Men have long had the bad reputation for being the gender that cheats, but maybe women aren’t as innocent as they’d like you to think.
Branislav Ostojic / 123RF Photo
I’ve been single and dating since my divorce 10 years ago. Some of those relationships ended because the woman I was dating cheated. After several painful breakups due to infidelity, I’ve decided to share my thoughts on the topic.
Let’s start with the girlfriend who told me that infidelity only occurs with penetration. If it was anything other than that, no matter what, no cheating had occurred. She could flirt, show her boobs, entice men with sex…she could dance naked on the guy’s bed, but as long as no actual sex occurred, then it was all good. Furthermore, as long as she was able to successfully hide her cheating, it wasn’t really cheating. Much like the theoretical question, “if a tree falls and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” My ignorance was her alibi.
Another woman claimed it wasn’t a big deal, she only cheated a few times during our relationship — it wasn’t like she was doing it every weekend. She loved me 75 percent of the time and I should feel lucky that I had a majority share of her heart. She was like an arsonist saying, “Come on now, I only set fire to four homes!”
One girlfriend saw cheating as a normal part and parcel of a relationship. Her cheating started on the first day and never stopped. Her infidelity was so ubiquitous that she secretly invited her lover on a vacation I had planned for us so she could flirt with him behind my back. As a way to mitigate my pain, she assured me that she was only thinking of me while doing it. I was in her heart the whole time. Another woman tried to convince me that cheating was healthy for a relationship, it kept things interesting.
Often the cheater will blame her partner for driving them to cheat. I was once told an infidelity occurred because I was a poor dancer. In another case my cheating girlfriend thought my objection to her infidelity required that I seek therapy. My disapproval was seen as a mental dysfunction that required professional help.
So what is cheating and why is it so damaging? Fundamentally, cheating is a conflict of expectations that requires lots of lying — lying from a person that’s supposed to be your best friend, your confidant, maybe even your life partner. It’s a tragic wake-up call when you realize the person you’ve been sharing your life with lives a double, hidden life — that you’ve been duped and mislead. The betrayal of trust is a hard pill to swallow.
Of course, women don’t have a monopoly on cheating. I once had a coworker who would remove his wedding ring in the parking lot prior to starting his business trips. This facilitated his attempts to philander while away from home. Is the mental state of this man enough to classify him as a cheater? What if he was unsuccessful in his chase, has he cheated? The answer is an unquantified yes.
Cheating is a state of mind that occurs before the first step is ever taken. Cheating is a miscarriage of trust and is part of a greater sense of entitlement. Based on my observations and experiences, people who cheat are caught up in a strong need to be desired, to be the focus of someone’s sexual drive and have a need to be sought after.
Much like my coworker removing his wedding ring, cheaters need to identify themselves as a potential liaison. Flirting fans the fires of desire, the cheater has a sense of control and feels empowered. They challenge themselves to dupe their partner while controlling their lover. It requires a juggling act, bar none… but what a rush! It fills a void of self-doubt, lack of confidence and power.
So the next time your lover cheats, remember … you are not to blame (nor are your dancing abilities), it’s really their problem, not yours but you do have the choice to walk away.
The Corrupt DNA: When it comes to romantic relationships, she can’t distinguish between right or wrong, good or bad. Some people grow up in environments where they are rewarded for beating the system, that mindset bleeds into their relationships.
The Entitled: Some women believe they have so much beauty “currency” that they are immune to all rules.
The Back-up Boy Friend: Some women are unable to imagine being alone and need to reassure themselves that a back-up bf is at hand.
The Danger Seeker: Some women simply like to live on the edge at all times. The excitement of cheating is an aphrodisiac.
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