March 16, 2014

4 Stages of Cheating & When It’s Warranted.


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!


Relephant reads:

The Infidelity Preventative.

Oxytocin: why Women can’t have Affairs.

Relationships: Why We Cheat.


Bonus! What to look for in the “one:”


Love elephant and want to go steady?

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Andrew Sep 9, 2015 11:08pm

"Put out (happily) or put up with a cheater."

Particularly the happy part. When love making becomes a chore, or you find yourself counting a sexual act as a favour, you are well down the road to losing your man. And yes, we can tell when you are phoning it in, and it adds up. It's not too much to ask, and as far as I can tell, the vast majority of men think that is part of the deal. Compared to women, we men are pretty simple creatures, but not stupid.

As a 53 year old male, this doesn't read as the writings of a 20 something at all, but there is still much room for development of these ideas.

Most people haven't taken the time to really think about all the culturally embedded ideas they have towards sex, and just inculcate them blindly. Religious ideas around sex particularly just don't bear much rational analysis.

There is no 'black and white', everything is grey, and the getting of wisdom is in understanding that nothing is certain.

The only thing I would strongly argue against is your stage 1 cheating. What you describe is normal human relations, we all do it, and those that don't are either cold stony fortresses or just don't see in themselves the same things that they judge in other people.

Best wishes to all on your journey.

Vance Aug 14, 2015 12:46am

SECOND UPDATE: My attorney rocks! I made an initial offer of $10,000 to my wife of only 4.5 months to go away. She countered wanting $21,500 of support. So my attorney went ahead and got the domestic violence restraining order. To avoid having that on her record, my wife asked how to avoid the hearing because she new it overwhelmingly in my favor. She wound up agreeing to pay me $7,500 for attorney fees and costs and walk away with a default judgment. I am still out over $10,000 in total costs because that whole payment will go to my attorney, but it goes to show you that justice for the man can be had. I still can’t believe my wife sabotaged the entire marriage though and still saddens and depresses me at times. I recently had someone ask me if I missed her. I said that I really miss the girl I fell in love with, but i wanted to destroy the person I was married to. There is still a part of me that wants to go through with the hearing and destroy her personally and professionally (like she often threatened me), but I am also ecstatic that the nightmare is finally over and the light is shining through.

Vance May 28, 2015 8:46am

I was married recently and just a few days into my marriage, my new wife supposedly received a stalking call from a girl I knew from the gym. While I knew the girl for 4 years and did ask her to go to 2 events with me (a wedding and a friend’s concert), previously to being married, I did feel close enough to have sexual banter while talking to her. Never did I speak with outside the gym other than Facebook messaging over the 2 events. When this call happened, I explained the nature of the relationship. My wife proceeded to label me a Stage 2 cheater and and then began to scour my entire background to uncover some things from my past that I had never told her before marriage. Never did i think i had done anything wrong or was laying groundwork. The act of omission of my past classified me as a liar. What happened next were 4 months of living in a prison with my entire life monitored. All I wanted to do was love my new wife. Instead what I got was the accusation of gawking at every women who came into my view, so I started walking with my head down. I was still accused. I was under constant from arguing and she made threats if I tried to leave. It finally ended in a 911 domestic violence call where she spent the night in jail as I decided to leave. I believe she has this article posted on FB. I loved my wife. All I wanted was a happy life doing things with her. Now we are separated and filing for divorce.

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Anna Jorgensen

Anna Jorgensen Dating, love and relationship coach.

A lumberjack’s daughter, I spent my formative years surrounded by virgin forest and hungry grizzly bears in remote forestry camps. The crews were mostly hard-working, good-hearted scruffy men. There was plenty of naked-lady wallpaper, which explains my naughty sense of humour and understanding of how men think. (Hint: It’s not only about sex.)

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