On Infidelity


(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


6 thoughts on “On Infidelity

  1. Actually no, I’ve never lusted for someone outside a relationship. I’ve had opportunities, never interested me.

    I guess players and slime are not naturally monogamous. And I’m fine with that if they’re clear on what they are and keep to their own kind. But if you don’t want to be monogamous you should not be afraid to say so and if your partner does want that then s/he can choose what to do next.

    The thing about cheating is that it’s cake eating. Most men don’t leave for the bit of fluff. Women leave after lining up a replacement and shoring him up. It’s just like embezzlement or cheating in a game, you want the upper hand.

    Sure anyone can cheat. But some of us choose not to. Anyone can kill another person too but most of us don’t.

    • First off, thanks for the comment. I was actually having a conversation about exclusions to this would-be rule I laid out above, on Twitter. You can see that here: https://twitter.com/Jack_Rayner_III/status/441785539449348096

      As you can see, I’m willing to accept that exceptions exists. Your point in specific, though, makes me think that I should add footnotes to the Silly Moralist, and possibly another category, different from asexual: FRIGID. That should speak for itself…

      On to my footnotes on the Silly Moralist: Sometimes people become so silly about adhering to the mores they’ve grown up with—and failed to question—that their fear of being found out and exposed as a *thought-criminal* causes them to go into a deep state of denial about their reality. Being exiled from your group because of a moral violation is bad and all, but is it morally upright to lie to yourself and others about what you really are?

      My definition of “lust”, before we continue, is simply “sexual desire”. To lust is to be sexually attracted. Now I’m going to be returning what’s yours, in kind: You say feeling sexually attracted to someone outside of your relationship is what “slime” does, as if it’s some sort of sickness, but I feel perfectly safe stating that it’s the contrary. It’s people like you who have the problem.

      Individuals that says they’ve never thought “I’d love to hop on that” about anyone outside of their relationship are either 1] terrible liars, or 2] sexually dysfunctional. Which ever it is that you fall under, have fun with that…

      • Haha at Nephila being sexually dysfunctional. My husband even told his OW how great our sex life was when she did her fake sympathy act that he must be missing out after we had a baby. It was a very flattering description and led her to say she didn’t want to know (and later deny she knew).

        I can see an attractive man and identify the trait. But my response to it isn’t to lust after him. It’s to say he’s good looking (like a painting) or that my cousin or friend might like him. I have never lusted after him or seen him even in fantasy as a partner. I have a partner I’m attracted to. That excludes any potential partner from that kind of view.

  2. I agree with this and as someone who is personally in that sweet spot I have to say that opportunity and the chance of completely getting away with it are probably the biggest obstacles. Do I always take the opportunity? No. Will I ever leave my husband for someone else? Hell No. He is everything I ever wanted in a man. Will I ever sleep with a guy who has a gf or a wife? Again, hell no. The key to getting away with it is involving the least amount of people as possible and creating no emotional ties. It’s just sex.

    • Your comment brings up a point that compliments my whole “just ’cause you love someone doesn’t mean you won’t find others sexually attractive”:

      Just because you lust (and possibly even sleep with) people other than your partner doesn’t mean you don’t love them anymore, nor that the relationship should just be thrown away.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and adding to the discussion.

Brevity and Civility

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