I’m back, it’s that time again for Ask Millie, better known as the Black Dear Abby. Here is the relationship question of the week. Linda from Pennsylvania is dealing with a cheating issue from her man. So in honor of that, this article is appropriately titled: Is cheating overrated?
First, I want to say thank you to Linda for writing me about this issue. Linda, in the grand scheme of things and if I were honest cheating involves betraying a partner’s expectations about the type of contact the cheater has with others. Bottom Line!
When either a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, boo, bae, or significant other violates one’s expectations about what is appropriate, people feel betrayed. What you also want to keep in mind that relationships are not based on logic, but are mostly influenced by our emotions. As a consequence, cheating is difficult to define because people fluctuate in the type of contact they feel it is appropriate for a partner to have with someone else.
Let me give you an example, some people believe that it is unacceptable for a partner to:
Flirt with others,
Participate in sexual conversation with someone else,
Exchange personal e-mails or text messages,
Deny or lie about being married or in a relationship,
Spending time with certain individuals,
Take part in specific types of contact like sleeping in the same bed with another person,
Buying intimate gifts and presents for others,
Have a dialog online with someone else, (online affairs)
Have sexual contact or relations with someone else, (physical unfaithfulness)
Become emotionally involved with someone else, (emotional unfaithfulness)
Growing a crush or feelings for another individual,
Sharing you most private thoughts and feelings with someone else,
Becoming best friends with someone of the opposite sex,
And the list could go on and on….
As I stated before, the main point is that individuals vary in what they consider to be an acceptable form of contact with other people. There are also extreme scenarios as well, like some couples think it is conventional to have sex and fall in love with someone else (understand polyamory), while some people view flirting with another person as being inappropriate.
Cheating is very complex because the definition fluctuates so widely. Nevertheless, when someone violates a partner’s expectations, the emotional outcome is the same—their partner feels betrayed and rejected. Cheating is also problematic because couples rarely discuss exactly what their expectations are. This is the key—there is no communications and talk of expectations beforehand or before delving deep into the relationship.
In any given relationship, what one person considers to be acceptable may differ from what a partner thinks is appropriate. Many problems arise in relationships because people do not see eye-to-eye on this issue. To make matters worse, many people do not like to define what counts as cheating and prefer not to define what counts as cheating because by keeping the rules vague and ambiguous, it makes it easier to cheat. If you do not know what the rules are, you really cannot break them—or some people like to think!
In conclusion, it is a lot easier to deceive both oneself and a partner about cheating when the rules are not clear. Which brings me back to the point of–is cheating really overrated and even worth it?
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