A controversial new book: ‘The New Rules of Marriage’ by sociologist Catherine Hakim, claims that the British should be more laid back about infidelity, like our near neighbours the French, Italians and Spanish.
A ‘playfair’ isn’t cheating (supposedly). . .
Hakim, who was educated in France, suggests that long-term exclusivity in relationships turns people into ‘caged animals’ and she compares ‘having a brief fling’ to ‘having dinner with your long-term partner.’
She refers to the French as ‘masters of seduction’ who are ‘philosophical about adultery’ and are content to let their partners off the leash occasionally to indulge in a ‘playfair’ – for the benefit of the marriage.
Certainly the rapid increase in the number of internet dating sites has given rise to more opportunities for clandestine liaisons than ever before, for those who want to go down that route.
Can an affair ever be healthy?
So how would you feel about being ‘let off the leash’? as Ms Hakim pointedly describes it. Could you be tempted to seek physical or emotional satisfaction outside of a ‘steady’ relationship? And would you be willing to let your partner off the leash for a ‘playfair’ providing he or she came back to you afterwards?
The main question appears to be: can an affair ever be healthy? And what if something that started out as a bit of fun, turned into something more enduring?
Ms Hakim has created an interesting concept, but perhaps her latest book throws up more potential problems than it solves.
You have to question how genuine the sentiments expressed in the book really are. And how many of the author’s numerous provocative statements are intended to be regarded as tongue-in-cheek?
But whatever your take on Catherine Hakim’s contentious ‘viewpoint’, it’s certainly got people talking. There can be little doubt that when it comes to courting publicity, Ms Hakim is a master.
Or should that be ‘mistress’?