Tender is the Night

dick diver and infidelity

why does dick cheat with rosemary?

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Dick has a history of cheating, but specific to Rosemary is that his relationship with her is reminiscent of his early years with Nicole.

Dick cheats with Rosemary because of his perverted fascination with youth, beauty and innocence, which were qualities of great importance during the Jazz Age. He married Nicole as a young, fresh girl, and as Dick spirals further into his personal decline, his obsession with this virginal innocence becomes more evident. His relationship with Hollywood starlet, Rosemary Hoyt, is similar to his previous relations with Nicole, Devereux Warren's incestuous relations with Nicole, and Dick's attraction to the youthful beauty of his own daughter, Topsy. Having slept with Rosemary, her innocence is lost, and Dick's interest in her with it. Following this he moves on to admiring other young girls, which eventually borders on paedophilia.

Dick has lowered his standards. He knows Rosemary has slept with 640 men which is a lot at 23. He still participates in becoming number 641 which is decadent as he knows the sex is not accompanied by any true intimacy. He may as well be riding a horse. The innocent Rosemary who admired him is now just a silly, immature girl. This change of perspective from Rosemary signifies his destruction.