Recently, a friend of mine noticed a jewelry box in the apartment of the guy she had been seeing. When she asked him why he had a jewelry box, he fumbled over his words and finally admitted that it was his girlfriend’s. That same night, I went out with a new interest. This boy was the total package, but I quickly found out the following day that package had already been signed for. He, too, had a girlfriend that had conveniently never been mentioned in our many conversations.
These incidents raised a few questions for me:
- 1. Where are these dudes’ girlfriends?
- 2. Is everyone cheating?
- 3. Do monogamous relationships in the traditional sense exist anymore?
When thinking about these two incidents, I was reminded of the long list of guys and girls I know who have cheated on their significant others, including the married ones. It seems to me that so many people rationalize their devious actions with the same justification: if the infidelity didn’t affect their relationship, what was the harm?
To me, the harm is the basic dishonesty of the action. When two people decide to see each other exclusively, live together, or even get married, these two people are also deciding that during that period of time they won’t be s(l)ee(p)ing (with) anyone else. If this is the general understanding, then why is cheating so common and so generally accepted?
Is one person not enough for us anymore? Are our minds too accustomed to overstimulation and change on such a regular basis now that committing to one person just won’t cut it? Or, rather, is cheating the new way of saying “I love you”?
Despite the fact that it seems like people are cheating left and right, their actions aren’t necessarily leading to break-ups or divorces. Rather, sometimes cheating makes these relationships stronger. Some would say the person cheating is merely expressing desire for a temporary satisfaction whereas the relationship they’ve committed to is satisfying a more internal, honest, lasting desire. By acting on impulsive needs without breaking their commitment, are these cheaters reinforcing their dedication to their loved ones?
On this same note, though, I once had a boyfriend who cheated on me and explained it by saying, “I wanted to sleep with her then, but I want to love you forever.” That argument did not fly with me and we broke up not long after, but maybe there are people out there who feel reaffirmation in their relationships through cheating or being cheated on. Or maybe it’s as terrible as it always has been and we’re simply becoming desensitized to wrongdoings and feelings of guilt in general.
Whatever the reason, cheating seems to be nearly a necessary step in a relationship nowadays, as important as a first date or meeting the parents. It’s a test of devotion that somehow brings a couple closer or ends the relationship for good. I’m skeptical now of couples who claim to be 100% faithful, but maybe I’m just as jaded as the rest of the cheaters.