# When is infidelity allowed?

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by BrianHarwarespecialist, Oct 11, 2015.

1. ### birchValued Senior Member

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Murder, rape, theft, lying etc have been going on for eons too but if someone broke into your house, raped your wife/husband and robbed you of your belongings, would you so flippantly endorse it and not call the police using the excuse its 'normal' ( common) behavior?? Because its exactly the same thing.

The difference you are not seeing is you are not trying to explain it but defend it. Again, its been pointed out its about integrity, not sexual orientation or lifestyle. You are, in fact, defending deception and lies. Defend that in every other area of society too as well if you want your argument taken seriously.

Because you cant speak for everyone's nature as there are people who are monogamous and even prefer it just like polygamy! Geez!

Last edited: May 25, 2016

3. ### birchValued Senior Member

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I dont see evidence of this in real life. This seems to be a often believed superficial assumption based on simpler, lower organisms as in reproducing as much as possible.

When it comes to humans which require more care and nurturing for development, those who have monogamous and dedicated parents tend to come out on top.

Its pretty clear that serial cheating more often leads to broken homes and less emotional, mental and financial involvement. The result is quantity but not quality.

It takes maturity to be monogamous as its very easy to drift from person to person or when things hit a rough patch to give up or not care etc. This doesnt lead to good results for them or for offspring.

Last edited: May 25, 2016

5. ### BellsStaff Member

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But not to their offspring.

7. ### OphioliteValued Senior Member

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Unfounded presumption. It is the cuckoo ploy. You are, perhaps, envisaging the single parent scenario that has likely only become commonplace since the advent of social safety nets.

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8. ### RetributionBannedBanned

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No, Bells. There may be clear evidence that humanity gains some advantage from being shacked up, but not from being monogamous. As Ophiolite has already pointed out.

In addition, those advantages are short term. you appear to be approaching this purely from the perspective of having children, but the fact is there are increasing numbers of people who choose not to - whether in a relationship or not.

There is no clear evidence at all that monogamy played any part in evolution whatsoever - in fact, especially in the male case, the opposite is actually true. I'd go so far as to say that there is no clear evidence that monogamy didn't play a part in evolution because people aren't monogamous. Never. Have. Been.
It's taken some fairly strong social controls in the past to ensure as many as possible were, and even then folk got around.

I rather thought that was my original question, a few posts ago.

Required to by law? Law is a purely social construct.
They aren't, by the way, other than in the form of maintenance. But even that doesn't get play in some cases. A lot of women prefer to go it alone if the father isn't interested. Increasing numbers are preferring to go it alone even when he is.

Look, you're really going to have to take some time out and figure out the difference between pair-bonding and monogamy. You're confusing yourself.

It's a fact that children will always do well in two parent households, is it?
Dear me.

I didn't say it was no longer viable; I said it wasn't necessary. I don't feel any particular need to go to one extreme or the other; if you want to be monogamous, whatever's your bag. Perhaps you should take some time and have a look; it's y'all getting your knickers in a knot over feeling cheated if your partner isn't.
That's a least partially the result of some fairly long term social engineering.

Haven't met one yet I'd want to do that with, no. Like I said, it isn't a matter of twenty or thirty years anymore. It's more like 60 or seventy. It's a whole new ballgame, and again as Ophiolite pointed out, that's one os the reasons for "serial monogamy". Or at least serial pair bonding; I'm sure we don't want to go too far into studies on how many people cheat. Nearly all of them hover around the 40-60 percent mark, and even allowing for a dishonesty that's fairly significant.

But if we're going into the personal, it seems to me that the defensiveness and feelings of being "cheated" tend to be on the other side. As per the above. You're the ones talking about emotional responses. Feeling cheated is personal.

Well, ok. Make your mind up then.

Well, on that you're just flat out wrong.
It's pretty much accepted that it's men who have the most to benefit from spreading it around. Scientifically, that is. Women, too, but they don't want to get caught. Better the man thinks they're his.

On another note, the thread topic was "When is infidelity allowed".
If you're going to make noise about approaching it from a purely scientific perspective (which you haven't, until it got a little too inconvenient) then the thread title alone should have given you an idea as to what direction it was going to take.
You don't get to say it's one or the other only when it suits you. Particularly not when I sought clarification on that several posts ago.

