The Cheating Heart

Cheat: verb; to cheat; to act dishonestly; practice fraud; to violate rules deliberately.

With so many ways available to cheat on your partner these days, defining true infidelity has become difficult. Cheating has become a la carte. Choose from pornography, the internet, cybersex, the traditional affair… the list goes on. Society has created an outlet for our cheating ways and we all have fallen victim to it at one time or another.

Our generation faces a serious moral question than those before us: When is it really cheating? With the rise of sexual fetishes like swinging and the ménage a trois, we are left wondering if we have betrayed our partner in some way, even if they were aware and participated. In these “extracurricular activities,” you may not have directly betrayed your partner, but you have betrayed the relationship.

The rules have changed in the game of cheating and we are left without a referee. When President Clinton adamantly claimed he never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky, it was clear he felt that her performance of oral sex did not constitute cheating. I beg to differ, Mr. President. Any type of sexual contact whether given or received when your partner it not aware is undeniably infidelity.

The example of Clinton is the absolute worst degree of betrayal. Having a sexual relationship with someone else when your partner has no idea is clearly wrong. There is simply no excuse for this type of cheater. This person blames his reasoning on everything and everyone but himself. Excuses such as “I just don’t love my girl anymore” or “He doesn’t sexually excite me” are often excuses uttered by these cheats. If that is the case, then why are they still in the relationship?

I once had a friend who was cheating and when asked why he didn’t leave his girlfriend for this other lady, he responded, “She can’t live without me. I don’t want to hurt her”. Have we become so narcissistic that we truly believe that the sun rises and sets because of us for some people? In truly examining a relationship such as this, I believe that deep in the subconscious mind of the cheater, there is an emotional attachment and perhaps it is he who cannot thrive without his partner. Emotional bonds are much tighter than sexual bonds, thus the need to remain close.

We are in the age of technology and it is affecting every sex life. The internet is becoming the most popular cheating portal and instant messages and webcams are the tools of the trade. The web has made it so easy for us to find someone that tickles our fancy through endless personal ads and free matchmaker sites. Great concept for singles, however a large percentage of visitors to these sites are in a committed relationship.

A web relationship is a role-play fantasy for most. On the web you can be whoever you want. You can be 5’8, with blonde hair, blue eyes with measurements that a Playboy centerfold would envy. You could say you live beachfront in Hawaii and who would know the difference? People tell these “little white lies” to strangers on the net because psychologically they feel that if they are not truly representing their true self, then its really not them cheating.

Occasional IM’s with a person that you met online can turn into cybersex in an instant. This is definitely a form of cheating. Although you maintain some type of anonymity online, you are sharing a very important part of yourself through online sex. You are exposing your likes and desires and those should be reserved for a partner that can physically fulfill those needs. It is common practice for some to go online, have cybersex, and then finish up where the computer left off with their partner.

The net also offers a wide assortment of porn, whether it is photographs or downloadable videos. Some women consider this a form of cheating. I have known of people searching their computers fervently to find that their partner has been checking out porn sites… and checking them out often. It hurts when you find this because you didn’t know about it. If your partner had shared his interest in lets say “Back Door Bunnies”, it wouldn’t have been such a shock. If you enjoy porn, try to include your lover in your indulgence. It can be a great sexual aid and actually bring you closer in the relationship.

It’s a whole different ballgame when it comes to kinky sex that involves swinging or introducing another lover into the bedroom. These acts are more common than you may think. Swinging is on the rise and in metropolitan areas, there are clubs dedicated to the “sport”. It takes a great amount of trust and love to successfully maintain a relationship with such sexual freedom. I have to wonder though after all is said and done, is it still a form of cheating?

If your partner is aware of cheating and perhaps you have asked permission and it was granted, then it is not a case of infidelity. You and your partner have created boundaries within your relationship. Communication really is the key in these instances. It’s when things are hidden and secrets are kept when trouble hits home. Take caution that when you engage in an open relationship; it is very difficult to “close” it again, making it exclusive between the two of you. A person one day can be completely open and passive, and the next jealous as hell, actually becoming angry over your past joint endeavors. Never second-guess human nature.

I am the last person to advocate infidelity. I have seen both sides of the coin and neither is shinier than the other. However, I have witnessed instances where it made a relationship stronger in both consenting and non-consentual cases. The game has changed over the years, but ultimately you are your own referee. Develop boundaries with your partner and decide what is appropriate within your relationship from day one. Every relationship is unique and evolves over time, so it’s important to reassess your “rule book” often. Consider it “infidelity insurance” when creating the boundaries. This way if either of you engage in what the other believes to be inappropriate activity, you can always rely on the limitations you set. Chronic cheaters beware: The price of your relationship premium just may be too high for your partner and you may just be left solo because of your cheating heart.

Acceptance of cheating by society and the media has changed our relationships. I am left only to wonder if anything is held sacred anymore? Have we thrown the sanctities of commitment out the door? This is the highest contributing factor for the decrease in marriage and increase of divorce. I don’t think anyone enters a commitment with high hopes of cheating; it something that happens. I am though comforted in the thought that it is our primal instincts, our very own human nature to seek only one to fill our hearts. No matter how many sex partners we have or relationships we are involved in, or whether we have or are looking for “the one”, capturing someone’s heart is a job only one person can do. Call me a hopeless romantic… I just call myself hopeful. By Lisa Fayed



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