chapter  8
14 Pages

INFIDELITY: A PROTOTYPICAL VERTICAL SPLIT

The attempt here will be to isolate one particular psychological configuration seen in selected cases of infidelity. It may follow

that all cases of infidelity in our culture bear a resemblance to these exemplars, or else further research might show that these few examples form a very narrow subtype. It is strikingly true, however, that the study of someone who cannot seem to maintain a loyal or monogamous relationship and who is regularly drawn to breaches of faithfulness is often pictured as a person divided. The division is one of a very precarious balance between two ways to behave and is then further characterized as the one being right and proper whereas the other comprises betrayal. The descriptions of infidelity often contain the words victim and betrayer, and so they regularly describe the condition as an act of disloyalty in which one has failed to maintain one's duty and obligation. Acts of infidelity nicely depict the vertical split as a division into right and wrong. It is well-nigh impossible to be "neutral" about infidelity, and as one enters into any particular story, one seems drawn into taking sides.