See, now you're going down those extreme paths again. Somebody says they don't particularly feel monogamy is worthwhile (particularly over the kind of time frames we're looking at these days) and you automatically assume they're going to leave babies on a doorstep or something. That's what they call a strawman.

Your'e not arguing your point at all, you're just being defensive.

Seem to have gotten along fine without mine for a few decades now. Along with a lot of other people.

Maybe there are a few other things we can get along without if we choose to?

Only bits of it. Tedious little piece of work.
But you're going to have to do better than that.

9. ### RetributionBannedBanned

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Well you're an angry one. Someone done you wrong, huh?

I find it a little bemusing that you can sit there and say something like "because you can't speak for everyone nature" as if that wasn't exactly what the moral brigade have been trying to do.
Or that you're effectively equating infidelity with murder and rape.

10. ### birchValued Senior Member

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Stop skirting then. Infidelity requires cheating as in lying and deception. Please dont tell me thats what you are trying to defend then. Lmao

Also, want even evidence that polygamy is not so good according to nature? Std's. Why did nature make those which make you sterile and then kill you?? It even often passes to offspring to kill them too. Think on it. If it wasnt for modern medicine a lot of slutty people would be dead but thats a whole nother can of worms. Besides the fact you cant really develop deep and meaningful connections by flitting around with hookups which are shallow. What can you build except a momentary physical release and getting someone pregnant or becoming pregnant by someone who is not invested or not going to be there? Im sure there will be more excuses because some people find it an annoying step to be considerate or care even a bit to another being and just do what they want while decieving another. Is there a problem with honesty?
Lmfao

Last edited: May 25, 2016
11. ### wellwisherBannedBanned

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Infidelity, is allowed if one is not in any meaningful relationship; lone wolf. As soon as there is a meeting of the minds and/or hearts between two people, then it is not allowed.

Typically, infidelity is defined in the context of a relationship, so the loan wolf clause, may not seem to apply. However, there are situations where one person reads more into a relationship that the other, so there is no mutual meeting of the minds and hearts. In that respect, they form a one sided relationship, and not a two person relationship. The result is one person may call this infidelity, and the other will not. In this case, I tend to view this in favor of the lone wolf, since emotional black mail is not the basis for a contract.

The loan wolf technicality is why in many cultural traditions, marriage and engagements are formal announcements and events so there is no question, if someone tries to use the lone wolf defense. Among the youth, there are other public contract gestures, such as wearing someone else's class ring or wearing a letter coat (this may be retro), that show a contract between two people. It is not as formal as marriage but infidelity will still apply.

For infidelity to allowed, one has to dissolve the contract first, so the other person does not get blind sided. That is the honest thing to do and prevents one-sided relationship. However, many people, who want to cheat, like to have a fall back option and will keep the contract open, until they are ready to leave. This is infidelity. In this cases, although it is one side, privately, it publicly displayed as two sided.

12. ### RetributionBannedBanned

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I'm not really skirting anything, Birch. If you want me to address the ethical aspects of cheating, then simply ask. So far, I've been mostly talking about the reasons for it and challenging some assumptions, not the consequences.
Which is all you're on about here - ethical consequences. Still, I suppose this is the ethics forum, right? So fair enough, you're entitled to press, I suppose.

Ethics are driven by society which is driven by evolution. They are a set of guidelines, some enforced by law and others merely by convention, which define how members of that society should conduct themselves in order to aim for the greatest benefit to that society in order to ensure its survival.
The important thing to consider, however, is that they are mutable. The ethics of a society change over time in line with its requirements. Not only do they change over time, but they also vary considerably on a regional basis.

Muslim men, and those from many African societies, are permitted to have multiple wives. There's one instance in which a man having sex with multiple partners wouldn't be considered "infidelity" by any means.
On the flip side, amongst the Nepalese, several brothers might find themselves sharing one wife.
In Niger, there exists a tribe called the Wodaabee - where in one particular ceremony, if you can manage to impress another man's wife and actually get away with stealing her that night, then she's yours.
And then, there's the Trobriand Islanders. Go have a read.

These are just some examples.

