The era of disloyalty: “My trust in men has thus far not returned”

The era of disloyalty: “My trust in men has thus far not returned”

It’s seven in the morning, and your boyfriend of four years has just jumped out of bed to grab a shower. You groggily roll over and spot his IPhone lying untouched on the bedside table. Female instinct kicks in. Are you willing to cross those boundaries? No, if something were up, he would say so. Right? You contemplate the pros and cons of some innocent snooping. You even know his password, for heaven’s sake! The muffled sound of splashing water echoes through the room. This might be your only shot. Curiosity gets the overhand, and soon you’re two-months deep into his Whatsapp conversation with ‘Amanda’ from ‘work’. All clear, no damage done yet… That’s when the Facebook notification catches your eye. Your heart sinks into your shoes. It’s a message from Sophie Veldt. “Last Friday was amazing, let’s do it again soon. And p.s., let’s keep it a secret shall we”. The water cuts off, and you’re soon-to-be ex boyfriend steps into the room. “Hey babe, what’s wrong?”

Cheating is far from rare. Women of all ages have had encounters with infidelity, whether they themselves have been cheated on, or family members and friends have had the unpleasant experience of catching their disloyal husbands and boyfriends. What’s even more worrisome is the fact that the number of cheating men is steadily on the rise. In 1991, the Dutch Institute for Social Sexual Investigation estimated how a vast 15 per cent of Dutch men in a relationship have had sexual encounters with women other than their partner. According to psychologist Henk Noort, this number had already risen to a shocking 25 per cent by 2009. With the growing popularity of dating sites, and sites affiliated with starting affairs, the temptation to cross over to the dark side is bigger than ever. A recent article in the Dutch Psychology Magazine states how one in three men in a relationship uses dating sites, whereas one tenth of the female population in a relationship admits to doing so. Although some women have infidelity issues, men are far more eager to directly search for trouble. The famous online platform Ashley Madison, recently in the news because of a hacking scandal, claims to have as much as 38 million members worldwide, with the single goal of promoting affairs. And guess what, the vast majority of users are, indeed, male.

Cheating: the aftermath

Male infidelity is definitely widespread and almost considered to be ‘normal’. “I have been cheated on twice. In both situations I felt like I was in a healthy and steady relationship, but hey, apparently those just don’t exist anymore”. Alicia (23) is one of the many young women who have had the unfortunate luck to be cheated on by their loving counterparts, more than once even. “The first time I found out my boyfriend was cheating, I was angry, sure, but I still had confidence in successful future relationships.  The second time round, I felt like the floor disappeared from under my feet.” Cheating might be an accepted part of our society, but that sure doesn’t make it easy. The aftermath of cheating remains tough, and is characterised by distrust, insecurity, and a general lack of faith in a happy ‘love story’. Alicia: “My trust in men has thus far not returned”.
Trust is key

In our society, as it is nowadays, there are endless temptations that feed the need and willingness to check the greenness of the grass elsewhere. Aside from dating/infidelity sites, the general rise of technology, including smartphones with mobile apps such as Whatsapp, Facebook, and Twitter, has created the possibility to connect with everyone, everywhere. Checking your lover’s whereabouts and undertakings are as simple as it gets, which does not exactly improve the level of trust in a relationship, troubled or not. The temptation to satisfy your curiosity is not easily ignored, especially among younger generations. “Whenever the screen of his phone lit up, I would casually lean in and check, you know, just to be sure”. Merel (21) feels that social media and different messaging services have definitely damaged the level of trust in her relationship. “Naturally, I am not a jealous person, but if the opportunity is there, I just can’t resist. He is not the cheating type though, and neither am I”.

It has become incredibly easy for boyfriends and husbands all over the globe to cross relationship boundaries with just a few clicks. According to research results published in the Huffington post, having regular ‘inappropriate’ contact with a woman online is considered worse than actually kissing someone else. Women feel that the actual ‘bond’ that is established, is far more meaningful than a spontaneous make out session. Again, the violation of trust is vital when it comes to male infidelity.

 Is there any hope?

Yes, there is. “I have had bad experiences with guys in the past, especially when it comes to cheating, but right now I am happy, and I won’t let jealousy change that.” Merel (21) is one of the many examples that show that not all men deserve the ‘untrustworthy stamp’ when it comes to other women. “It comes down to what you do with it, you can either worry all the time, or actually enjoy your relationship”.

 

 

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