These last few weeks have been a blur. In many ways, I’ve been floating around here and there in wonderment, growing curious about the shady meanings into why certain people do what they do. There’s this really interesting article I came across this past week from Elite Daily written by Gigi Engle called, “The Ugly Truth: If You Cheat on Someone, You Do Not Love That Person” and it got me thinking about people and relationships.
It got me thinking about cheating.
Oddly enough, it also got me thinking back to that overrated Johnny Depp quote too. The one where he says, “If you love two people at the same time, choose the second because if you really loved the first one, you wouldn’t have fallen for the second.” But I digress. And I’m not thinking of love. I stopped thinking about love in a real sense months ago. Instead, I’m thinking about the choices we make in our relationships and the lies that follow.
In this succinctly written piece on cheating, Engle explains how it is impossible to ever cheat on someone you love because it comes down to a deep, profound respect. Further exploring the concept of cheating through her own experiences, she goes on to say if you truly respect the person you’re committed to, you would never even imagine cheating on them because their feelings and thoughts would literally be in the forefront of your mind and heart. You would never be capable to commit such an action against someone you deeply care about because of that respect and honor.
I couldn’t agree more. We hear so many people today reiterating their vows and trying to stick by them post-cheating, but Engle shares that though she was once a cheater, the reason she put herself in such a position was because although she loved her past partners in her own way, the love was never strong enough in her to want to be faithful to them. Engle says, “If you truly loved this person with all of your heart, there would be no one else. Other men or women would not even exist for you.”
And it’s true. But there are people out there who will indulge in such pleasures over and over, and risk losing what they cherish most because of a dissatisfaction in their current relationship or simply, have a personality disorder. It comes down the basics: If you cheat on your partner, you don’t respect and love them enough. It’s as simple as that. You’d have to be one of those idiots on Jerry Springer to not know otherwise, especially if your partner’s past behavior has raised eyebrows over the years. The infidelity and shadiness of a cheater hiding it year after year is proof enough of incompatibility. Or, that the two of you are not able to see eye-to-eye on the spectrum of life, because once you involve someone else in your relationship—“the third wheel” or wickedly enough, “the paramour”—you’ve automatically cut that bond and commitment in your subconscious.
Love is a complete package that comes with mutual respect and is one of the most selfless things you could ever commit yourself to. If you cheat on your significant other, it means you’ve lost all respect for your other half and the bonds you forged. When straying over and over, if the thought of your loved one finding out and their world descending into a bottomless pit doesn’t phase you now, that’s a horror in itself because the after effect is worse than anything imaginable.
Considering infidelity affects 30 to 60% of all marriages in the United States, and online cheating has created a new way for individuals to cheat (and continue cheating) on the down-low, there’s an interesting culture brewing. So many people will post photos of themselves with their significant other whether on the beach or against a countryside milieu, all while cheating on their partner with claims of love and such. But by posting that lovey-dovey selfie of you and your partner out and about while you’re cheating, you’re not exactly lying to others. You’re lying to yourself. And to be honest, it’s complete and utter bullshit.
If relationships have taught me anything, it’s that you can’t be in real love with someone and still cheat on them. True love, among other things is selfless and enduring. When you cheat, you put your needs and desires above the needs and desires of your partner. That said, we all have basic human needs and as Maslow best puts it, belongingness is a major need that includes friendship and intimacy, which entails affection, and positive affirmation (and sex on the regular).
Look, paradise isn’t completely lost, but it is what it is. You may still care for your partner and even admire them while cheating. Heck, you might even take them out on vacations just to ease your guilt and they might just be the biggest fool who refuses to love you the way you deserve to be loved, but if you’re cheating, you’re not in love.
At the end of the day, cheating is about two things: Being unhappy in your current relationship because it’s not what you imagined, and being the type of person who would cheat on their partner. With the exception of 18 to 21 year olds who are actually still developing mentally, if a grown adult cheats on their partner, they’re sort of sociopathic. Obviously, that’s not a scientific inference, but they tend to be constantly interested in their own personal needs and desires, without any concern for the effects of their behavior on others. One night when sharing an intimate moment, they will tell you they care about you over and over, calling you sweet names, saying how much you mean to them, telling you how obsessed they are with you, and how everything or anything you do drives them crazy with desire. But then the next day they will appear cold and generalize you as “people,” shying away from any human connection.
I don’t think I could understand how anyone could truly do that to someone they seemingly care about. Besides theorizing about sociopathy, a major thought drives me to thinking it’s about fear. Fear has a way of keeping us back in life because we don’t want to be reduced to repeating family history or another Hollywood news story.
I discussed fear briefly in my last post of how it has a way of pulling us back from building a life we really want. That said, it’s a basic human emotion too, thoroughly wired into our systems for the benefit of understanding ourselves and the world around us better. In life, we become hard wired to avoid anything that causes us to feel afraid. Afraid of love. Afraid of rejection. Afraid of being alone. In many ways, fear is a tool in keeping us safe from danger. But what is “danger” per se? What if danger is more of a perception than a reality? What if there is no such thing as danger, just another outlook at life?
As someone I knew once put it, what if you’re possibly diving into wrong wrapped around good?
We all think we’ve got our life figured out, but we haven’t the slightest clue about it because life has its own plans for you, whether you care for them or not. All we have left is choices that allow us to either embrace the changes and move forward, or stay behind. Unless you’re willing to put yourself out there and face risks in life, feel the pain, the rejection, the heartbreak—all of it, and come out stronger for yourself, you’re not likely to reap the rewards of a happy life. Instead, you will stay behind, pass away in that small town with no real passions brewing, smile on the inside for as long as you can and remain unhappy.