I think he is cheating on me!” N exclaimed, as she stormed into the bar I was waiting for her at, late by only an hour. She dramatically plopped on a stool next to me, waved at a waiter and ordered a stiff drink. “That bastard!” She started blabbering about all those signs that couples are never looking for, but are always aware of. “I never check his messages,” she said, “but I knew he was sexting with someone.” “How did you know that without going through his messages?” I asked. She said she knew it inside her that he was fucking someone else. She knew it – again, “inside” her – that he was sexting late into the nights. I couldn’t argue with her intuitive innards, and so, I asked something that always shocks people around me – “Why does it matter?”

Let’s get something straight: I don’t think committing to having sex with only one person forever is a healthy choice. Now, let’s get realistic and say that a healthy goal for a relationship can be something between 20-30 years (I am sure there are couples who have lasted longer and lesser). So, are you trying to tell me that for 30 years, your partner will be the ONLY person you will be physically attracted to? Unless they look like Chris Hemsworth or Penelope Cruz, I am not buying your bullshit. Which means, you do get attracted to other people, but decide not to act upon it? And that is because monogamy and sexual exclusivity is one of the primary (if not, sometimes, the only) tenets of what a marriage is supposed to be. Sex is seen as the ultimate manifestation of intimacy, union and dedicating ourselves to each other. We “belong” to each other.

Fast forward to 2018 and sex is not exactly that anymore. Most of us have had a string of sexual experiences before we get married, so, I don’t think it is possible for us to have “belonged” to everyone we have been with. Sex is a pleasurable experience, a fantastic, mind-blowing experience, but contained in a singular no-strings-attached moment – and that’s that. Sex does not have to mean anything more than what it is. And that is exactly why the rules of relationships have changed today. Couples are not happy with sexual exclusivity as the primary parameter for a satisfying relationship. Unlike the previous generation, we demand compromise from both parties, compatibility, intelligence, economic equality, good taste, exciting weekend plans, adventurous holidays, social media blue ticks and current affairs awareness. I-amnot-having-sexwith-anybodyelse isn’t the only reason to keep a ring on the finger anymore. Couples take pride in checking people out together, they get on Tinder these days, buy sex toys, have threesomes, and are always excited to explore something new.

I know a few married couples who can get beyond petty jealousy and actually thrive in a healthy open relationship. While they are not necessarily boning random strangers all the time (because, evidently, they are outrageously attracted to each other), they also allow each other space, such that if, there is a sudden spark with someone, they are free to explore it. For me, this is the biggest example of trust and faith in your partner. You don’t allow your relationship to be defined by sexual attraction alone. You say that your chemistry and connection is more than just physical attraction. You are attracted to each other’s minds, their intelligence, their sense of humour and a bundle of other things that make them who they are much more than their pecs and abs. Which is why, you don’t mind it if they have a fling with someone else because at that moment, they were physically attracted to someone else, which is, by the way absolutely normal human behaviour.

People are always extremely afraid to lose their loved ones to other people. I feel that comes from a deeply ingrained sense of insecurity because you believe you are not the best your partner can get. You believe there is someone better out there for him/her. Now, there are two ways of looking at this: One, yes, there can be a million people better than you, but you are the exact combination of good, bad and ugly that your partner is looking for, and two, if your partner really wants someone who is better or different from you, he/she will move on anyway and holding on to them and becoming miserable together is not what a marriage is supposed to be. And if your partner is someone who flies off with the next person he/she has sex with, is that really someone you want to be with? Is sex the only glue in your marriage? And what happens tomorrow when your ass sags? What is going to keep them at home with you?

So, invest in a trusting, generous and healthy relationship. And yes, the cardinal rule to sleeping with other people is to always tell your spouse about it. It’s dishonesty if you are not – it’s fucking sexy if you are, because, who knows what possibilities await you when you get home tonight.