I’ve been on all sides of this fence (for the purposes of this post, it’s a three sided fence).
Admittedly, only once per side, nonetheless, I’ve deduced from these experiences that cheating doesn’t feel good and since my motto is: If it feels good, do it and if it doesn’t feel good, knock it off already, cheating is a ‘don’t do it’ activity.
Scenario 1: I was with someone who cheated on his partner with me (I was single).
The short story: I was in my early 20s, and although his girlfriend was a b*tch not fond of me, I didn’t do it because of her. I liked the guy. Note to the ladies: Don’t burn bridges. I didn’t muck around with her man because she was a Nasty Nelly, but it sure as heck didn’t stop me (then). Other gals will flat out go out of their way to bed a man if we get on their wrong side. I’ve also experienced mutual attraction with other “taken” men who I did not do anything with because I did like their woman.
Scenario 2: I was cheated on by my man.
I’m not sure if this is a true story, as I don’t have proof, and it’s actually happened to me twice (that I’m aware of) that I had a suspicion but will never really know. Both times, I was in mutually committed, monogamous relationships. Admittedly, the second time we were on one of our many break ups, and it could very well be that no physical lines were crossed while we were together, but I know that emotional lines were and inappropriate activity occurred during the time we were together. Thus, in my book, it was a Stage 1 cheat at minimum (Stages of Cheating to follow). Nonetheless, it crushed me. I also don’t know if I was more bitter about the cheating or the lying. Lying makes me pretty bitter.
Scenario 3: I cheated on my man.
We were together for too long and we weren’t meant to be forever. I became a Nasty Nelly, probably trying to give him a reason to punt me (he didn’t). The only thing left for me to do was the ultimate deal-breaker. I didn’t know this at the time. Hell no, it took me years of emotional self-torture, self-sabotaging, and painful guilt to figure that out. I can tell you unequivocally that being the cheater was by far more painful than being cheated on (maybe if he’d been a jerk I’d feel differently). Live and learn and heal.
Having gone through all of these experiences, I understand the weakness of the (my) heart (and loins). I have some pretty strict rules about what is appropriate now. I’m okay with that.
It’s not that I can’t trust myself, but why lead thee into temptation? I was always one of those self-righteous, disdainful, superior-attitude, judgmental I’ll never do that kind of critics. I only cheated once, but it only took once for me to say, “Hey, let’s not let that happen ever again.” And really, if we look at the stats, I’m not in the minority here. Judge not.
When Cheating is Warranted
It’s not. Cheating is never the answer; if only because it ultimately won’t make us feel good. We’re far better off to figure it out or part ways peacefully. Of course, that’s way easier said than done sometimes and all my experience and those of others will never replace your own experience. That’s how life works.
The Blame Game: We Lose
Also, never blame the cheater. Or the other person. No blame, or blame both parties in the primary relationship. No matter how perfect one partner may seem to be, it’s a two way street. Ladies, if we hold out on giving our man the cookie, we’re asking him to cheat (eventually). Men have very few needs (primarily freedom, respect, appreciation, food, sex) to be content, but they will even put up with a lack of most of those to a large degree if they’re getting sex gratefully. Put out (happily) or put up with a cheater. I’m aware this will ruffle some feathers. I’m not saying we can never say no, but I am saying we’d be best off to not use sex as a weapon or bargaining chip. As a bonus, working out differences between the sheets is a lot more fun for both team mates.
Ladies Doing Double Time
Now, as for the lady cheaters out there, of whom I know a few, they cheat (if it’s an ongoing thing) because their men don’t treat them right. This has nothing to do with sex because their dudes are probably still getting some from them. It’s usually more about emotional intimacy. There is too much to cover here, so my advice: Get a book, give a crap, and figure it out. One time lady cheaters: Either a cry for attention or a way out.
The Stages of Cheating
Stage 1 Cheating: Mutual attraction via eye contact, text, email, social media etc. (acknowledged or not, though at minimum, there is an awareness of it) combined with communication or activities we know damn well in our hearts we wouldn’t want our partner to know about or that we consciously justify to ourselves because it’s “innocent.” But we do know better. No physical lines have been crossed in Stage 1 Cheating.
Stage 2 Cheating: Mutually acknowledged attraction combined with inappropriate activities we damn well hide from our partner because our faces would say, “I want to have sex with this other person.” We’re floating a balloon, laying groundwork (pun intended), testing the waters, and maybe even lying outright to our mate. No major physical lines have been crossed.
Stage 3 Cheating: Any of the above plus a physical line of any kind has been crossed: Kissing, cuddling, hand holding, couch wrestling, straight up sex. We’ve got some serious sh*t to deal with. Hopefully we get forgiveness (from ourselves), fix it or move on ASAP.
Stage 4 Cheating: All of the above on an ongoing basis. We are having an affair. Bad dog! We will hate ourselves and eventually become ill. We are best off to seek a shrink, repent, or leave our partner because he/she deserves better, and really, so do we.
Any questions? Legs up!
P.S. There are complete books written on this subject, so to cover every aspect and nuance in a short piece herein will leave out many circumstances of infidelity, so to reiterate: This is based on my own personal experience, knowledge of others’ experiences, and the research I’ve done. Comments and alternative viewpoints are welcome!
Bonus! What to look for in the “one:”
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Jenna Penielle Lyons