Apparently there is a movement afoot. More and more couples are opting for a clause in their marriage contract that allows the spouses to cheat on one another.
While visiting last night with my husband, the one in my completely monogomous relationship, he told me he had heard couples were choosing this "freedom contract" over the traditional promise of marriage. I forgot to ask him, immediately, if he was hoping for such an amendment to our contract, so I went in this morning to check with him.
"Hey, I just want to verify that when you brought up that story of the couples who have contracted to cheat on one another, you weren't looking to change our current arrangement... were you?"
"No," he assured me between laughs. "It was a 'listen to this!' story on the radio, and people actually called in to say that they do sign contracts like this. I thought it was crazy."
I think it's pretty crazy too, and there is not a single cell in my body that wishes our contract were worded differently, but I am intrigued by this idea.
One of the women who called into the radio show admitted her husband had requested permission to have sexual partners outside of their marriage, and she agreed. When asked if she cheated too, she said, "No, he's the only one who needs to, and having it in our contract keeps things stable."
He's contracted to stay married to her, to provide for her, to be a companion for her, but he is not required to be exclusive. She committed to that too.
Could this possibly work? This is what I think: I think it works all the time...even if the couple doesn't have it formally written down, there are plenty of people who know infidelity exists and continue to operate as a married couple.
"Conservative infidelity statistics estimate that “60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an extramarital affair. These figures are even more significant when we consider the total number of marriages involved, since it's unlikely that all the men and women having affairs happen to be married to each other. If even half of the women having affairs (or 20 percent) are married to men not included in the 60 percent having affairs, then at least one partner will have an affair in approximately 80 percent of all marriages. With this many marriages affected, it's unreasonable to think affairs are due only to the failures and shortcomings of individual husbands or wives." Infidelity Statistics
The divorce rate is still around 50 per cent, and only 17 per cent of divorces are blamed on infidelity. It is possible that upwards of 50-60 per cent of marriages affected by infidelity, simply continue to work.
A couple who talks about the potential for affair, and then signs a joint contract before they are married could be saving themselves the drama and heartache so many other couples endure.
My husband and I will not be personally experimenting with this, but it is an interesting, modern twist on the marital arrangement. I would be curious to see the statistics of those marriages that remain in tact in ten years.
I really don't have a problem with two consenting adults who want to bind their relationship in any way that works well for both of them. The problem I have is with the people who have promised, in writing, to be faithful and exclusive, and then go ahead and have an affair anyway.
I guess for me, I just think people should do what they say they are going to do.