By Bea Mahmood@BEA91XX
It’s the season of merriment and goodwill. But apparently, it’s also the season of infidelity and affairs, most of which will occur at the annual office party. According to figures released by International Infidelity Studies, 32% of men and women have cheated at a work bash.
Surprisingly, it has become common practise for office parties to be a strictly ‘no plus one’ arena. In fact, people in relationships prefer to leave their partners at home because they want the option to flirt or even enjoy a quick snog with an attractive colleague under the mistletoe.
But what is most surprising is that further research conducted by online dating website Victoria Milan, shows that 76% of cheaters who follow a religion believe that infidelity is not a sin!
To many, the concept of cheating on a partner is a straightforward no-no. However, cheaters believe there are different levels of cheating and on some of these levels, it’s not even considered infidelity at all. There’s emotional cheating, there’s physical cheating, there’s planned infidelity, there’s spur of the moment cheating and then there’s hiding your cards cheating. Oh no wait... that’s poker.
Is it considered cheating if your partner plans to get with someone at the Christmas party but doesn’t want to take it further? Devoid of all emotions, is a kiss just that - a kiss?
But then, is it worse if your partner establishes an emotional connection with someone? Is it cheating if they're flirting with someone online? In this day and age, you have Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, webcams, forums, internet dating – a whole host of possible avenues to cheat but still manage to bypass physical infidelity. Some would then consider this ‘harmless flirting' or 'just talking'.
Victoria Milan is a social networking site for attached people to meet others specifically for an affair, so perhaps it’s unsurprising that its users are looking for a way to justify their actions and don’t want to label themselves as ‘sinners’.
The site's research shows that nearly all cheaters don’t consider infidelity a religious sin but does this mean it is acceptable? Not necessarily as it is still morally wrong.
But founder and CEO of Victoria Milan Sigurd Vedal states: 'Infidelity has been with us throughout human existence in every culture. Most cultures and religions, especially, have censured and even penalised adultery, but this has not prevented it from occuring.'
Yes Sigurd, but the same can be argued for sins like murder and stealing; they are wrong but they still occur. However, we now live in a secular society where we are punished for crimes rather than sins. There are very real punishments for murder and theft but there are no condemnations of seventy lashings if you're caught cheating. Therefore, it’s sort of easy to see why cheaters don’t consider infidelity wrong - because there is no corporal punishment nor is there anybody to enforce this kind of penalty.
But when something is undeniably wrong, there is no debate. I'm not saying there should be physical punishments for infidelity, but at least let your conscience be your guide. Morally speaking, we don't need religion to tell us that something like infidelity should be forbidden.
For many, religion ultimately lays the groundwork for ethics and morals. While some religious rules can be considered outdated, the very essence of religion is didactic. The basic principles can be extrapolated and applied to anybody. Interestingly, a breakdown of the users of the site shows that 70% are believers and less than 30% are in fact atheist or agnostic.
Sigurd continues: 'In modern times our members see passion and love as precious gifts, and they appreciate religion as a culturally-situated phenomenon. If god is love why should they find anything wrong with their desires for lovemaking?'
So it seems that the users of Victoria Milan are caught up in technicalities and justifications. They seem to be forgetting that while they may think cheating is 'God's gift' to them, it is actually an injustice to their helpless partner. The sanctity of a relationship lies in trust and respect. Infidelity eliminates that entirely so I'm not exactly sure how people find a way to justify this.
Cheating may not be considered a crime punishable by law but it is definitely wrong. And in answer to the question 'is what I'm doing considered infidelity?' Well, if you have to ask that question, it probably is.
Interesting Survey Results
The survey of 6000 members conducted by the infidelity site Victoria Milan also had some ideas about which faiths fostered infidelity, and this time they're not blaming it on the 'godless' non-believers. Of the cheaters surveyed, when asked which religion they considered the most unfaithful, the results were: