A WORD ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS AND FIDELITY
The topic of fidelity in on-line relationships has been frequently brought up.
Here's my take on that...
Since time immemorial, fidelity has been a standard for the female in a relationship because of the need to preserve the male's inheritance for his own offspring. In other words, the only way to guarantee that a woman's children are those of her husband is if she is kept strictly in line in terms of fidelity.
Throughout most cultures and much of history, men were not required to be faithful since there is not an analagous situation for them. For example, men have frequently had relations with mistresses, servants, both hired and bought. The operant legal phrase is "children follow the condition of the mother"... in other words, unless the father chooses to give legal standing to his bastard children, they don't count. So the man's infidelity is moot... it doesn't matter.
That's a purely pragmatic way of looking at things. Having worked enough in paternity suits and child support cases, I can assure you, it's much neater and cleaner if the woman has had only one sexual partner during the time during which she could have conceived a child.
Other pragmatic reasons for fidelity for both genders is that it not only diminishes the opportunity for the spread of venereal and other social diseases, but makes tracking the contagion easier. That's a public health issue.
What about love? you ask. A good question. What about love?
If you are going to be sexually active, find a good person with whom having children would be a delight, get married and go at it. But the first issue is to make sure that the children who will be produced, either by design or accident (more frequently) are going to have two parents who will devote themselves to their care.
Okay, you say, but I'm on the internet... pregnancy via the internet, as well as venereal disease, is highly unlikely...
Wonderful. This is a magnificent forum for learning to express oneself.
You can meet all sorts of interesting people and enjoy relating to them.
Provided... you realize everyone is not what they seem.
And that sexy little girl might be a fifteen year old geek with some sort of kink who borrowed a picture of his sister's best friend and sent it to you while swearing eternal love to you.
There are people out there determined to be jerks... guys pretending to be girls for the purposes of getting a rise, as it were, out of other guys and then humiliating them.
But the thing is, it's like the masked balls of the 17th century…many a plot has been laid in plays and operas where the wife goes to a masked ball alone and flirts outrageously with a man who takes her home, only to find out that it's her husband.
The rules are the same at this masked ball... go, flirt, be outrageous, enjoy yourself, put absolutely nothing into it... you may never hear from this person again... they may be lying and manipulating.. but enjoy it...
What I hear over and over is that there is a deep need to be loved among my dear young men... and I both appreciate and respect that. Where I stand, most of the men I meet are damaged goods... they don't love, they don't want to. But you guys haven't been trounced to the ground repeatedly by women, and so are pure and wonderful. I want you to stay that way as long as possible.
I say unto you, the need to be loved is universal, the ability to love a wonderful thing. You have to know who to love and who to be loved by, though, and it isn't going to be somebody you meet in a chatroom with a name that implies something less than a wholesome attitude toward sexuality.
That isn't to say that you can't form good friendships on the net with people who are genuine, and you may find feelings of love growing over a period of time, and that's fine. I'm not talking about that. That's a far cry from what I see going on, and hear about, which isn't about the development of relationships, it's about having verbal intercourse in any sense of the phrase...
It was only really in the late 1800s and early 1900s that the idea of people marrying for their own reasons mates of their own choosing caught on. The idea of dating, as we generally think of it, came along in the 1920s, but still wasn't a commonplace until the 1950s.