm not sure I could handle the truth and so I can understand why other cultures in the world would think this is strange. Why would I want to know what hotel they went to? Or what she wore? Or if she was better than me? Dennis says "I don't need to know everything but I want to know the truth." I can see how I would want to know everything and I would obsess about it but I can also really see how knowing everything could be more harmful than helpful. In the same way that I would obsess about wanting to know everything, I might drive myself insane with what I did know.


(This is for school, by the way!! No "simultaneous mulitpartnerships" here!!)

1 comment:

Virginia, like the state! said...

I think people may want to know the details, but they pretty much always regret knowing. It's like the "Tell me everything! Right now!" comes during moments of anger and in the end, no one really benefits from the details. If anything, I think it would just make the other person harbor even more resentment.