Sex, Lies, and … Transformation
The authors consider adultery to be the transgression of marriage, which is itself then defined as a legally recognized sexually exclusive monogamy. Although they use marriage as the prototypical relational type in which an affair can occur, their discussion also applies to long-term "marriage like" romantic commitments for which sexual exclusivity is the norm. An affair offers the seductive promise that both/and is possible, the either/or of monogamy can be defied. After all, the desire for passion and escape from mundane unhappiness often co-exist disharmoniously with a desire for stability. The attractive transformative potential of transgression is tempered by a fear that this transformation would prohibit a return to the safe haven of ordinary life. Their focus is not on how spouses communicate to each other about affairs, feel jealousy about affairs, or experience betrayals at their discovery, but how local and distant social networks communicatively enforce social norms regarding infidelity.