The other day when I put a call out for blog ideas I received ideas not only from facebook and the blog comments but I also got a few fb messages and an email or two. Some were silly, some were off the cuff and some where a little more serious. So far...I have decided to do all that have been offered. I am really wanting to stretch my ability to write on a multitude of subjects and today's is quite the subject. I am going to write about one of the more serious topics offered me. I received an email on this topic and I found the email to be every bit as interesting as the topic. I chose this topic as it is one that I myself have had experience with, both growing up and in my adult life and I found the content of the email intriguing. Before I begin...here is an excerpt from said email:
"Please use 'cheating' as one of your topics......... I don't know why people cheat. I have seen it happen to many of my friends but I was really shocked when it happened to us. My relationship is not perfect but then whose is? It has lasted many years tho and I do not now or have I ever regretted my choice in choosing who I am spending my life with. Things are really good for us except for the fact that there is cheating going on. It has been going on for many years and it is now a cycle that seems to be uncapable of breaking. I think we both know what is going on and I think we both know that the other knows. It is unspoken so far but I feel that one day it will all come out and our lives will crumble. We have kids and I know our kids think we are one of the few in tact families still around. I will tell you that I know the cheating has not occurred with only one person. It is not a "love affair" situation. That is why I am confused. There have been numerous affairs over the years and there has been no time table for when they happen or when they end. There have even been overlapping affairs and funny enough we have been able to maintain love and respect for each other through it all. This is assuming that we both know what I think we both know and that what I think we both know is happening. Okay any way, could you please tell me what you think about all of this? Could you please tell me how you feel about cheating? I am not looking for you to fix this only to put it into perspective. Maybe we will both read this together and it will open up a conversation. Please though tell me how you feel about cheating and at the same time you can use it as one of your topics."
Wow! Intriguing....right? First let me say that I do not know the person that emailed me this. I don't even think they live in my part of the country and if I did know them....I would not be using it as a topic. Second let me say that I am not a therapist, an expert or anything close to either of those things. I am simply a woman with an opinion and that emailer and anyone else who reads this is how I am writing this. That...and it is interesting subject matter and I would like to hear other opinions too. So please feel free to comment.
Let me just say right up front......I have no idea why people cheat. I assume that there are as many reasons for cheating as there are people doing it. My first thought would be that somewhere deep inside there is unhappiness. Perhaps they married or got into a relationship too early, maybe one or both of the people in the couple changes over time or maybe they just fall out of love. To me I always thought that cheating was the beginning of the end for a relationship...in today's world though and possibly even in times gone by...if the cheater is good with spreading themselves around and the one being cheated on is okay with living in denial....then the status quo seems to continue on with neither party ever rocking the boat. I guess that is okay for some, but I could not and would not do it.
The emailer made the statement "There have even been overlapping affairs and funny enough we have been able to maintain love and respect for each other through it all." As I read this I had to question that statement. They have been able to maintain love and respect for each other through it all? How is that possible? How do you love and respect someone and then cheat on them? And it doesn't sound as if it was once, but many times over. How do you take from the person you are bound to and give someone else that intimacy and parts of yourself that only your spouse/significant other should have and still claim respect for them? In my opinion (and that is what you are asking for) that shows no respect. In fact...it shows such a lack of respect for your spouse, your relationship, your family, the person you are cheating with and most of all....yourself.
As I said...there are probably a zillion reason why someone chooses to cheat. I am also sure that there are bad marriages, open unhappiness and family issues that cause cheating, but does that justify the situation? I know too that in the new modern world....cheating happens often. I know that people even have marriages/relationships where cheating is built in, but knowing a little about human nature...I don't know how it ever works. Humans are jealous and territorial by nature and cheating always leads to destruction. Men and women may like to play the field but in most cases if the cheater found out that his/her spouse was also cheating....that simply wouldn't fly. It would be a blow to pride, self esteem and the relationship as a whole. Few cheaters feel that what is good for goose is also good for the gander.
My suspicion is that there is more going on in this relationship and in most cheating relationships than anyone wants to admit. I totally believe that some who cheat do not see their intimacy with someone outside their relationship as loving or lasting....but merely an act in the moment. It is more a bodily function than a deeply intimate tie. Unfortunately for most of these individuals neither their partner in the relationship nor the one they are cheating with sees their intimacy in the same way. Because of this it is double whammy to the cheater if they get caught because ultimately they have hurt not one but two individuals with this act that can be called nothing less than selfish.
I also question where a cheaters head is at when they have children and cheat. If you are married and cheat and get caught, what does that do to the kids? Even if the marriage makes it through the cheating...what kind of an example is being set? Do we really want to teach our kids that cheating is okay or that being cheated on is acceptable treatment in a relationship? Do we really want them to think that breaking a trust in such a huge way should be easily forgiven and that the one cheated on somehow deserves the disrespect? These are the things that mold young people and set the path for how they will treat others in the future. The cheater is also risking their relationship with their kids when this happens as often kids remain loyal to the parent who was cheated on and seldom the cheater.
In case you haven't figure it out and are wondering...I am not a fan of cheating. I have been cheated on and trust me...coming from that place...cheating sucks! Feeling as if your best was not good enough for someone and knowing that they loved and respected you so little that they could treat your relationship like that is a difficult blow to overcome. And no...I did not stick around to be hurt again.
All this being said...I don't live inside this couples relationship or anyone elses for that matter. I don't know what goes on and as I said before...I don't know why people cheat. All I do know is that cheating is never good for anyone involved and cheaters almost always get caught. In the end someone always gets hurt and you have to ask if the fallout is really worth the game?! So emailer...here is my blog and thank you for the topic.