Point is, you only feel cheated because in your society, infidelity is regarded as "cheating". You've been raised that way. The word cheating itself has a negative connotation because you believe it does. And that's why it involves lying and deception in western society (well, not always, but most often).. because, in fact, most people who engage in extramarital relations of whatever actually don't want to hurt their partners, as well as not wanting to give up the relationship.

At the very least, ethics are assigned with a degree of importance based upon the requirements of that society... whatever works at the time. Fidelity, for a long time, did have it's advantages (although in saying that, we once again come around to the difference between fidelity (or monogamy) and pair-bonding). Now, however, there are several shifts in social fabric and it is no longer considered the huge no-no it once was.

Returning to the subject of female liberation, you noted above "if it wasn't for modern medicine", which has a lot more importance than you seem to realise.

This goes back to the shift in moral attitudes based on the tenets of society... or, to simplify it, what worked then, what works now, and what is no longer necessary.
Ethics have never managed to stamp out infidelity. Even in those socities where it might mean death (particularly for women) it still happens. They have, at best, limited the practice of it, in terms of incidence - again, overwhelmingly, on the part of women. One might even argue, in fact, that morality-driven ethical considerations are the entire reason it's regarded as "cheating" in the first place... it wouldn't be necessary to lie and deceive in the first place, if society hadn't deemed it to be unethical. chicken or egg scenario. I haven't been skirting around the consequences of fidelity, Birch. I just don't really consider them important in terms of the argument surrounding infidelity itself. They are not a cause.

There seem to be few who realise just how important, how much of a game changer, birth control was in the twentieth century. It resulted in the sexual liberation of women on an unprecedented scale (in terms of our own society). In purely social terms, it was one of the most important development in centuries.
Women are now more free than they have ever been in sexual terms, to have sex at all. One vital consequence - pregnancy - has been largely removed from the equation. As a result, society has changed. Whereas once the practical consequences of infidelity were more a social consideration for a woman than for a man (you going to argue that too?), society has now shifted perception of it to being more one of all sides being equal. A subtle, but obvious, shift in morality.

We're also seeing other changes. Shorter term marriages. Women waiting longer. People not getting married at all. We've covered all of this.
All ethical shifts based on changes society.

The thing about social change, though, is that is doesn't happen overnight. There will always be bumps on the road. Personally, I believe the serial monogamy thing is a bit of a short term (I'm using "short term" in a loose sense here) ethical compromise while the equality between the sexes is being hashed out... it takes quite a while for people to start to disbelieve in things they've always been taught to believe.
Like slavery. That was normal once, you know, and not considered unethical at all. Social requirements, you see. A lot of societies might never have gotten off the ground without it, and now it isn't needed anymore, it's no longer ethical.

Oh, and as an aside? There is a slight shift at work right now you might not be aware of.
Young women in recent years seem to be becoming more promiscuous than men. Keep an eye on that.

"Nature", Birch, isn't geared toward the safety and survival of humanity. Evolution is not a thinking entity designed to make life easier for humans... or to punish them. Viruses and bacterium are reasonably successful organisms which operate under the same evolutionary "rules" as everything else on the planet. There are no guarantees some super bug isn't going to come along someday to make AIDS look like the common cold.
So far, though, in spite of all that fucking around (perhaps even because of it?), nothing has managed to wipe us out yet. Even AIDS didn't didn't even come close to having as much impact as, say, various forms of the plague did... for nearly a thousand years. But the Plague wasn't the result of infidelity.

What, you think disease is the vengeful hand of god or something? It isn't. It's (put simply in terms of ethics) a potential consequence... one which, mind you, doesn't have even nearly the same potential consequences as driving your car might.

You're also drifting more toward the topic of promiscuity as opposed to infidelity.
Are STD's a potential consequence of infidelity and promiscuity? Yes.
I'd hardly use them as a reason not to to sleep around, though. When we're talking infidelity, we're not talking hooking up with strangers at a nightclub, are we? STD's, when they are a consequence at all, most often are the result of promiscuity, not necessarily infidelity. Most infidelity occurs maybe once or twice in a person's lifetime, in most cases. Also, again in most cases, it doesn't happen with complete strangers, or casual hookups. Most affairs occur in the workplace, as a result of long term connections, not in nightclubs and seedy bars. A rare few have multiple partners outside of a relationship - although even that is beginning to change, particularly on the female side.

