Infidelity is the main cause of divorce in America today. Infidelity is a vice that is causing stains in families, among many other ills that come with it. It has been shown many times that groups of people sharing common beliefs and attitudes tend to behave in the same manner.
Infidelity behavior is no exception to this reality. In this paper, I will show that cultural views of infidelity vary according to economic status, education level, religious values, family values, and societal acceptance within a community or country.
After all, these are the issues that define our identity apart from our perspective of issues around us, determining our general behavior and character. In many cases, economic and other variables stated here do not act on their singly. Rather, they form a complex network with the other variable mentioned to affect infidelity behavior. (Druckerman, 2008)
We live in a capitalist society meaning that people’s economic capacity has a bearing on so many other things in their lives. The evidence of this reality is so much that the stratification of our societies can be clearly seen by people’s living standards, education, and behavior, among other measuring parameters that can be seen.
Economic status, therefore, affects cultural views of infidelity within a community in many ways. First, people of lower economic status, especially women, can be sexually exploited by people with better economic status. Those on lower economic status may actually view infidelity as a gateway to a better life.
There is even an attitude that has been adopted by rich men, whereby they consider it easier in their part to lure any woman into a sexual relationship since they can easily entice them by their financial resources.
Although there is a slight shift in our modern society, which may cause women to play the same role towards the opposite sex, men were wired naturally to provide materially and in other ways for women. It is, therefore, quite a challenge for someone less economically empowered to resist infidelity, especially in the face of having a chance to benefit economically. (Druckerman, 2008)
Besides, economic status determines so many other things in a person’s life. Children in affluent families, for example, are likely to grow up in good environments where they experience love, attention, and a generally better quality of life. This empowers them to develop confidence knowing that they can confidently walk in some values.
This may, therefore, develop a more resilient character in them that is more likely to stand against infidelity when they start families as compared from those that have come from poor upbringings. Besides, in family life, couples that are economically empowered are likely to have lesser problems in their marriage life as compared to those from marriages of lower economic status.
First, they are likely to have time for each other, unlike their other counterparts, who are likely to spend most of their time working in order to earn a living. Secondly, lack and scarcity of financial resources are likely to cause conflicts in a family. These couples can develop an attitude for their marriage, becoming an easier prey of infidelity. (Pittman, 1990)
Closely related to economic status, education level is another factor that greatly determines fidelity cultural values within a society. Education is an important way of empowering people in the society. It provides knowledge on academic and social issues and builds confidence within an individual.
It later determines someone’s economic statue by determining the kind of job, business, or an income generation activity that someone can undertake. Nearly all economic determinants that affect infidelity, some of which have been described above, can, therefore, be linked to varying educational levels among people. (Druckerman, 2008)
Generally, people with high educational levels tend to have a desire to attain fulfillment in life. They are, therefore, likely to value the marriage institution and work diligently to maintain a healthy relationship within their families. This, in turn, translates to a cultural value that does not condone infidelity because the family, including the wife, husband, and child, have been given priority.
The reverse is true for people with low levels of education who are likely to invest less energy in their families, encouraging infidelity as a result. Moreover, education tends to develop good social, rapport, and communication skills within an individual.
These are skills that come in exceptionally handy in maintaining a healthy marriage relationship. This kind of family is likely to nurture values that go against the storm of infidelity, among other issues that may weaken or break marriages. (Druckerman, 2008)
Education develops high self-esteem and confidence within an individual. An educated person is highly concerned about his/her image and would tend to have a desire to maintain high standards in every area of his/her life. This translates to a culture of values against infidelity in several ways. Research has shown that low self-esteem is one of the contributing factors that lead to infidelity.
For example, a husband with high self-esteem is likely to gain respect, and as a result, faithfulness from his wife than one with lower self-esteem. Moreover, low self-esteem contributes highly to promoting conflict within families, something that can easily lead to weak families, making it easier for couples to develop a culture of infidelity. (Pittman, 1990)
Religious institutions play a great role in instilling moral values in people. These values touch on infidelity in one way or another. Most religions have teachings that highly discourage infidelity in society. These values are directly passed to people that are affiliated with these religions. People tend to adopt religious values on varying levels. These values determine their behaviors and morals, including infidelity.
It is an obvious observation that people with committed members of religious groups believe that they will, at one time, be accountable for all their actions when God judges their doings. Although many people believe these in society, committed members of religious groups are always conscious of this belief, something that causes them to develop a cultural value that is against infidelity, among other immoral behaviors.
It is, however, easier for people to engage in infidelity and other controversial behaviors when they do not acknowledge accountability to God. This is especially true when other factors touching on their behaviors have not discouraged them from doing so. In such cases, religious values are the only thing that can prevent a person from participating in behaviors like infidelity.
Several studies have shown that strict adherents of religious institutions are less likely to develop a culture of infidelity when compared to other people. Moreover, religion can be a source of strength and tends to give people direction and purpose in life. This automatically translates to a positive family life that cultivates values against infidelity. (Druckerman, 2008)
People inherit so much from their families. The family is the single most influential institution in our society. We inherit beliefs, values, attitudes, wealthy, education, and many other things from our families. It is, therefore, true that cultural values touching on infidelity are directly and indirectly passed to us by our families.
Children who have grown up watching their parents’ practice infidelity sometimes openly without hiding it are almost certainly to develop the same kind of values in them, for example. On the other hand, children who have grown up in healthy families that instill a culture against infidelity through words and practice are likely to bring up children that would maintain the same kind of values in their families.
Religious values passed to children would automatically affect their beliefs and general behaviors in the future, including infidelity. Moreover, economic wealth passed to children would affect their infidelity values. As discussed earlier, the same applies to the educational attainment of children that is passed to them by their families. (Pittman, 1990)
There is always a feeling of societal judgment on every individual, something that tends to influence his or her behaviors and character in one way or another. Infidelity values have increased in our modern society as compared to a number of societies that existed in the past since it has tended to condone this practice rather than condemn it.
Different societies uphold deferent values to varying degrees, which in turn translates to people’s values, including values related to infidelity. Some of the important determinants in societal values include stars, leaders, and the media, among others. In our society today, most of these determinants play to promote infidelity translating to an increase of infidelity behaviors that we witness today. (Pittman, 1990)
As can be seen, economic levels, educational levels, religious values, family values, and societal acceptance influence cultural infidelity values in a society. These variables largely determine our values. They do not act in isolation, but they are interrelated in a complex to subconsciously determine our actions, decisions, and values in general.
Druckerman, P. (2008) Lust in Translation: The Rules of Infidelity from Tokyo to Tennessee, Penguin Press HC.
Pittman, F. (1990) Private Lies: Infidelity and the Betrayal of Intimacy, W. W. Norton & Company.