I hope you had a good holiday last week. We are meeting again next
The subject of loyalty and infidelity will certainly give us something to
talk about now that we are fresh after the hols. Looking forward to
SUNDAY 6.00pm START at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs,
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Pub Molly Malone, c/ Manuela Malasaña, 11, Madrid 28004
metro: <Bilbao> : buses: 21, 149, 147
Loyalty and Infidelity
Although loyalty features in a variety of contexts and situations, I will
limit myself to the context of partnerships. In a way this is
us by infidelity. In reality, infidelity features prominently only in the
context of partnerships.
We should also really be comparing loyalty with fidelity since it
reason that one leads to the other. However, the implications of
can be so serious that, I suppose, the concept is more engrained in our
The underlying basis of loyalty and fidelity is the moral principle of
promising. In the case of a married couple, the promise is explicit,
in other couples it is probably implicit. Whatever the circumstance, it's
much easier to spell out the conditions for infidelity. This would be
something like having a sexual liaison with someone who is not one's
partner. Implicit in this is that one's partner objects and/or
of this behaviour. Of course, there might be social and cultural
implications whose consequences might be independent of what the parties
involved think about the matter.
Moving on to loyalty, what are the meaning and implications of loyalty?
Maybe, loyalty ranges from something like giving moral support to
to speak, as one's partner defence counsel. Does, for example, loyalty
include perjury under oath? Does it, on the other hand, involve saying
something like, ''you look great in your purple dress," when it is
that purple is the last colour your partner should be seen in? But in
cases, at least, an outsider can easily do the job as much as ones
One's friends and family can equally feel a strong sense of loyalty
In a way, infidelity itself is a form of disloyalty. If this is the case
then the strongest form of loyalty is precisely to be faithful to one's
partner. But surely there are more things in life than simply not
sexual liaisons with someone else, even if this is at the top of the
For example, egoism and selfishness are two other obvious cases where the
issue of loyalty arises. Sharing with and giving priority to the needs of
one's partner are certainly a sign of loyalty.
Loyalty really features in the context of love. Ought love to be
reciprocated by love? And what does it mean to be loyal to one's
love? It is unreasonable to assume that love should be reciprocated by
this is only valid if both parties are disposed to such feelings and
emotions. The issue is probably how long can we expect loyalty to last.
Should loyalty last for ever or what? One simple answer would be: loyalty
lasts as long as love lasts. But this means that loyalty and fidelity are
subject to the progress and whims of love.
Of course, these questions are being asked in the context of normal life.
What about in the context, when one partner, due to some misfortune,
function sexually? Does fidelity remain an issue? And what kind of
can we expect in these situations?
Earlier I suggested that loyalty involves a sort of promise, either
or implicit, hence, by implication, we have some sort of duty towards our
partner. Once again, what kind of duty is this? It would be strange to
suggest that we have a duty to love our partner because love i