(Or “Welcome To The Desert Of The Real, Lesson 1: No, We’re Not Actually Monogamous.”)
Something that’s always earned me a bit of hate, both online and off, is my apparent indifference towards “cheating”.
Human relationships being one of my central interests, I’ve often taken the liberty to add my thoughts to discussions about infidelity. The result, usually, is that I get dog pilled by a righteously indignant mob, so intent on remaining angry, that anything I say about cheating that isn’t prefaced with an absolute condemnation of the act is taken as me defending it. I’d argue this isn’t my story, however…
My view on infidelity is that, under the right conditions, we’re pretty much all capable…and willing. Infidelity, to me, is an act of opportunity. Hideous females, or loser males, will not have the same opportunities as attractive females, or as attractive, successful males. (All of these being relative to their own environment, of course. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, after all.) So, should your man or woman fall under the latter, and feel like they might be able to get away with it, then they’re in that sweet spot, and an individual with the right mix of attractivity and proceptivity/receptivity will probably be all it takes.
All of this “Oh, I was feeling unloved”, or whatever the fuck else people say when asked why they cheated, are post-hoc rationalizations. They’re examples of what you get when you live in a culture in which the maladaptive belief that love and sex are intrinsically linked is pervasive. This belief—that a person’s ability to find others attractive is sucked out of their body when they fall in love with someone—is denialism to the max. A simple Venn diagram with the intersection of the percentage of adults in relationships, and the percentage of adults that consume pornography should quickly disabuse anyone of such a silly idea (but it won’t, since so many people are addicted to fairy tale ideas of love).
I haven’t actually defined what “cheating” is, though, so I’ll do that now:
To me, “cheating” is failing to maintain the terms that you agreed to when you entered a relationship, specifically those about how you would and wouldn’t behave with those outside of the relationship. (And yes, even in polyamorous relationships. You may remember me mentioning “polyfidelity” in my Relationship Anarchy post. Well, that’s just one example).
Whether it is as benign as holding someone else’s hand, or as specific as doing anal with someone else on Tuesdays, however “cheating” is defined should be left to those in the relationship. Since most people are terminally unoriginal though, “cheating” normally refers to intimate and/or sexual behavior outside of the relationship. That works too, I guess…
Anyhow, I believe that all of the above are things that people interested in “monogamous” relationships should be aware of. Forgiveness and understanding go hand in hand, and even though I’m repelled by the idea of sexual exclusivity, I think ending a relationship ’cause your partner stared at someone for a second longer than you’d like is wasteful.
If we’re real, though, the thought that these ideas of mine might catch on enough to make a difference is all a pipe dream. I should just leave simpletons the fuck alone. The only thing some poor souls have to look forward to in life are their Two Minutes Hate sessions, and who am I to try and take that away? I guess I just wish it didn’t entail such a strange combination of ignorance and self-hatred.
We all lust for people outside of our relationships, after all…
– Jack The Faithless