Before I delve into the article, let me just clarify a few things — no, I have not cheated on anyone; no, I do not plan to ever cheat on anyone; and no, I have not been cheated on. Cheating on someone else makes you a terrible person — temporarily; but it does not mean that you are a terrible person. People have told me situations where someone cheated on someone else and wound up spending years or decades with the new person, even marrying them. I’ve also heard the topic brought up in conversation about whether or not the person who cheated was wrong; the logic being, they found the one they were supposed to be with, they were just with someone else at the time.
The way I figure it is stated above: cheating does not mean you are a terrible person, but it does make you a terrible person, temporarily. I believe that an exclusive relationship — be it one that is a week old, a year old, three years old or nine years old — is sacred; not as sacred as marriage, but sacred, nonetheless. You are committing to each other, and cheating violates that trust and promise. And that’s why cheating makes you a terrible person, for the moment.
Now, if you continue to live your life cheating on everyone you’re with, then you probably are a terrible person. If you cheat on your husband or wife and abandon your children, then you probably are a terrible person. In most cases, if cheating was a one-time thing and, as stated, you spent years with “the other” person; your credibility is restored over time. This is also why I don’t buy into the “once a cheater, always a cheater” theory. Yes, if someone cheats, it means they are capable of cheating again; but it’s not fair to classify them as a cheater for the rest of their life.
The reason cheating makes you a terrible person is because either you didn’t think of your significant other’s feelings or you simply didn’t care. Cheating is a selfish act and is inexcusable. If you meet someone else and start developing feelings for them, end your current relationship before pursuing that route. And when I say “start developing feelings,” this could be something as simple as smiling at each other back-and-forth all day at work.
Don’t keep the one you’re with stringing along while you feel out this new option (figuratively or literally) to see what it can be and then weave your way through both relationships before finally cutting your (original) significant other out.
People are not placeholders in your love life; objects you can use as a fallback in case this new option was not what you expected it to be. If you want to try something new, put on your big boy or big girl pants and end your current relationship before exploring this new fling. I would never cheat on someone for the sole fact that I would never want to be cheated on and experience that level of pain or break of trust. I could never put someone through that, and I’ve never experienced how bad it must feel.
I would probably hate my girlfriend if she told me she was leaving me for someone else, but I would respect that she had the decency to tell me. I would have a very hard time forgiving a cheater, but, over time, it can be done. You don’t have to forgive them, by any means, I’m just saying that it can be done. If my girlfriend were to cheat on me and then I saw her with that same guy 10 years later, I would still probably be really bitter about it and I probably wouldn’t forgive her; but it doesn’t mean she is a terrible person.
However, if she told me she was leaving me for a guy and then they were still together 10 years later, I could see myself being much more forgiving. And while I’m currently single and don’t have to worry about this predicament, hopefully I (or you) never have to.