It's obvious you link infidelity with promiscuity in your mind, when in fact that is most often not the case at all. You're the one trying to introduce that, largely due to your own perception.

And... quit with the LMAO's. If there is one thing absolutely clear in your... arguments, it's that you are not laughing. It sounds a little desperate.

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Bonobos.

14. ### RetributionBannedBanned

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Are another argument for the evolutionary "yea", but go toward promiscuity more than infidelity.

Although I suppose from a purely evolutionary perspective, there isn't as much a difference as there is in the ethical?
Haven't really thought that through.

15. ### iceauraValued Senior Member

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In early WWII England, in preparation for an anticipated German assault, the national government set up a blood banking and transfusion system for the civilian population. One of the aspects of that was a blood type survey - so the likely need for various types in various localities could be anticipated, rhesus factor distribution could be mapped, etc.

Along the way, they discovered that it was necessary to type the children - that typing only the official fathers and mothers, which would have been cheaper and easier (military records, hospital records from childbirth, etc), did not yield statistically accurate enough results for the purpose.

IIRC the discoverers of this carefully drew no conclusions, except to recommend that blood type not be a public record, and that all children be typed before transfusion regardless of official parentage (that, for example, a child of two O negative parents not be assumed to be either type O or - critically - Rh negative).

Somebody pointed out that sexual dimorphism in size among humans indicates biological polygamy. It is also true that the testical/body size ratio in human males (and other physiological features) indicates biological polyandry - internal sperm competition. And there is the overwhelmingly obvious factor of male teamwork in child raising - a human male will share food on demand with a child not his own, in even normal circumstances, automatically. Human males are the kindest to strange children of any adult mammalian males on the planet - bonobos are their only rivals - and some advantages to the species are clear, but not to the individual. The presumption that there is a Darwinian basis for this seems likely, and uncertainty in fatherhood is an obvious first factor to check out.

A second would be the unusual nature of human male teamwork - not as a group of non-breeding males wandering, but as part of a stable breeding pack. We don't just pairbond - we pack bond. Wolves and the like do that by restricting breeding to a chosen male and chosen female or two, so the rest of the males gain cooperation advantage by obtaining a place in line - a shot at becoming that chosen male, or failing that starting a pack of ones own. Humans somehow do it as a coherent pack of breeding males and breeding females, and it's very important (for the children, especially) that this pack not splinter into pair bonds. So what holds it together - in evolutionary time?

Last edited: May 26, 2016
16. ### BellsStaff Member

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Actually, it is quite well recognised.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/79235-impact-extramarital-affairs-family-members/

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/...-cause-lasting-damage-to-children.html?pg=all

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15267431.2014.980824?src=recsys

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01926180701236258

Interestingly, the damage can occur even if the child is not made aware of the infidelity.

Children suffer when their parents engage in extramarital affairs, even when the parents succeed in keeping the affairs secret, therapists and sociologists are finding.

While an affair is taking place children sense that the parent is expending emotional energy outside the family, the specialists say. As a result, the children may become anxious or frightened, or they may sense rejection and feel they must have have done something wrong.

Moreover, experts found that such children are prone to have affairs themselves when they marry.

The common assumption has been that unless a marriage is in jeopardy, a discreet affair has little if any impact on a child. But increasing clinical evidence and a recent study suggest that the subtle changes in an adulterous parent's behavior can unsettle children, regardless of whether the truth leaks out and even if the children are too young to understand what is happening. Increase in Adultery Seen

These observations and findings are among the first to assess the impact an affair can have on children. Indeed, few reliable statistics exist on the number of married people who commit adultery.

Annette Lawson, a sociologist affiliated with the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Stanford University, said various studies suggest adultery has been increasing, with 25 to 50 percent of married women and 50 to 65 percent of married men now having at least one liaison at some time in a marriage.

In her own study, Dr. Lawson found evidence to bolster the view that adultery is often used as a form of rebellion or as a way to enliven an otherwise pallid or frustrated life.

