“There’s always a better man or woman than you.”
During dinner with my old friend and his lovely wife at one of my old hangouts, Patsy’s restaurant in Manhattan, he, visibly disturbed, told me that the spouses of his married niece and her brother who have late teenage children had, after both being married for about 20 years, initiated ugly divorce proceedings. Both had fallen in love with another person and were caught cheating which brought about the break-ups which, interestingly enough, if not discovered, might never have happened.
My friend, in frustrated tones, said, “Gesu Cristo, Lorenzo, what the hell is going on? After 20 years of marriage with kids who are still young, how in God’s name can they do it?”
When I counsel young adults I urge them to be careful and not be in a hurry to fall in love. I explain to them we have entered the era of Flexidelity, a term that I coined, replacing the old one, Fidelity. Flexidelity means when people in a love relationship, be it marriage or another type, cheat but try to maintain the relationship.*
I explain to these adults that, unlike not too long ago, we are now a mobile society and meet all kinds of folks. Then I add, “There’s always a better man or woman than you out there” and your loved one may meet that person. The result? Suffering—lots of it!
Flexidelity has been particularly destructive to married men and women. “*Cheating” was primarily a man thing in the past but now women have joined in. Both are meeting “better” others. (If you have doubts about this, just check out ashleymadison.com). The divorce rate is now about 50%. But here’s an eye opener: the divorce rate for second marriages is over 60% and the third ones over 70%! The lesson? “Better” is, more often than not, not better!
A recent Gallop Poll reported that 92% of Americans believe that married men and women who have affairs are morally wrong. Go figure!
*Note: there’s falling-out-of-love cheating and staying-in-love cheating, the percentages of which are not known.