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Your cheating heart

Posted on Tuesday, March 2, 2010 in Affairs/infidelity, Honesty, Relationships, Sex/sexuality

We were long overdue for a gals’ night, so we gathered last week and found ourselves lined up at the bar at the Buckeye.

“Don’t look now, but isn’t that Scott?” Mia asked, jerking her head rhythmically  to the right.

“It sure is,” Sara said, her head whipping around to see the action in the booth behind us. “But that sure isn’t Liz.”

Liz being Scott’s wife.

“And, so?” I asked. “For all you girls know, it could be a business meeting, or his niece or a
friend who needs advice. Stop being so
suspicious!”  

They looked at me like I was one of those psycho women all exes seem to become to guys when they’re describing us to their
new love.

I know what it might look like, but looks can be deceiving. There were more than a few times when I was having dinner or cocktails with a male friend and some busybody walked by and assumed we were dating just because I’m a single woman with a guy.

But maybe Scott was cheating. Or maybe he was having dinner with a female co-worker and didn’t tell his wife about it; would that be cheating, too?

Cheating isn’t so black and white anymore.
It used to be if that you weren’t actually cheating unless there were body fluids and cigarettes in a cheap motel.

Now? Well, if you don’t have a dozen
mistresses coming out of the woodwork talking to the media, like Tiger, it’s a little fuzzier.

  • Some women think a guy’s intense interest in porn is cheating.
  • Some women think if their squeeze
    is always checking out other women, he’s cheating.
  • Some women think if he’s sharing TMI (mostly about them) to another woman, he’s cheating.
  • Some women think if he’s a flirt he’s cheating.
  • Some women think sending dirty text messages is cheating.
  • Some women think it’s cheating if their guy friends an ex on Facebook.

So, what is cheating?

I used to think it was fairly simple — a guy’s cheating if he’s shagging someone (and in all fairness, it could as just as easily be if she’s shagging someone; don’t mean to lay all the guilt on you guys. I know women are just as guilty as men).  But the Internet, IM, texting and Facebook have changed everything.

And, I’ve changed, too. My thoughts, that is.

I think someone’s cheating if whatever he’s doing is compromising the relationship because he’s not being honest about it. If a guy can’t tell his partner about something he’s doing and who he’s doing it with (an maybe in the case of watching porn, how often he’s doing it), then something’s wrong.

That doesn’t mean that we have to tell our partners everything; Lord knows her daily minutiae is boring enough without having to take on his, too. And it doesn’t mean he’s afraid to tell her because she’s going to get all bitchy about him having female friends or looking at an attractive woman walking by (or acknowledging that). That’s an insecure woman, which is a much bigger problem (and, ironically, one that may lead to a man cheating).

But if she starts asking you about your day or someone (nicely, of course), and you feel like you can’t quite tell her the truth or start getting defensive, I’d say there might be a wee bit of a problem.

When I discovered Rob’s affair, it wasn’t so much that he was screwing someone as the lies — whenever he looked me in the face, he wasn’t telling me the truth (although, I didn’t know that at that particular moment). That’s just not how people who say they love you treat you. That was hard to grasp.

So, what’s cheating to you?

Photo © Inger Anne Hulbækdal – Fotolia.com

Bring on the comments

  1. Steve says:

    Cheating is doing physical things that only lovers do with someone who is not your wife|girlfriend|husband|boyfriend|fiance.

    Period.

    Most of the other things listed are simply inappropriate or are simply not conducive to a happy relationship. Not cheating. Just dumb or in poor taste.

    Period.

  2. BigLittleWolf
    Twitter: BigLittleWolf
    says:

    This is such a tough one! There’s really a spectrum of behaviors and individual assessments (rationalizations?) as to what constitutes cheating.

    Amazing what that range is! And when it comes to issues of fidelity, that’s a whole other matter. Is emotional attachment with no physical involvement “cheating?” Is a kiss cheating? What about cybersex?

    I bet you could ask 20 people and get 20 very different answers. Which says to me that what goes on between a person and their conscience, as well as a person and their partner is a domain that will always be highly individual.

