No woman wants a Spencer Matthews-style love rat for a man..

Reality television must be one of our ultimate guilty pleasures. We love the drama, the love triangles and the clearly staged fight scenes with someone inevitably getting a glass of Moet thrown in their face, or Lambrini in the case of TOWIE.

The cast of ITV2's "TOWIE". Photo: Reveal Magazine

The cast of ITV2′s “TOWIE”. Photo: Reveal Magazine

We love to hate them, and we hate no one more than the signature love rat. Spencer Matthews, Alex Mytton, I’m looking at you. As the most stand out story lines recently seem to involve cheating, it occurred to me that perhaps these shows aren’t that distant from ‘real life’ after all. It’s been the same, too, in soap operas since forever. Remember when Max cheated on Tanya with Stacey in EastEnders!? Nah, me neither.

It’s beginning to seem like cheating is a part of life, and the cause of this seems to be the depreciation of the value of commitment. As a result it’s becoming ever harder to find a serious long lasting relationship. The drama that unfolds onscreen lately is surprisingly familiar, and I’m sure hits home for all too many girls sitting on their sofa in a onesie looking for the cure to a broken heart at the bottom of a bucket of Ben and Jerry’s, watching Binky Felstead take back her cheating boyfriend for the sixtieth time on Made In Chelsea. To a young woman these days (or man of course!) it’s impossible to count the number of times we hear the phrase; ‘we’re not in a relationship we’re just seeing each other’, or ‘it’s not a date we’re just hanging out’. Great.

This apparent fear of commitment is a sign of the times, a societal shift; with increased sexual liberation and the social acceptability of one night stands has come a reduction in the value of commitment and monogamy. As I’m sure your mother told you, they’re not going to buy the cow when they can get the milk for free. In a world where one night stands are the norm amongst some of society, and the aftermath often the feature storyline in reality TV dramatics, why would you put in the effort to take a girl or guy on a date or to begin a relationship, when many have the perception that you can go to a nightclub and find the reward far more easily.

What used to be much more of a big deal and far less common, one night stands are now becoming the norm; in a survey of over 1000 women carried out in 2010 revealed that 48% of women between 20 and 29 had had a one night stand.

In this twenty first century world where we have everything on tap, internet access, fast food, and even sex, maybe the problem is that we’re spoilt. We have to have it all, have to have the best in every aspect of our lives and these unrealistic expectations are taking its toll on our societal values. Perhaps we’re favouring one night stands over commitment because of the unreasonably high expectations we have of dating and relationships. This is not exclusive to young people either. Katie Figes, a writer on relationships, discussing marital infidelity describes how ‘over the past few decades, we’ve come to expect far more of marriage. Our husbands and wives now need to be not only our best friends, intellectual equals and co-parents but also sexual ‘athletes’’’.

This phenomenon has resulted in a general attitude that you ‘jump ship’ as soon as the idyllic honeymoon period is over, all too often before you’ve ended the existing relationship, that’s if you’ve managed to place enough value on the non-sexual aspects of a relationship enough in order to form one in the first place. Figes writes on infidelity that it ‘appears to be so common in Britain today that it’s now more likely than not to occur at some point in a long relationship’.

I’m not being a drama queen, nor a bitter old feminist, and despite my cynicism, I’m not a total advocator of the ‘romance is dead’ theory. Whilst it can’t be said for sure that we as a society favour one night stands and casual sex above monogamy in relationships, or whether this is necessarily a negative change, what is certain is that what no woman wants is a Spencer Matthews style love rat for a man, whether for a boyfriend or a one night stand.

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