Today I have a bit of a weird, slightly off-topic, spontaneous post for you. It’s about cheating. When I say cheating, I don’t mean cheating on your math exam (THIS IS BAD! DON’T DO IT!), but more about cheating in relationships. (Yeah. Different huh? But hey, it’s a nice change.) There’s not really any specific point to this, it’s more just a (long) discussion.
For those who are unaware, both Isaac and I receive many questions (mostly anonymous) via our tumblrs every day. Yesterday he received a multitude of questions about cheating: How did he feel about it? What constituted cheating? Was it a forgivable offense? Should they (anon) pursue someone in a relationship? It was highly entertaining and interesting for me to read and made me think about it a lot. Having both been subjected to the act, it’s interesting to see how our opinions compared.
Isaac’s opinions (here and here) on cheating are pretty straight forward – zero tolerance. Whilst I agree with this stance – nothing good comes from hurting others – I’m not sure anything is ever so black and white. (Original question and full answer here).
Now you’ve digested all of that, I’m sure you’ve formulated some kind of opinion on the subject. But before you head to the comments, my brother sent me a big email about what he thinks about the whole thing, for me to post:
“Sometimes I watch a lot of movies, read a lot of shit on the internet about troubled relationships and roll my eyes at it all. We thrive off gossip and run our own ideals into other people’s matters, but the truth of it is, when it comes down it – none of us know how we’ll act in those situations (unless you have been there before, then maybe you’ll have a better idea). I haven’t been on either end of the stick when it comes to cheating (and hope I never will) so you could disregard what I say, but I’m no complete stranger to it – like everyone else, I’m just someone offering their opinion. I’m speaking mostly from what is familiar to me – friends I’ve known who’ve been cheated on (or in some cases, done the cheating).Of course the most basic of morals tells us cheating is bad. Most of you would probably raise your pitchforks and want to burn the fucker that did ‘that’ to either a) yourself, b) your friend, c) some stranger/celebrity on the internet. I’m no different, I’d certainly want to kick someone to the ground for doing so if it happened to someone close to me. (But of course I’d probably act differently if it were myself.)Sartre had a term called Coextensive Responsibility, which I took as ‘our responsibility to the world’ (its true meaning differs). What it meant to me was we all want better for each other, for a better existence in this world. We don’t want to see each other hurt (most of us don’t anyway) so we continually strive to make things right. I think that’s where that whole pitchfork momentum doesn’t work. You want what’s ‘right’ for your friend, but sometimes what you think is right isn’t right for them.When/if the cheating situation does arise, everyone tells you what’s right, what you should do, what they would apparently do if it were them, but no one’s going to know what’s best for you except yourself. Some stranger on the internet isn’t going to know what is best for you. There are no set in stone rules. If you enter a relationship by ruining another, it doesn’t automatically mean you’re doomed. If someone cheats on you, they won’t necessarily do it again. It’s not the end of the world. (It may feel it at the time, you’ll probably want to run to your friends – that’s normal, but I suggest you talk to your parents. Or at least people older than you. If anyone was to have the best advice it’s the ones who have been through a long life, who have fucked over and been fucked over.) Life goes on, and if we didn’t exacerbate the situation by talking to everyone about it and letting their opinions sway us, it wouldn’t be nearly as hard to deal with. You know what I think? People cheat. It happens. It’s not uncommon. It’s hard to deal with. But in the mucky grey of broken relationships I think it’s a lot easier and a lot better to work things out with just the two people involved. Don’t let others get in your head. We overanalyze and overhype situations to become more than what they need to be. Level heads matter in these circumstances. Also, don’t get on your high horse – it sucks to be the cheatee but we are all capable of being the cheater.”