Wednesday, 3 October 2007

marriage, infidelity and singleness

Back in April I reported on marriage strategies - how living together before marriage reduces the likelihood of the marriage lasting. Now the Sydney Morning Herald has reported on some more interesting facts about marriage.

cohabiting & singleness

A new study by Ruth Weston shows that in the last 5 years there has been an enormous increase in the number of people in their 30s who are not in a live-in relationship, married or otherwise. While the divorce rate is now more or less stable, living together has become more unstable.

In the 1980s, couples tended to live together as a "trial marriage", but now live-in relationships tend to begin more casually. This apparently makes it more likely that couples might live for years in a relationship with little commitment that ends up going nowhere. If or when they finally separate, this time has been "wasted", and the prospects of finding a marriage partner much reduced.

marriage & infidelity

Pamela Druckerman has researched marriage infidelity in several countries, and found some slightly surprising conclusions:

  • The French are among the more faithful in marriage. They do not make a fuss about infidelity, but nevertheless value faithfulness very highly.
  • Americans too value fidelity, but are slightly less faithful than the French. Those who are victims of infidelity tend to suffer more than in other nations, get angrier and almost always seek extensive counselling.
  • Britons, Japanese and Russians appear to be among the less faithful. The instability in Russian marriages seems to be a related to other social problems, like poor health, crime, alcoholism and a growing AIDS problem. In Japan, infidelity seems to be related to an unrealistic approach to marriage, and is beginning to lead to women delaying marriage because of male propensity for discreet affairs.
  • Togo has a level of infidelity many times that of western nations (which may help explain why AIDS is such a problem in Africa!).
  • Most faithful of the nations investigated are Kazakhstan, Bangladesh and ...... Australia.
  • Overall, wealthy countries tend to have lower rates of infidelity, especially among men.

Not sure what all that proves, except maybe that we can flout the conventional standards but it doesn't seem to make anyone any happier.


  1. Do pre-dominantly Muslim countries have higher rates of fidelity because it is more likely to be a punishable crime?

  2. I don't know if the study found that Muslim countries have a higher rate of fidelity or not, though I would guess that would be true. If it is true, then I guess both positive belief and negative punishment would be reasons.

    But I don't really have any info on any of that.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.