The findings that children are unsettled by extramarital affairs represent only part of her research, which involved 600 questionnaires and 100 personal interviews in England from 1981 to 1983. Some data from the study were published last September in The British Journal of Sociology. Additional findings were published in in November the United States in the book ''Adultery'' (Basic Books, $19.95). Clinicians say that in the past the impact on children was all but overlooked. But interest in this field is increasing among clinicians, Dr. Weiner said, because of the new focus in therapy on the family as a unit in which the actions of one affect the behavior of everybody in the family. Further material has been compiled recently by Frank Pittman, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Emory University in Atlanta. Dr. Pittman's findings were based on a 30-year family therapy practice in Atlanta, where he counseled more than 1,000 adults, and were published in January in the book ''Private Lies'' (W. W. Norton,$18.95).

All these experts found that an adult having an affair becomes so swept up in personal needs that that parent seems incapable of focusing on the potential effect on the child.

[...]

Dr. Pittman said small children in such situations ''tend to exhibit anxiety symptoms, with clinging, bed-wetting, thumb-sucking, fire-setting, temper tantrums, night terrors - in fact, anything that seems an appropriate response to the fear that their family is about to be wiped out.''

Older children, who may feel angry or betrayed when they find out that a parent is having an affair, may respond by acting out.

Parental affairs can also become the training ground for a child's adult behavior.

''Even though they may swear they will never do the same,'' Dr. Lawson noted, ''it appears to become a patterned reponse learned in childhood.'' A Family Tradition

In instances where a father boasts about his relationships to a teen-age son - as many do, her sampling showed - she found philandering taking on the overtones of a family tradition.

By contrast, the researchers reported, a girl who is aware of her father's behavior seems to grow up angry at men and unsure of her relationships with them.

When the mother is having an affair, the therapists said they detected a different reaction in children. Because the mother is still most often considered the focus of the family, a child who learns of an affair is in danger of losing confidence in the viability of marriage and family.

But even if the affair is exposed, Dr. Pittman said the trauma for children can be eased if the parents are sufficiently in control of their own emotions to explain to the child that ''these things should not happen, but do happen and can be survived.'' A Child's 'Awful Secret'

For a child, the worst thing a parent can do in an affair is to ask a child to keep the affair a secret from the other parent if the child has found out, Dr. Pittman said.

''It's like incest,'' he added. ''The child is forced to carry an awful secret and is alienated from the other parent.'' A willful adolescent, he said, may blackmail the adulterous parent as a result, and grow out of control.

The researchers counsel parents involved in extramarital relations to pay strong attention to their children so they will not feel rejected. If there is a confrontation with the other spouse or a child discovers the truth, the researchers advise an explanation and an apology.

The Daily Mail (yes, I know) also had an article a while ago, a write up, if you will, on several books on the matter and contained interviews with specialists and experts who have conducted studies on the effect cheating has on children. The books themselves are quite interesting.

17. ### OphioliteValued Senior Member

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I am discussing the biology, not the sociology. I am discussing the activities, not the ethics. Consequently I find your detailed post tangential.

18. ### BellsStaff Member

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Biologically speaking, a child damaged from their parents infidelity have been found to suffer from trust issues, which will affect their being able to form a bond or a relationship with another person and this will affect their having children, which I would say is pretty well connected to a biological impact. To wit, evolution is affected by our choices. And our choices affect our children. At times quite negatively. The sociological affects you just dismissed can have a profound effect on biology itself, in that children who find out about their parents infidelity may choose to not have children, especially if they feel they may have inherited the parent's propensity to cheat.

19. ### BellsStaff Member

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Hmmm I'll respond to Retribution (cough), and I am sure to your subsequent responses, later. I'm having net issues at present.

20. ### OphioliteValued Senior Member

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I may be misreading the sub-text completely, but I hear a judgement being made about infidelity. I am not discussing the ethical issues.

We didn't evolve our instincts in an environment that afforded us the luxury of suffering trust issues. The evidence that what we are calling infidelity in this thread has survival value is that it remains commonplace. No amount of data demonstrating the negative aspects can alter that. It does not matter how you, or I, or Reginald Turnbull think of it, it appears to be a successful biological strategy.

21. ### Jan ArdenaValued Senior Member

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That was an excellent talk.

jan.

22. ### RetributionBannedBanned

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With respect to Bell's article on the "trust issues", it's what I've already mentioned above what I said above - different societies have different viewpoints on things.

