Is Loyalty = “Not Having Sex with another”

I’ve grown as a better person in the last four years. 2013 – that’s when I first fell in love or rather, a serious relationship kick-started. Like all relationships, it was all good and sweet. Movies and popcorn, stolen kisses and quick hugs at the elevator, and what not? Almost 8 months into the relationship and I found that he’s been cheating on me with someone else – devastating, yes it was. From then on, I’ve not been into any serious relationships at all because I’m afraid that I would be cheated. Until recently, because, the solution to my ‘insecurity’ came via a good friend of mine who is in an open relationship. If I think about it, I feel that I could have handled my reaction and the relationship better.
When it comes to defining a relationship, we stick to ‘monogamy’ that is, to not to have a sexual relationship with any other person. There were times where one was supposed to maintain ‘virginity’ but times have changed, though. ‘Sex’ is no more about bearing the ‘license’ required to sleep with another, it is more of ‘you feel like it? Do it.’ Because, back then, the gap between a person attaining puberty and having sex was short. Women were getting married as early as 12 or 14 yrs and men when they are hardly 16. Now that we have better exposure to everything, passion to explore, ambitions to become rich and a lot more, we are not confined within the walls of not wanting to explore one’s sexual desires until THE person enters the life.
Having worked abroad, I had the opportunities to work with other nationals and understand their lifestyle. I had a set of friends who had to move from their respective countries to work abroad, they stay away from their families for long, but that didn’t stop them from having sex. They had their own sexual partners that the family(husband/wife) is aware of. When I first heard of it, I was thrown aback. But, that’s when I got to know that the same applies to Indians as well, they also had sexual relationships but just that, they didn’t inform their spouse. (This attitude made me more cautious, and I had then decided not to get into any relationship/get married because I was(am) hurt enough from the first betrayal)
My friend simplified the whole concept – “A relationship is about making the other person happy. It is about the other person being the ‘priority’ in one’s life through all thicks and thins. In India, we seldom get the chance to explore how sexually compatible the couple is before the wedding(Things have changed a lot now, though). So, there comes a problem when they really are incompatible. Compartmentalize ‘love’ and ‘sex’ – throw them each in different boxes. You’re not going to have sex for the whole of your life (Mostly) – it takes a back seat after a few years, so why define the term ‘loyalty’ with ‘sex,’ why not define it differently? It can just be the friendship between the two, being right there for each other, understanding and staying through issues. A relationship can be beautiful if two individuals want to raise a family just by standing with each other through the good and bad.
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You become jealous or possessive when ‘insecurity’ creeps in when you’re afraid if the other would leave you. We don’t feel the same with family right? You are not possessive about your mom or dad (mostly) and so, how about establishing a relationship that is as good as the trust factor within the families?
I am writing this because I see many who are not in a good relationship but still sticking with each other for the sake of it, a few who are sexually not compatible or happy but still are in the relationship for the society, and most importantly, I see people breaking up because the other had a fling with someone else – How about thinking again? What if we don’t hold ‘not having sex with another’ as a strong component in a relationship?
I asked the same question to Preeti Shenoy and Ravinder Singh at the Chennai Lit Fest as they write about infidelity and extramarital affairs, one word that Preeti told still lingers in my mind – “Having an affair doesn’t define a person, one who has an affair can relatively be a nice person than the one who is not having an extramarital affair,” she said, and that’s so true.
I wouldn’t endorse an affair, but I just want to convey that it is not as bad as we think it is. These relationships might probably wither away with time, polygamy was always a part of Indian traditions, and it was taken easily. Maybe, if we give ‘sex’ a backseat and don’t chew at the skin around the nail – our thumb might not bleed. How about not pondering about one-not-sleeping-with-anyone-else with fingerprint dust? Let’s not anchor a relationship’s hold to ‘sex’ but commitment and being there for one another.
I definitely know how it feels to be cheated on (first-hand experience) and I’ve been through depressing times for months together, it is a sharp pang of pain that goes through the gut and leaves us with a terrible hollow feeling. But, if we could change our mindset and focus, and if we don’t bank on ‘sex’ for ‘loyalty’ life might turn better, ain’t it? I have shifted what ‘loyalty’ means to me.
I’ve just echoed the persistent thoughts that are on my mind, and am pushing aside topics like – feminism, misogyny, sexism, moral authority, etc.. from this blog post. I am just leaving it here with a mere thought that it can be considered a possibility instead of breaking up from a relationship – because, breakup from a marital relationship is still expensive (I don’t mean the money here – if you know what I mean)
I repeat I don’t endorse the concept or anything. I just wrote how my mindset has changed, and I guess this might help someone who is in a confusing relationship. Life is much better and bigger if we ensure to push aside petty things that don’t matter in the long term – it can also be a person in one’s life.
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14 thoughts on “Is Loyalty = “Not Having Sex with another””

