Is the concept of faithfulness working?

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. – P. McCartney

03-08-13-39-53 / 25

Hello Diner. We Fortune Cookies are baked, not born. As such we do not have personal judgments on faithfulness. When we see a man bring his family to our restaurant one night and then a series of young ladies other nights, we keep our folds shut as always, revealing only the wisdom we carry.

Individuals cheat to gain acceptance, variety, and excitement. New, discreet relations garner affirmation and staves off boredom. From a biological standpoint, males benefit from infidelity by increasing the chance of producing offspring, but research also confirms that there are downsides. Sexual cheating produces a lot more jealousy in men, and women feel more threatened by emotional infidelity.[1] The evolutionary reasons have to do with expending resources. If a female has other illicit partners, her primary mate may put in energy to help his competitor’s genes survive, thinking the child was his all along. If a male falls in love with someone else, his mate will lose the resources he can bring.[1]

But in the thousands of years for evolution to take place, what’s a few hurt feelings, right? Children would still survive–just not ones fully genetically related to the original pair. However, research also shows that collectively punishing cheaters promoted cooperation within the group.[2] If you know everyone enforces punishments to cheating, you’d feel safer trusting people.

Research seems to show as many biological and evolutionary benefits driving infidelity as there are monogamy. Modern society also makes having many children and support from both parents a lot less important. Regardless of the conceptual, at the heart of this question are two people with emotions, history, and maybe children together. Is faithfulness working for you, Diner? Whatever you decide, I only advise that you act honestly. That is why faithfulness holds little meaning: in the end only the truth and the happiness of both you and your family matter to Fortune Cookies.




[1] Buss, D.M., Larsen, R.J., Westen, D., Semmerlroth, J. (1992). Sex differences in jealousy: Evolution, physiology, and psychology. Psychological Science, 3(4), 251-255

[2] Boyd, R., Gintis, H., & Bowles, S. (2010). Coordinated punishment of defectors sustains cooperation and can proliferate when rare. Science, 328 (5978), 617-620 DOI: 10.1126/science.1183665