Cheating isn’t a novel experience. It’s not this new and unnamed thing. If you don’t have personal experience—first of all, congratulations, but—you probably know someone who cheated or has been cheated on. The entire concept of it is omnipresent, but the infidelity news of Adam Levine and Ned Fulmer has once again put cheating on center stage. And once again, my mother has told me how normal it is.
So I have thoughts. Obviously.
RELATED: I Was A Serial Cheater
My mother’s sage advice
I don’t remember when it started, but I have been very conscious of the fact that my mother always tells me: Men cheating is normal, the only thing to watch out for is if they have a mistress. In other words, men will always stray; you should only take notice when it becomes consistent with one woman. Otherwise, it’s nothing.
Which is fucked up, but I get where she’s coming from, too.
@sumnerstroh embarrassed I was involved w a man with this utter lack of remorse and respect. #greenscreen ♬ original sound – Sumner Stroh
The thing is, cheating has become such a “normal” thing that it’s hardly ever surprising anymore. Sure, it still kicks us in the gut, but once those initial feelings have simmered down, you realize that it’s nothing out of the ordinary. What were you expecting? Why were you so naïve to think that you would be the exception? How could you think that your love would be the one that remains spot-free and third party-less?
My mother’s “men will cheat; you can’t help that” advice is fucked up. But it’s because the world is fucked up.
No one is safe
Here’s the other thing: anyone can be cheated on. It doesn’t matter if you’re old or young, male or female or in between, rich or poor, pretty or traditionally homely, if you have kids or not—none of it matters. If your partner is a cheater, they will cheat on you.
“If I were enough, they wouldn’t have cheated” is a goddamn fallacy.
Smoke and mirrors
I was talking to a friend of mine about this, and she mentioned how when a couple spends so much time trying to convince the world that their lives together are perfect, it means something is inherently wrong.
In the case of Ned Fulmer, we’re hitting the nail on the head. His two blonde boys, their beautiful home, Ariel and Ned’s personal and professional lives intersecting so smoothly—smoke and mirrors, apparently. And while Adam Levine’s cheating scandal surprised me less, I once thought: Wow, he finally decided to stick to one Victoria’s Secret model and make beautiful babies and live a beautiful life. Whoops.
Who do we blame?
Before you come at me and say no one is to blame, there’s always someone to blame. There is at least one person who is always to blame. Someone always knows that what they’re doing is considered cheating.
Someone should always be accountable. And while I agree we shouldn’t attack any of the people involved (calling someone a homewrecker or a slut seems uncalled for), they need to personally hold themselves accountable.
So is cheating okay?
Fuck no. If you were looking for someone to lick your self-inflicted wound, you’re out of luck. And if you were cheated on and are looking for someone to say “forgive your partner; it’s okay,” then you’re out of luck, too. Cheating on someone and being cheated on ruins what should be the core of any relationship: trust.
I don’t know about you, but I would rather not live my life questioning every “boys’ night” or “company outing.”
Cheating isn’t okay. Not when the parties in the relationship have promised exclusivity—physically, emotionally, mentally. If you want an open relationship, that’s something that needs to be talked about.
I hate to be that jaded person that believes loyalty—even when it’s agreed on—is impossible. I’d like to still believe that everyone, when they decide to, can turn down temptation or refuse the urge to seek it out. But the world hasn’t proven me any differently, and continues to give me very little to go on.
Art Macky Arquilla