To cheat or not to cheat? Insert cliché: “That is the question!” But is that really the question? Now there’s another $64 thousand dollar question on the table – Is it bad to cheat even if I think my boyfriend won’t find out?
But the president did it!
Society as a whole views cheating as bad, otherwise it would be accepted as a universal good, so debate about cheating being bad would be nonsensical. Whether cheating is accepted within a culture is a different issue. Accepting something does not constitute an issue as good or bad. There are lots of deceitful, selfish people out there; that doesn’t mean you should be one of them.
Webster’s dictionary even defines cheating as a deception for a profit to you. Webster’s also gives a second definition as being not faithful to a spouse or lover – synonymous with the words adulterous, dirty, and foul. Interesting!
Is it really that bad?
The basic belief that cheating is bad is a result of individuals that can testify to cheating or being cheated on, leaving a wake of negative consequences. This is where personal values come into play. I mean, even a thief would complain if you stole something from him. Debating if cheating is bad or not is no longer the point; cheating without your sweetie knowing you cheated is a heavier subject matter. If you haven’t located your moral compass yet, now may be the time to do it!
Do I have respect?
Labeling your significant other as boyfriend or girlfriend universally communicates commitment. The things shared in a two person, romantic relationship are revered as special, deep and private. Why bother with labels or talk of commitment if you are going to cheat? You may have a conscience that you can defy, but the end result is that you’ve disrespected and dishonored the other person – a person who wants a commitment and relationship where only the two of you share certain acts, words, and moments.
At what point does self-gratification — even if you can manage to bypass the psychological waves of guilt — outweigh respect for the other person’s feelings, wants and needs of a committed relationship?
They may not know what you have done, but now two other people do, and a sorry opinion of the one cheated on will be formed by both. The one cheated on will be seen as having been played for the fool.
What about reputation?
Beyond making the one cheated on look ignorant (even if just to you), or like a laughing stock, the opportunity for the cheater to be known as someone who can be trusted is diminished greatly. The grass will not always be greener on the other side. People are people, and sometimes they change their minds; thinking cheating is fun, exciting and adventurous will only last a little while. What happens when the excitement dies and you become branded as one who ‘gets around’? Where will that leave you? It will leave you alone and despised (maybe even by yourself).
Why does it burn?
Should I even mention the health dangers of cheating and not maintaining a monogamous relationship? STDs are numerous and sexual promiscuity running rampant. Science continues to talk about the increased dangers of diminished sexual health as a result of promiscuity. How much do you care about your body? About your boyfriend’s health? Do you want to reproduce one day? Not thinking about future questions like these gives cause to impulsive acts like cheating.
But we’re just friends…
I understand cheating does not necessarily mean sexual relations are being had, and cheating can still be cheating without sexual relations; but who are we kidding?! If you want to spend time with someone else, it is most likely not going to be because you want to play a game of baseball with them! I assume sex will eventually become involved. Safe assumption.
What about emotional connections and sexual bonds?
I know for a fact, as a woman, that the emotional connection that comes from satisfying sex with my boyfriend creates a bond; a bond that is strengthened each time we are intimate with each other. Adversely, if one of us were to cheat, eventually the intimate connection and instances of intimacy would decline.
Whether your sweetie finds out or not, cheating inevitably has an emotional impact on the relationship and the individuals. Women seek to feel emotion; they thrive on it. Women find that they connect through emotion, and sex strikes a very emotional chord. As a woman (or a man), just knowing that your relationship has been tarnished can disconnect you emotionally, even if slightly. There is always the trade-off; satisfying sex with your boyfriend/girlfriend for an occasional fling. This is definitely an act of self-sabotage!
Am I going crazy?
Human nature allows a cheater with a guilty conscience to eventually become paranoid. Knowing that you can cheat and maintain a normal relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend will leave you wondering if the other person is equally capable of such actions.
Psychologically the impact of cheating can drive a person mad. Pun intended, people. Not just angry-mad, but crazy-mad! It is actually more fulfilling, selfishly and selflessly, to simply avoid the paranoia by not cheating, thus avoiding speculation of someone doing it to you.
But I want to feel loved
Understandably, we all just want to be loved! Some cheaters rationalize cheating with a need for love. Unfortunately, the cheater lends their self to being incapable of giving love and respect in return because they are practicing lies and deceit.
True love and respect is selfless and self-sacrificing. A cheater’s justification of cheating to feel loved is simply hypocrisy. The truth of the matter is trust and self-esteem issues that the cheater is internally grappling with, rooted in fear of not meeting others’ expectations.
It makes me feel good about myself – for a moment
Cheaters are usually insecure. Insecurity is a common theme in all our lives, and to seek relief from those insecurities is desirable, even if just for a moment.
Temporarily masking these insecurities requires ego-boosting actions, and cheating is a temporary quick-fix to satiate feelings of inadequacy. The cheater can gain satisfaction, like a temporary high, but risks feeling even worse after the act of cheating than they did before cheating.
They have bypassed dealing with the real issues and added a heap of guilt to the pile. A vicious cycle spins now because, without dealing with the underlying issues, the cheater may then feel the need to keep cheating in order to continue gratifying those feelings of inadequacy. Thus, cheating becomes a regularity, and the underlying personal insecurities have yet to be dealt with.
Personal inadequacies are legitimate, but must be resolved with self-confrontation. What is the number one answer? The survey says…get therapy!
It’s their fault
The Blame Game is the cheater’s favorite game, because it allows justification for what he or she already knows is bad behavior. Rather than exploring the option of addressing mental and emotional issues that lead to thoughts of betrayal and eventually the act of betrayal, many cheaters would excuse themselves by placing blame. Excuses like, “I don’t get enough attention,” and “They’re never home,” are classic quotes.
Blame is the easy out. It allows the cheater to acknowledge the bad behavior, and justify it at the same time, without having to take responsibility or address the root problem. Often, the cheater fears a too-heavy emotional and mental burden if confronted.
Avoidance leads to blame, and blame to self-sabotage and the constant undermining of both parties’ self-esteem.
It’s my dues
“I was cheated on therefore I cheat.” This is what psychologists like to call passive-aggressive behavior. This school of thought is based on getting even, and settling the score – even if it wasn’t their current partner who hurt them.
A vengeful act to get satisfaction is never satisfying enough, if the truth be known. If underlying feelings of resentment and hurt are not addressed, the cycle will repeat itself, and the cheater will cheat again. The same feelings are experienced over and over again with no resolution.
In my opinion, the only person really getting cheated is the cheater themselves! The cheater ultimately denies themselves the joy of a mutually committed relationship and the opportunity to repair the mental and emotional brokenness inside.
So, why not?
So why is cheating bad, even if your sweetie doesn’t find out? Humiliation of the one cheated on, increased health risks, decreased emotional intimacy, emotional devastation and mental frustration are all convincing points why cheating is bad.
Persuading yourself to ignore the obvious can only lead to pain and regret. If selfishness is the road chosen despite this persuasive narrative, my advice is to remember that there’s value in integrity, and people who matter have a funny way of sensing who’s got it and who doesn’t.
As you may have learned from TV and movies – the bad guys always get caught!