Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Loyalty, fidelity and principles

Last Monday, my local friend had another suggestion: fidelity (eg, principles, wife). I asked if he meant loyalty. He acknowledged but stated that the scope is up to me. My initial reply to him was that dogs are loyal while humans are not (eg, Quora). My reply expressed cynicism following my personal experiences.

A few months ago, I mentioned loyalty in my blog: The 7 elements that define the type of relationship. My then-girlfriend saw it as input. I disagreed (sic!). In my view, you cannot ask for (unconditional) loyalty. In some relationships, unconditional loyalty is, however, the output of these 7 input factors.

The Belgian psychotherapist Esther Perel has different views about fidelity than most of us: The secret to desire in a long-term relationship (2013), Rethinking infidelity (2015), and the excerpt Why happy couples cheat. Many – if not most – people view infidelity as betrayal. Esther Perel disagrees.

The word infidel and/or infidelity both mean being unfaithful (Wiki). Hence, the word infidel is used in a religious context, while the word infidelity is used in a sexual context. In my view, loyalty has a much broader context and is outside this (un)faithful context.

Essentially, once you’re loyal to someone (eg, your partner) or something (eg, a belief) then your fidelity is assumed. Else, it will often be viewed as betrayal rather than – for example – progressive insight.

Loyalty can live without fidelity; see Todd Rundgren song below. Esther Perel argues something similar.

Can (in)fidelity live without loyalty? Or, in other words: can a cheater ever be trusted again?

American journalist and author Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) once stated, “True remorse is never just regret over consequence; it is regret over motive.” (eg, GoodReads, PsychologyToday)

A long time ago, a former colleague used to say: My only principle is not having principles.

It feels similar to this alleged quote by Groucho Marx (1890-1977).

Principles can easily become a burden, once pragmatism is required.

Fidelity (1989) by Todd Rundgren
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-artist, Wiki-album

[Verse 1]
I’ve been hurt
I’ve never been so hurt
Yes, and only you know why
But I would be far more hurt
If we had to say good bye

True love does not demand fidelity
If there’s one sacred place always in your heart for me

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.


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