    Fascinating subject.
    .-= BigLittleWolf´s last blog ..Body language: Are you a toucher? =-.

  3. Linda says:

    My thoughts have changed regarding cheating the last few years, as it has happened to me. For me, it’s not the thought that he was intimate with someone, it was that he lied and was deceitful while doing it.

    If you have to hide from your partner your texts, emails, actions, lunch/dinner plans, or even your FB account, then something is wrong.

  4. Jake Barnes says:

    To the lover, any time the loved one pays attention to anyone or anything but them. That is cheating. That is why love is an illusion, a fantasy. We give that fantasy to those we love, as a gift, the same way we allow ourselves to laugh, occasionally, in the shadow of the grave. We shouldn’t make it harder for those who love us by trying to undo their magical spells.

  5. VJ says:

    I’m with Steve on this one. The simpler the better. Otherwise, you’re just asking for trouble.

    Steve said: “Cheating is doing physical things that only lovers do with someone who is not your wife|girlfriend|husband|boyfriend|fiance.

    Period.”

    The rest is commentary, or mere niceties lading to *possible* sin. Formally? They used to call upon it as ‘the occasion to sin’. Still, an invite perhaps as nebulous as the smell of fresh baked cookies wafting throughout a mall store. (Actually, it made an acquaintance a multi-millionaire once).

    So this? Is all too convoluted to even try to suss out in any detail: Kat said: “I think someone’s cheating if whatever he’s doing is compromising the relationship because he’s not being honest about it. If a guy can’t tell his partner about something he’s doing and who he’s doing it with (an maybe in the case of watching porn, how often he’s doing it), then something’s wrong.”

    Case in point? We run a business. In the span of 2 months the wife was quite coy about letting on about a problem that might cost 30K per year, and one later that might need about 150K per year. Now eventually she ‘fessed up, and we talked about it. But for awhile? She was quite quiet about it all. She’s honest to a fault, but she takes her own time to tell you about it all. Cheating? Probably not. Communication? Definitely her own way.

    And no, unless it’s indeed an addiction, ie. he’s spending 8-10-12 hours a day consuming same, simply watching porn does not really equate to ‘cheating’. Not in anyone’s wild imagination. Try and bring it up in court for a divorce proceeding say? And unless there’s been ‘action’ (he/she’s gone to ‘X’ & done ‘Y’) you’ll probably get giggles from the assembled. Sure you drop $2000 per month(!) on same? You might have a bit of a problem. But mostly? That problem of simply watching porn, comes with the Y chromosome. I know, it’s just pretty tragic all over, right? And yeah, if you didn’t like this comment, please feel free to disappear it like my last few too. Be my guest. Cheers, ‘VJ’

  6. Kat Wilder says:

    Steve — I would agree, if you’re a guy; guys (according to the research) are more upset by the physical act of sex between his beloved and some other “creep.” For women, emotional betrayal is worse, and if a guy is sharing intimacy with “that slut,” that’s worse.

    BLW — Yes, there is a wide spectrum, but ultimately I think it comes down to two people — wheat he and she decide are the boundaries of what’s OK and what’s not OK … for them.

    Linda — Spoken like a true woman! The lying and deception is what is so painful, then the sex part.

    Jake — That’s pretty heavy stuff. I’m not sure I think love is an illusion, but I do think our minds mess with us quite a bit during the whole thing!

    VJ — See my answer to Steve; it truly is a gender divide.

    And, just so you know, I did not “disappear” your comments; they went into my spam filter (as comments by other commentors have), and when I realized it, I set them proper. I’m somewhat techno savvy but still …

  7. dadshouse
    Twitter: dadshouseblog
    says:

    I agree, if you do something that compromises the relationship, it’s cheating.

    And I ran into a buddy in a restaurant one night when he was entertaining a woman who was not his wife. Awkward! (For him)
    .-= dadshouse´s last blog ..Frazzled and Stressed Single Parent =-.