  1. Different relationships have different equations. Some might be ok with having sex with another– the problem comes in when there’s a sense of betrayal. If a person forms a relationship based on the promise of monogamy, then they can’t break that promise on the sly and expect to be taken back into the relationship without any issues. In an open relationship, where the parties have already discussed the possibility of sex outside the relationship, it is another matter altogether. Loyalty is all about keeping a promise.

    If you find yourself breaking it, then you need to re-valuate your relationship: if sex is more important than the relationship, it is better to break it off and commence another, or change the rules of the relationship with the agreement of your partner.

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    1. Damyantis thoughts are.similar to what i have to say. When a relationship is formed between two people…the equation between them , their perosnas .. make them define what betrayel is.. For many ,a spouse having a friend of the opposite gender may not be acceptable. For a few others, this may be ok but not sex….so defining what betrayel is itself varies across people, cultures and countries.

      And as damyanti says if you promise monogamy then dont break that promise. The fact is in our country, by and large all relationships are by force pulled into the monogamy promise. Blame it on social conditioning or whatever.

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  2. I’d say different things work for different people. Only the partners should together have the prerogative to decide on the rules of their relationship. There are societal expectations too but those can be disregarded. However the partners’ expectations in terms of what constitutes fidelity would also decide what constitutes cheating. There really are no absolute rules in relationships, at least now with more awareness and fast changing values systems.

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  3. Unfortunately men and women are biologically and emotionally wired differently .Trying it out is okay upto a limit ,but has its limitations .And the West with all its great stuff, human relationships are not their strong point.
    But different things for different people.
    I personally don’t have a clue what people mean by open relationships .
    It’s like a good weather friend, I think.Why would anyone waste any time on energy on it I am clueless.

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  4. Open relationships require a certain different mindset, one that we Indians tend not to have. It takes a while for us to understand and adjust to the concept, and still, a lot of us will never be comfortable with it.

    However, if you think about it, sex is an important part of life. So if you’re sexually incompatible or are away from your partner for a long time, I can see why an open relationship would make sense.

    I do think that it is best that both partners be ok with it – not as it typically is in India, where the wife/girlfriend is always the last to know – and is left devastated.

    Interesting post!

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  5. A lot of it makes sense. Cheating is not just cheating physically. How about emotional cheating? Don’t you think that too triggers it? Where a man or a woman feels more connected or emotionally attached or share their life with the other person and in between feel all the intimacy for them and at the same time that guilt too crops in for not sharing that part of life with their significant half.

    Loyalty is not just not having sex with another person, but it sure plays a big role. How many of us in a relationship or a marriage for that matter will be comfortable sharing our spouses or knowing the fact that our spouse is sleeping with someone else and we will be fine by it?

    I don’t I’d be that comfortable and accepting. I don’t know how am I going to react or anything or how accepting I will be towards it. But it sure won’t be easy to digest, I feel

    This post really intrigued me!

    Cheers
    Geets

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  6. I think we tend to overrate sex and equate it with loyalty. While it’s true that it stands important to be together in a monogamy sort of circle, what matters is the emotions lying in the right place. Would you call Draupadi a woman lacking honor for sleeping with five husbands and nurturing feelings for Karna and Krishna. I think she was loyal with her husbands as a strong woman. As I said, it’s a very fresh perspective that we should debate at length. Love the perspective. I’d say sex is one of the most important factors in a relationship to succeed.

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