Some Native American tribes were known to raise their children in a communal environment where it was often not known for sure who the father even was, in some instances. At the very least, children were sometimes the responsibility of the tribe and the mother rather than the father or a designated two-parent family unit. While it is not documented whether or not they had "trust issues" as a result, my guess would be not - simply because their society did not have anything put in place to teach them that they should have. Imagine that.
But these folks will continue to throw up examples only from their own particular societies. Apparently other societies don't matter much.

All that article does is "prove" that children might grow up less adjusted if their particular social situation isn't what they are bought up to believe it should be. It doesn't speak directly to infidelity. it speaks to a myriad of social situations in which the child is brought up to believe that their own situation is an aberration.

Take the following, as an example:
"In instances where a father boasts about his relationships to a teen-age son - as many do, her sampling showed - she found philandering taking on the overtones of a family tradition.:
Well, duh. I've just spent considerable amounts of time saying that many children are largely going to grow up to believe exactly what they're supposed to.

And then
"By contrast, the researchers reported, a girl who is aware of her father's behavior seems to grow up angry at men and unsure of her relationships with them."
No mention of the mother's role in that. Biased, much? Again, duh... if mum says philandering is bad and dad goes and does it, then of course female child is going to be a bit disenchanted and confused.

Any stats on those situations in which a child is brought up in an environment in which adultery is considered at least partially ok? Are all kids who grow up in single parent kids therefore fucked up? confused? Have affairs?
Nope. But let's ignore all that. Doesn't fit the hypothesis.

I like this bit:
"What emerges, particularly from the clinical material, is a picture of children growing apprehensive over the sudden inattentiveness of a parent or telephone conversations behind closed doors in whispered tones. All these exclude the child from the usual comforting explanations about family activities and events."
Because that can't ever have anything to do with Auntie Dot telling the fam to go fuck themselves because she's tired of their moralizing.
Or Uncle Milat going to jail on the back of some heinous shit he's done.

Nope. Thats those kids somehow "sensing" there's been some adultery going on, and they aren't in the loop.

If you're brought up in a household where your father whales on your arse, and then watch TV shows involving the Huxtables, then yes, you're probably going to have some issues.
If you're brought up in a gay household, then yes, you might have some issues (too soon to tell as yet).
If you're brought up in a household where mom and dad don't get on, but stay together for the good of the children, again, you might grow up with issues. Particularly in light of Bell's little article, because that is sure as shit going to cause some friction in those sensitive little kids.

If you read through that article carefully, it doesn't seem to mention whether or not any other factors were in play at all.
It seems to me that they simply took a few families in which the parents had had an affair (which, by their own admission, is about half the world), and determined from that how many children had trust issues. Not exactly comprehensive. Not exactly good scientific method.

Hell, are we paying for this rubbish? I bloody well hope not. Maybe if we threw them some more money, they'd do it more comprehensively instead of just matching the data to their own conclusions?

Children will grow up in a certain environment, and react to digressions in that environment accordingly. This doesn't have anything to do with infidelity as a concept in and of itself.
This sort of thing doesn't speak to either the evolutionary or ethical aspect, unless you take into one factor - absolute morality. That old chestnut.

There are all sorts of reasons children don't do well growing into adulthood that have to do with family or social situations.
That the article mentions that children growing up in that environment even when they don't know its specifically an affair they're reacting to should have been a subtle clue....but no, these "researchers" chose to justify that in their own terms... to whit, using it as evidence of a point when it really only might be. In some cases. They're simply fitting the facts to a hypothesis, rather than the other way around.

... I always do wonder a bit about all those statistics claiming women have less affairs than men. Apart from the evidence that that is changing (at least statistically). What was it, in that article? 20-50% of women and 50-60% of men?
Numbers don't really work, do they. There are a few hypothicals you can take away from that:

1. The women are lying.
2. The men are lying.
3. The married men are having affairs mostly with unmarried women.
4. Unmarried women don't think too much of the "sanctity of marriage" (assuming #3)
5. The married women are having affairs mostly with married men.
6. Those women having affairs are gettin' around, yo. I mean seriously, from those stats you'd have to reach the conclusion that a fair proportion of those men are all having affairs with the same few women.

* not mathematically pure, I know. But hey, if we're allowed to present slipshod research and fitting fact to hypotheses, then I can play too!... right?

23. ### RetributionBannedBanned

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What happened to Trooper anyway? They run her off too? And the other one... Tali-89, or something.