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LOVE & ROMANCE

Now Sex With Other People Doesn’t Mean You’re Unfaithful

When Ali Sheik met Tori Coxon they knew that they had something. Ali, 33, from south London, and Tori, 27, from north London, hit it off straight away and within a month were seeing each other four or five times a week.

It looked like the perfect relationship apart from one snag – the couple carried on ‘seeing’ other people for six months into the relationship.

‘That is how it is these days,’ said Ali, who thinks it is ‘unusual’ for people to decide they want monogamy within a few weeks. He said that up to the end of the year he had casual encounters with other women and Tori was fine about it.

‘It was different with Tori,’ he said. ‘We would spend time doing things together that we wouldn’t do with others – going to restaurants or spending weekends together, having a picnic or going to museums. Quality time.’

Ali and Tori are examples of a new phenomenon taking hold in Britain: young couples who are much more relaxed about concepts of fidelity and monogamy than their parents’ generation.

They are the Desperate Housewives generation, people who were hooked on Sex and the City. For the first six months of a new relationship, it seems, some degree of ‘infidelity’ is acceptable.

New research has revealed that Ali and Tori are not alone. ‘The Infidelity Report’ carried out by the Consumer Analysis Group to mark the launch of the film Closer on DVD, revealed that one-third of people think people were made to stray, over three-quarters consider infidelity more common than ever and nearly as many find it increasingly acceptable.

Nearly a third of over 1,000 respondents didn’t consider infidelity in a short-term relationship as ‘being unfaithful’.

Tori had recently split up with a partner of two years herself and although she essentially began a relationship with Ali, encouraged by friends she ‘carried on going out on dates’.

But the new phenomenon comes with a warning. Sherrie Schneider, co-author of the bestselling The Rules, said she could not imagine a woman truly accepting infidelity. ‘Cheating is cheating no matter what it is,’ she said. ‘It’s people who cheat that say human beings aren’t meant for monogamous relationships. Every average man or woman wants to be with a partner who will be faithful – a partner they can grow old with. Things like Sex and the City aren’t based on reality. It’s fiction – your relationship doesn’t work if your partner has been unfaithful.’

Tori disagrees. After six months she told Ali that she thought it was time they made a commitment and the pair decided to stop the infidelity. They have been together a year – including the six-month starter – and they are happy and faithful.

‘In a way I trust him more,’ said Tori. ‘He has never lied to me, and I think he would tell me if he did anything. Now that we are more serious I would be furious if he cheated on me.’ Ali added that ‘technically’ the couple had never been unfaithful. ‘You have to go behind someone’s back for that,’ he said.

Once caught, there was a disparity on what would constitute cheating. While some said flirty text messages and emails were too much, almost a quarter did not consider a ‘lingering kiss’ to be an offence, while 12 per cent said you could only be ‘unfaithful’ if you were married.

The new rules of dating … and infidelity

  1. When asking someone out make it absolutely clear you are after a date. Otherwise you could end up becoming just friends by accident. And that’s no use to anyone.
  2. It is OK for girls to ask boys out as long as they obey rule 1. Ambiguous invitations are just flirting.
  3. If you have set up a date by text message, call on the day to confirm. It proves you’ve got guts.
  4. But it’s OK to call when you know someone won’t answer so you can leave a message.
  5. When sending emails at work, imagine CC-ing your partner. If THEY wouldn’t be amused, you’re flirting. Stop it.
  6. Text message exchange that goes on throughout the day is definitely flirtation. Otherwise why wouldn’t you just speak on the phone?
  7. If you sleep with someone on the first date, don’t say: ‘I don’t normally do this.’ Of course you do.
  8. Boys – If you actually like someone and then you sleep with them, call them the next day. Otherwise you are a bastard.
  9. Girls – If you sleep with someone and he didn’t call the next day, he is almost certainly a bastard.
  10. If you are not being monogamous you have to tell your partners.
  11. If they say that’s OK, but that at some stage they would like a monogamous relationship with you they are lying about it being OK at all. They just don’t want to lose you.
  12. Being drunk is not an excuse for infidelity.
  13. Being so drunk you don’t remember is still not an excuse, but at least the hangover serves as partial punishment.
  14. If you have been seeing someone for more than three months assume it is a monogamous relationship unless otherwise stated.
  15. If you have been with someone for more than 15 years assume it is not a monogamous relationship unless otherwise stated.

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