Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Cheating Game

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.


Anonymous said...

Cheating is quite the topic. I have been a cheater and the reasons I did had little to do with my spouse and everything to do with my inability to commit. You are correct when you talk about people getting hurt in the process. It took me actually losing my spouse to realize what I had. I am still working to repair the damage I caused and yes I hurt the one I cheated with badly too. Cheating is selfish and for me it was looking for a way to find what I thought was missing. What I found out was that I already had everything I wanted and needed I was just too stupid to realize it. Good blog

Anonymous said...

You hit a nerve this morning. That is all I am going to say.

Erin said...

As a child whose parent cheated, you barely touched on the pain it causes. My dad was my best friend and I thought the best husband in the world until we found out he cheated. He didn't just cheat once and he wasn't going to leave us over the cheating. Like you said it was just a bodily function to him and. When mom finally found out (one of his women decided to tell her) our world fell apart. I lost not only my family but the image of the man who I called Daddy. I will never look at men the same way and forget trusting them. My mom is angry and bitter and my heart is broken. You have no idea how much damage cheating can do.


Anonymous said...

Marriage is not easy and sometimes stepping outside the walls of marriage is the only way to keep a marriage together. I am not saying that it is good or right it is just something that sometimes has to be done to keep from losing yourself.

Anonymous said...

"Cheating is the only way to keep from losing yourself"?

How can anyone say such a thing? I don't know your circumstance, but to believe that is to believe a lie. And that is what adultery is: its a lie.

I'm a victim of cheating. I had no idea that is was going on. Not a clue. And it was happening right in front of me. Our marriage was strained and I put all the blame on myself. That made it so easy to lie to me. I believe I was fault for everything so I believed every lie given to me.

The truth is it takes 2 people to have a marriage. Its tough and takes work. A lot of work. Both have to be committed. Cheating is easy. Lying and stealing are easy too. They are all acts of selfishness. But at some point all liars are caught and the time of remorse and pain begins for everyone connected to the cheaters. Including the friends that trusted them.

My marriage is surviving the cheating. But honestly, its hard. I wake up every morning wishing it never happened, but it did. And slowly happiness is returning into our lives. And trust is growing.

Surviving adultery taught me a lot about myself. I'm stronger than I thought. And I've learned that I can love unconditionally and I've learned to forgive without boundaries. Does that make me Christ like? Nope. But I felt like I was the the cross for a long time. The pain was that much.

If your marriage is hurting get help. Giving yourself to some else is the act of emotionally divorce from everyone you love back at home. Its not the answer. Its a pain I wish on no one.

Anonymous said...

Im kind of at a loss for words on this subject. BUT what got me was the comment...

"Stepping outside of the marriage to find yourself"

I dont get that. To me thats just another excuse to cheat.
When you do that you are putting more then youself in a situtation that you are making excuses to do.
If you want to be with other people....DONT BE MARRIED!! Easy as that.
Marriage is not meant to be easy! Its hard work. Ive been married for 30 years and its hasnt been all roses and champagne for us. Was there temtations? Hell yes....life is full of them. Have I always been proud of choices that I have made...NO! But with communication we worked together and have made it through. When I have felt like I was losing myself in the daily grind of Wife, motherhood and just plain ME.....I found other was to bring myself back to the person that I want to be...without putting myself in someone elses hands.
I have had friends that have been cheated on and having no idea it was happening. Some worked it out...some did not. I believe it is all up to the people and the circumstances. Does the hurt, pain and mistrust go away? Im sure it doesnt. IT is something that the spouse lives with it every day....but that is a choice also.
Anyway.....Each circumstance holds its own reasons.....but its the aftermath from one persons decision that affects so many others lives.

Anonymous said...

I did not say it was right to cheat. I said it happens and sometimes the cheating is necessary for the marriage to continue on. I am not proud of my choices either but in the end the cheating helped me to realize who and what I really wanted.

A Cheaters Kid said...

I debated about saying anything here, but decided I will. Growing up I felt like the luckiest kid in the world to have both my parents together. They weren't just together, they were crazy stupid in love. My friends actually thought it was pretty cool that my parents held hands and kissed all the time. When I turned 16 I came home from school one day to find my dad sitting on the couch crying. He had just learned that his "perfect" marriage of 18 years was nothing but a lie. My mother had been cheating for years and with all kinds of men. Every chance she got to be out of my dads sight she was off screwing guys. My dad was destroyed but smart enough to kick her cheating ass to the curb. He went to court and got custody of my brother, two sisters and me. He never talked bad about my mom although he did tell us they were divorcing because she cheated. Later I learned the details. At first mom begged to come back. The little girls wanted to spend time with her and dad let them but dad would not take mom back. Mom continued the affairs only now they were out in the open and she continued the cheating. She cheated on the guys she was having affairs with. Eventually dad found another woman and married her. She appears to love dad but who knows? The girls seldom see mom anymore because they hate the parade of men she has and I and my brother never see her. She not only cheated on dad but she cheated on us. She destroyed our family and she made us just another statistic. I can honestly say I hate my mom for what she did. I see her as nothing more than a selfish bitch. Because of all of this I trust no one. I mean if you can't trust your mom then how can you ever trust anyone. I date but I never let things go very far because I will never allow a woman to do to me what mom did to dad. I think cheaters should be tar and feathered out of society. They are the scum of the earth and anyone who takes a cheater back deserves the eventual outcome of being cheated on again!