Wednesday, December 05, 2007

To cheat or not to cheat...

Her latest post really got me thinking about something I haven't thought about in a while. I haven't been in an exclusive relationship for nearly three years now, so this isn't something I typically have to address on a daily basis.

Most of you know I was in a relationship for about six years with a lovely, but sadly immature guy. He knows this. If by chance he's reading now, I'm sure he'd agree. The majority (4 of the 6 years) of our relationship was spent pining for each other across two states in college. In hindsight, the long distance relationship though convenient, is doomed. It is a poor excuse for the real thing, a disembodied voice on the other end of the phone. How do you believe in the fidelity of just a voice? It's tough.

Anyways, without going off the subject too much, let me just say that I've been there. The worst part, for me, about being tempted to cheat is being burdened with the awful knowledge that I most certainly would get away with it.

I may not have been a saint in college, but I made the choice every night not to be a sinner.

And that's the thing. Cheating is a choice.

As I said, it is a conscious effort. Like flossing. Or dieting.

The choices we make in life define who we are and what we believe in. And let's face it, the devil is on all of our shoulders, whispering into all of our ears. No one is exempt.

But you can choose not to listen.

To me the question of cheating is so black and white. And that's saying something coming from a girl who lives her life happily breaststroking through the choppy waters of gray area.

You can make up a laundry list of excuses for it if you want. What it comes down to is that everyone has a moment where they say to themselves, "I'm not going to do this" and move on. Either you listen to yourself or you don't. There's no elaborate process.

This is not to say that I am the definitive source on cheating, by any means. At this point in my life I can't decide between who I want to be: the sinner or the saint. But I CAN choose not to force someone else to live with that decision.

Because that's really what it comes down to. If you can't control that urge, then you probably shouldn't be in a relationship. With anyone.


Peter DeWolf said...

Thank you for sparing me from having to write a post about this. You summed up my thoughts on the subject pretty well. (Although my relationship was "only" five years.)

To me, there are so many things that you can't control. But, whether or not you cheat is something that you can.

Getting caught never entered my mind as a reason not to do it. The thought of looking in the mirror and seeing an asshole did.

You know, more of an asshole than usual.

Anonymous said...

After reading the posts on the other blog, I was beginning to think the whole world has gone crazy on a moral relativism kick. Cheating is inexcusable. It is betrayal of the most basic order. And it is something that must be consciously chosen. Thank God I am not the last person in the world to think so. You have restored my faith (well, what little I have) in humanity.

toadely said...

That was pretty succinct Hella. To be fair to Meg's post, though, Harry, I don't think she ever got to the question of right-or-wrong (though she might have and I just didn't see it) Meg and Garrett just talked about "why".

Hellafied said...

Peter: I'm not surprised this is yet another thing we agree on.

Harry: I agree. I do think cheating is inexcusable. Because it's entirely avoidable.

Toadely: This is maybe one of a handful of times I have ever been succinct on the topic of relationships, so I appreciate you noticing!

dmbmeg said...

I never said cheating was excusable. I was merely explaining why women did it, and pointing out the differences between the behavior of the two sexes.

Thanks toadely for actually reading what we were talking about.

country roads said...

As usual, you've summed it up perfectly.

Meg and Garrett cracked me up..."there's something wrong with sea level..." But, I don't think there is a definitive why. That'd be like asking someone why do you drink or why do you like that shirt more than another? If we could whittle conversations down to the bare minimum and do away with all the nice things we say to make ourselves and others feel better, maybe we could get to the why. Hell, maybe they were right over there all along.

sam said...

What was offensive to me about the posts on the other blog was the generalization that all men would cheat if they thought they could get away with it. I know that I would never cheat, no matter what the circumstances. But, as I re-read the posts, it occured to me that the term "cheat" is not defined. What is the defnition of cheating? and if it is described in a broader context, does it justify Garrett's assertion.

mindy said...

Smart post, lady.

Anonymous said...

Great post. You summed up my current situation to a tee. Sometimes I wonder if an infatuation with someone where you don't even notice other girls (or guys as the case may be) is a normal part of being in love and falling for someone. I suppose you can't force something that's not there but cheating is as much about hurting the other person as it is about testing yourself. Like you said, if you conciously consider it as an option, then shouldn't you be single in the first place

So@24 said...

Absolutely love this post.

Everyone in a relationship (or heading into one) should read this.

Ares said...

>What was offensive to me about the posts on the other blog was the generalization that all men would cheat if they thought they could get away with it.<

The truth, naked and glaring, is usually offensive.