  8. Wombat
    Twitter: kissnblog
    says:

    If you’re shagging a woman stupid enough to kiss your collar rather than your corpus, that’s cheating…deserving of consequences.
    .-= Wombat´s last blog ..First Date Failure =-.

  9. Nicole says:

    Dadshouse> I would think it’s also awkward to have someone mention to you they saw your spouse out with someone else.
    If you weren’t aware of the situation that’s when some undesirable thoughts might creep into your head.

    Meeting up with a “guy friend” of mine wouldn’t be something that would I would forget to mention to my spouse.

    No omissions; no conflict.

    Kat & Linda> I agree, you shouldn’t be hiding anything. If you want someone to trust you, you should be trustworthy. It’s the deception that hurts so much and is so hard to get past.

  10. Nicole says:

    Dadshouse> I would think it’s also awkward to have someone mention to you they saw your spouse out with someone else.
    If you weren’t aware of the situation that’s when some undesirable thoughts might creep into your head.

    Meeting up with a “guy friend” of mine wouldn’t be something that would I would forget to mention to my spouse.

    We trust AND respect each other.

    No omissions; no conflict.

    Kat & Linda> I agree, you shouldn’t be hiding anything. If you want someone to trust you, you should be trustworthy. It’s the deception that hurts so much and is so hard to get past.

  11. Steve says:

    Dadshouse wrote:
    “I agree, if you do something that compromises the relationship, it’s cheating.”

    So, being a slob, not doing your share of the housework, creating financial stress, not talking enough, falling out of love and other relationship compromisers are cheating? 🙂

  12. Steve says:

    I don’t see emotional intimacy, outside of an extreme, as cheating. Past a certain point it is a stress on the relationship, but not cheating. Before that certain point is a jealousy problem.

  13. Kat Wilder says:

    Dads — “And I ran into a buddy in a restaurant one night when he was entertaining a woman who was not his wife.” But, could it be that you were misinterpreting the situation, or were they getting too close for comfort?

    Wombat — yeah, how cliched is that? Musta had one too many mojitos …

    Nicole — I like that: “no omissions, no conflict.” Well, there are always things to argue about, right? 😉

    Steve — Uh, that’s cause you’re a guy. I would not say that emotional infidelity was “just” jealousy. Jealousy is grounded in fear, control and distrust; having emotional intimacy with a third party could be diverting energy/emotions that belong in the relationship (and thus could be addressed/solved within the relationship.

    As for “creating financial stress,” someone absolutely can be “cheating” by withholding information about the couple’s financial situation. That’s deception, too; deception isn’t just sexual. In fact, I know people to whom this has happened; it’s just as devastating

  14. VJ says:

    Kat says “As for “creating financial stress,” someone absolutely can be “cheating” by withholding information about the couple’s financial situation. That’s deception, too; deception isn’t just sexual. In fact, I know people to whom this has happened; it’s just as devastating”.

    Which was my point. And some of Steve’s as well. You either having a trusting relationship with someone you can trust implicitly, or not. I know that’s difficult to understand & certainly to achieve too. My wife, being a partner, talks to many employees & other partners probably much more frequently than she does me. She probably shares some intimacies with them too. But at the end of the day, we share in a life & many more intimacies that they can not be a part of. What I know & what I’m proudest of is her instincts & intelligence. She & I know where the lines are drawn. It’s not ‘being seen at dinner with strange men/women’, as we’d both be guilty of that with clients, friends & workmates. She too can enjoy a ‘drink with the boys’ and I’m singularly unworried about it. It’s because I know & trust who she is.

    Again I know that all sounds silly, especially to folks who are divorced or who have had some unfortunate circumstances surrounding trust in their marriages. Cheers, ‘VJ’

  15. Honey
    Twitter: honeyandlance
    says:

    Physical infidelity is “cheating,” but you also have emotional infidelity, financial infidelity…no less devastating to a relationship, just because it’s not called “cheating.”
    .-= Honey´s last blog ..This Sex Toy Costs $60K–Honey, Are You Listening? =-.