Why do we do it? The relationship or even the marriage seems to be working well. Then out of the blue, you hear that one of the partners is cheating.
Getting Answers Via Social Media
This is one of Life’s Big Questions. We seem to be somewhat focussed on relationships and love this week so it seemed a good time as any to update and republish my 2009 response to the cheating question.
“Betrayal can only happen if you love.” — John Le Carre
For two decades or more now, Facebook has been my ‘hobby.’ Yes, I admit, I have been a non-recovering Facebook addict. Despite the allegations of the mishandling and possibly complete ignoring of deliberate interference in national elections, the social network offers me lots of free entertainment. I appreciate discussing various topics – some serious and others not so serious – with friends around the world.
My conversations with ‘friends’ online have run the gamut – from highly intellectual, political and trivial. Take a running commentary years ago a high school mate and I had about Beyonce’s agile waistline and her bare-chested-male back-up dancers. Then there was the heart-to-heart another friend and I had about the challenges we both faced with fibroids and whether to have a hysterectomy.
So Why Do People Cheat?
No surprise then that a friend posted a question on Facebook about infidelity. Her question prompted several and varied responses. This Jamaican woman who resides in the United States asked, “Why do people cheat?”
This is an age-old question but a recurring one that is clearly not yet answered in such a way to stem cheating. Preachers have spent many Sundays quoting copiously from the Bible and anything else they can get their hands on. They try to remind congregants of the perils of adultery and infidelity. Psychologists have made millions writing books and seeing clients who suffer in the aftermath of affairs. Medical professionals have stitched wounds and pumped stomachs of people who thought they could not go on after a partner cheated.
“Why do people cheat?”
My Facebook friend would later thank all of us who gave our two cents worth in response to her question. Yet, it was clear that she was not buying wholesale any of the explanations. And I do not blame her. There is no simple answer.
Failure To Be Honest
Looking back on my journey, I have done my fair share of cheating and have been cheated on many times. However, called upon to answer the question of why this happens, I could only draw for some philosophical reasoning. It hardly describes the devastation cheating causes.
So, I combed through various articles, books and web sites to see whether there is a better and concise understanding of this human flaw. Yes, I do believe it is a flaw. That is the one thing that I am clear on – that it is a serious character flaw.
The excitement of sex – because it is all about sex in the first instance – is so strong that the cheater is dishonest with his/her mate instead of ending the relationship. I found one resourceful and free web site that might offer some help to those grappling with this issue. Whether you suspect your partner is cheating or you are in the throes of an affair, Truth About Deception could help you.
In my brief search for resources on this topic, I came across some interesting quotes on cheating. I also learned that Oscar Wilde did not seem too big on this love business! One of his more meaningful quotes that I could at least relate to on the topic is:
“Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love; it is the faithless who know love’s tragedies.”
Men And Women Cheat
A smile came to my face when I read Helen Rowland’s about the cheat. It reminded me so much of being unceremoniously dumped. After confirming the affair, the person who cheated on me said, “You want too much of me in the vision that you hold of me and I am not that big a person!” Rowland said:
Every man wants a woman to appeal to his better side, his nobler instincts and his higher nature — and another woman to help him forget them.”
Hopefully, you read that quote and interchanged man and woman to fit your context. Heterosexual or same-sex relationship, women do cheat and so too those in same-sex relationships!
Why I Never Cheated Again
After my own act of cowardice and then digging up the courage to confess, I promised never to bring myself to that level again. That was over twenty years ago and to this day I have never looked at anyone but my partner (or husband). Scott Alexander explains it best:
“All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity [are] easy. Stay away from easy.”
Always keeping it real with you, I now know that not every person that I have been in any form of intimate relationship with took the same oath. That is a story for another time.
Why Do People Eat A Rotting Carcass?
The quote that I found most perplexing and interesting and one that will forever stay with me comes from the Sikh’s Holy Scripture.
“Cheating is eating a rotting carcass.”
How often have people said to their lovers “I would die before I cheat on you,” and then go ahead and have a hot and torrid affair? Well is that not what this passage refers to?
Sidenote: I know people who have died while cheating.
For a relationship to come to the point that your interest lies with another that you would cheat, why not end it? Whether for sex, money or the influence – is it worth it?
In my case, having cheated for the last time two decades ago it is my firm belief:
- One should not stay in a relationship with a cheat – no matter what it means for your standing or theirs.
- I will never cheat on my partner/husband/wife – no matter what it means for any aspect of my life.
Either way, to cheat means dying to one’s sense of decency and integrity to indulge in an affair with an equally dead soul!
Think about it and share your thoughts with us in the comments below. As well, take part in our poll on cheating. It is anonymous so your identity is safe.
Peace and Love,