I’ve never thoroughly understood cheating. I have NEVER, EVER cheated. EVER. I just don’t get it. Even when my ex-husband and I split I never so much as went on a date or kissed another guy until after our divorce was finalized (which took almost a year), but that might be a bit extreme for some people. Not that I am at all claiming to be perfect and flawless in my own personal relationships, I have been with men who were not completely single (seperated but not yet divorced, in an ‘its complicated’ type relationship, etc.) and have immaturely justified it as “I’m not the one breaking any promises!”
I get that the idea of being with the same person for like 500 years is not appealing to some people, and maybe not a completely practical expectation in today’s society. But, that means you have to cheat? Be sneaky? Live a double life? Why can’t you just be HONEST? Obvious to some, but I just had an epiphany – cheating seems to be a sign of weakness! Too weak to just open your mouth and say – This isn’t working for me. Why is admitting that so scary? Why is it better to pretend, lie, deceive and risk hurting another person or people? Just open your mouth and say This isn’t working for me and then either work with your partner on making it work, or move on! Yes, I know the moving on one can get complicated by children and marriage. But, if those things are involved, if you’ve made promises and vows – STOP breaking them and work on the relationship you’ve made a commitment to!
I do believe there are different levels of cheating. Is cheating on somebody you’re just dating as bad as cheating on somebody you are married to and have children with? In my eyes – no. BUT – that is even more reason why you shouldn’t be cheating in the first place and should just be honest! A dating situation is EASY to get out of, no matter how many lame excuses you come up with for why its not – that’s just you being a passive-agressive chicken shit! If you are already unhappy and unsatisfied and you’re not even sharing an underwear drawer or banking account – what are you doing??? I also can kinda, sorta understand the one drunken night cheat a lot more than the affair. The first one can be a lapse in judgment and a total lack of self-control, but I do think couples can get past it. An affair, however, is not an accident. An affair is not a mistake. An affair is a concerted effort to go out of your way to have an intimate – either emotionally, physically or both – relationship with another person besides the person you are committed to. If there was a ladder of worst – having a long-term affair while married would be on the very top rung for me!
For some people there are alternatives. Serial Monogamy, whereas you promise to be faithful to one another but that when the relationship runs its course, it runs its course and you’re not under any delusions of it lasting “til death do us part.” With the trend of marriage, divorce, marriage, divorce however, some people practice Serial Monogamy without being intentional about it, trying to convince themselves that THIS TIME its forever. Another option is open relationships or open marriages, where you are both allowed to date or be intimate with other people within boundaries that you’ve mutually set up. This would NEVER work for me, but for some people it does. The point is to BE HONEST with everyone involved. I got hit up by a few men in “polyamorous” marriages when I was on an online dating website. I told them right away that wasn’t for me – that I am not one that would be ok with sharing – but I was appreciative that they were upfront and honest! I know people who are swingers – which I could never do either, but the point is that I don’t judge them and respect them for at least living their lives honestly!
I am going to talk to the guys here, since I am a woman who has dealt with this while dating men. If you are married or in a relationship where you have promised monogamy there are numerous things you should NOT be doing behind your wife, girlfriend or partner’s back. Here are a few:
Having a profile on a dating website or on numerous dating websites
meeting for coffee, drinks, dinner or anything else with someone you’re attracted to and whom you have not told you are married or whom you would not introduce to your wife
grabbing your “friend’s” ass or boobs, kissing on her, or telling her how sexy she is when your significant other is out of sight/ear shot
sexting of any kind
having secret accounts other than the ones your significant other knows about (i.e. a 2nd secret facebook, twitter, email….)
telling anyone you are single when you’re not
excessively flirting with co-workers, waitresses and any other woman who crosses your path – save some of those compliments for your wife!
It is even easier to cheat nowadays. There are entire industries built around it. I hear advertisements for agencies that specifically cater to married people who want to cheat. Social media makes it so you can easily meet and connect with people all over the world, sometimes having “emotional” affairs with people you’ll never even meet in person. When I was a teenager I had a friend who was an “escort” and so I know that men have been cheating long before this technology came around, that they’ll go out of their way to do it and even pay good money for discretion. But I still don’t get it. And I am especially perplexed when they claim they’re happy in their relationships and don’t want to leave – they just enjoy the thrill of the chase or whatever?! Ok….so court your girlfriend/wife some more, take her to a dingy hotel to “hook up.” My ex and I used to sometimes pretend like we had just met and were just getting to know each other – because after a few years that newness does wear off. It was kind of corny but kind of fun at the same time! Don’t go rush out to seek that newness or that passion somewhere else though if you truly care about the person you’re with – seek to reignite it with the one who is already by your side!!!!!