Friday, January 6, 2012

On Cheating

Sorry I haven't made a post in a while.  I found a time sapping website that, I won't name to save you all.  Thank me later.

Anyway, I couldn't sleep last night.  You've probably have had this happen on occasion, where your brain decides to think about and contemplate everything about everything.  Anyway I got to thinking about cheating and what one should do after one cheats.

I'm not going to color anyone's opinion and say whether I have or haven't cheated.  If I haven't it's implied that I believe I'm better than that, if I haven't then some may see me as morally despicable.  That being said, I don't believe anyone is above cheating because circumstances play heavily into whether one cheats or not.  I do believe that individuals have control over what circumstances they get themselves in (you chose to go to the lingerie party, take a few more shots of tequila, etc).

I believe that everyone has their tipping point where they will cheat.  I don't believe when someone says that they will never cheat.  I perceive that statement as naive because it implies that you have complete control over your actions and can make informed decisions no matter what.  That means those who claim that they wound never cheat should be able to drunk drive without any increased risk.  I'm not saying everyone is equally prone to cheating, but everyone has the capacity to, and given the right circumstances will cheat, regardless of .

That being said, what I really am curious about is what should one do after one cheats?

This question is not as black and white as, "tell her/him" or, "don't tell her/him".  There is extensive interplay of factors, three of which I identify as: intent has to be considered the significant other's feelings, and your guilt.

When I first started talking about this with one of my friends months ago and subsequently thought about it last night I assumed that guilt of the act would be universal meaning everyone would feel bad about what they did to some varying extent.  I no that this is not true in all cases, but in most it is and it's the case that is most interesting.

Assuming one feels guilt after the act, our culture has taught us that the best thing to do is to tell the truth, to be morally sound.  It's assumed that, in doing this, the guilt will be relieved, and the relationship hurt (at least the perception of the relationship on your partner's end will be hurt, you coming clean is an attempt to restore honesty to the relationship, even if your intent is to end the relationship by revealing your transgressions).  I see this act as selfish.

The main reasons for telling your partner that you cheated is to relieve your own guilt and restore the honesty in the relationship.  That's just your perspective.  In your partner's perspective, there is nothing wrong assuming your guilt hasn't manifested in other ways and your transgression isn't symptom of some larger problem with the relationship.  In any case, you being honest only helps yourself and not your partner.

This is the hypothetical I think about when making my assertion that coming clean isn't a good idea:

You love your partner, but you drink too much one night and some girl is all over you and with your reduced ability to make sound decisions, you cheat.  You wake up the next morning with deep regret and guilt.  Your partner who thinks everything is fine and trusts you wakes up wherever she lives thinking everything is hunky dory.  You could:

A) Tell your partner, making yourself feel better because our culture taught us that the right thing to do is to tell the truth.  This cultivates insecurities and questions of self worth  in your partner that maybe lasting, damages an otherwise great relationship (usually permanently).
In this scenario, 3 things are damaged (hurt) you, your partner, and the relationship.

B) Assuming that what you did was truly unintentional and you are going to not put yourself in the same circumstances, you keep it to yourself, preserving your partners happiness and the relationship, while shouldering the guilt yourself.  If you can do it and not act guilty than this is clearly better than option, "A" since only one person is hurt.

C) You can continue cheating or putting yourself in the same circumstances that caused the mess while not telling your partner to preserve their feelings and the relationship.  (Asshole)

Society's expectations a side, I believe, "B" is the best option.  If you feel guilty the punishment should be the guilt you feel.  Your partner shouldn't have to bear the pain of your mistake.  That being said, I would hate if my partner cheated on me and didn't tell me.  But if I never learned it would be as if it didn't happen.  It's that whole, "if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" question.  If you cheat on your partner and they don't know, relative to their knowledge, did you cheat?  I think not.  (relative to you, you did of course).

I'd love to hear your opinions.  This is something that is highly debatable.

*I also assume and believe that cheating is never morally right, regardless of partner's actions.  Unless you posit some outlandish hypothetical.*


  1. Following you. ;)

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  3. Tough call. For me personally, I first probably would avoid cheating (I know, easy to say). But I'm an honest person, so if I did, I would have to be truthful and say something. Even if it totally destroyed what I had, I wouldn't be able to go on the same way with that weighing on my mind.

  4. Like you said, there are so many factors it depends on. I've never cheated on someone who I shared my entire life and every thought with, so I've never felt too guilty about it, and have gone with option 2. Now that I'm in a different situation, it would be a really difficult choice. I feel like honesty even about the bad things is better for both parties.

  5. I hate when my brains does that to me, it's been doing it a few times this past week actually. On the subject, I would never cheat on my girlfriend. That is one thing I can't see myself ever doing.

  6. Cheat on a math test? Sure.
    Cheat on a girlfriend? I've been cheated on, and the feeling sucks. If I cared for the girl, I wouldn't do that to her.

  7. look out for number 1 but dont fuck over friends and family and the weak :D FOLLOWED!!