Leave it to the French to claim male infidelity is perfectly okay. It’s even the subject matter of a controversial book, and though one would automatically think that it was authored by a male, it was actually written by a woman. An old woman at that, from the looks of her. So, out of the land of wine and romance comes Maryse Vaillant who wrote Men, Love, Fidelity which essentially promotes male extra-marital affairs as good for a marriage. Not having read the book, I have no idea why she would come to that conclusion, but it might have to do with the fact that she claims 39% of married men in France have cheated on their partners, at some point in time. I guess she believes if so many men are cheating, then there must be some natural inclination she feels should not be thwarted through monogamy.
She claims French men should stop being castigated for being serial womanisers and that keeping a mistress can actually improve their marriage.
Some of her reasoning seems quite bizarre:
“[Most] don’t do it because they no longer love them, on the contrary,” she said. “They simply need breathing space. For such men, who are in fact profoundly monogamous, infidelity is almost unavoidable”.
Once French women accept that the “pact of fidelity is not natural but cultural”, and that infidelity is essential to the “psychic functioning” of certain men who are still very much in love, it can be a “very liberating” for women, she contends.
Not natural but cultural? How about immoral? Perhaps men have a more challenging time with monogamy, but most women don’t. There are obviously some women who have no problem with multiple partners, or cheating on their husbands, but for the most part we don’t want our men to be sowing their seed with every Mary, Jane and June. That’s why most women have trouble with the idea of polygamy. Even in cultures where it’s legal. Not to mention the potential for sexually transmitted diseases grows exponentially the more partners one has.
There are french women who totally disagree. Sylvie Brunel, ex-wife of French Minister Eric Besson wrote a book of her own about the many infidelities of her ex-hubby, who wound up leaving her for a much younger woman:
In her Guerrilla Handbook for Women, Miss Brunel, 49, claims Eric Besson, France’s minister of immigration and national identity, was an insatiable cheat with “interchangeable mistresses”.
At their wedding in 1983, when the mayor began reciting the vows of “fidelity, aid and support”, she said Mr Besson commented: “Fidelity, no.”
Miss Brunel, although “humiliated”, convinced the shocked mayor it was a joke. He was, she claims, unfaithful for five years before their marriage and 25 years afterwards, adding: “I can’t say I wasn’t warned.”
Valliant says in her book that monogamy isn’t necessarily a proof of love, and that those who are faithful are just too weak to get a mistress.
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Ironically, Valliant has been divorced for 20 years and has since been in a relationship that she claims is “stable” and “faithful”. Whatever her definition of “faithful” is.