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Sex, Love, and Fidelity: A Study of Contemporary Romantic Relationships By Kassia R. ...

Chapter 1:  Operationalizing Fidelity
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Sex, Love, and Fidelity:

Chapter 1

Operationalizing Fidelity

Toward a Typology of Ideology and Behavior

Romantic relationships retain enormous significance in contemporary American culture. A stable, intimate relationship is thought to be an essential component of well-being and happiness (Klinger 1977; Berscheid and Peplau 1983; Budgeon 2008). People spend considerable time and effort searching for romantic partnerships in social situations, friendship circles, and workplace environments, through matchmaking services and even online. The goal, for many, is to find “the one” person who provides the kind of love, companionship, satisfaction, and intimacy that can be sustained for a lifetime. Such relationships are so significant that they are subsequently socially, legally, or religiously sanctioned through formal recognition, such as marriage.

Marriage is customarily regarded as the ultimate pledge of relational commitment and provides a structural catalyst for sexual and emotional exclusivity through its responsibilities, rules, and expectations. Marriage therefore operates as a framework or master template for intimate relationships that relies on forsaking all others in favor of “the one.” This is often thought of as monogamy, which is central to the master marriage template because it establishes the personal, legal, social, and religious