Tuesday, March 6, 2012

monogamy + cheating = BLOW OFF?

I can't remember the first time I realized that not all marriages and relationships automatically end if someone cheats. I always assumed that if someone were unfaithful in a serious/monogamous relationship, then the other party would never ever entertain the thought of forgiving them. I think the first cheating a-ha moment I had (as cheesy as it sounds) was in that super sad Meryl Streep/Renee Zellwegger movie where Meryl has cancer and Renee's all pissy about her dad and Meryl says something like "there's nothing about your father that you know, that I don't." And you're like, holy crap, just because she never left him didn't mean she wasn't aware of the affairs. One True Thing: Netflix it if you want a good cry.

And then there was that whole comment Elizabeth Edwards made about John Edwards when she sat down for an interview with Oprah-- back when she planned to stay with him despite his philandering. She explained she wasn't going to leave her husband for the one terrible thing he did in their marriage when he'd done so many other things right. And even though we all know how that turned out, her logic sort of made sense to me at the time. It seems like the longer you are with someone and the more tied together your lives are (kids, finances) the more forgiving you become.

The 31 year old-- don't have any kids, if you don't count our dog--me would run like the wind if I found out the H bomb was having an affair. And I'd like to think my attitude on monogamy would be the same ten, twenty, thirty years from now. But is that totally naive of me? Is cheating just one of those things that's more common and inevitable than we even realize? I don't know. Next to physically abusing your partner, I personally believe being unfaithful is the worst way you could damage your relationship.

In a way, our attitudes about cheating all boil down to the way Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston have been perceived since Brangelina-Gate. Jolie is a full on humanitarian that uses her celebrity to shed light on terrible things happening in the world. Aniston does bad movies and Smart Water ads. But she's always going to be more liked and respected...because she didn't steal anyone's husband (although I think Heidi Bivens would feel differently about that.)

So, what do you think guys: Is cheating ever forgivable? Is it a case by case thing? Should you break up with the person or just get a free pass to even the score? Comment below!

11 comments:

  1. The key to forgiving an affair is the amount of people who know about it. Sometimes its not the betrayal but the embarrassment. If nobody knows its easier to forgive & forget. Sometimes.

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  2. Having never been cheated on, to my knowledge, I can't say for sure what I would do. But I think every ounce of self-consciousness would boil to the top and I would never feel completely safe again with that person.

    Also, ONE TRUE THING was the first movie I ever openly sobbed at in a movie theatre. My mother was REALLY embarrassed.

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  3. I've been cheated on once, by my ex-husband (whom I divorced because of the affairs). But really, it was his behavior in the aftermath of being busted for cheating that sealed the deal with me leaving the marriage. The way he handled it proved him to be a selfish, immature, dishonest man and that was totally more disgusting to me than his dalliances with other women. Perhaps, if he proved himself to be remorseful, understanding and supportive/dedicated to me in the aftermath I wouldn't have left.

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  4. Wow, thanks for your comment anonymous. I've never thought about it that way, but it totally makes sense. if the person lacks remorse in the aftermath or can't comfort you or understand your pain, then how can you really muster forgiveness. my hats off to you for leaving.

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  5. I also like what Anonymous has to say about the lack of remorse. That has to be the hardest to take. I personally can't imagine forgiving cheating; the cheating would just linger beneath everything. I might feel differently 20 years into a marriage but, generally speaking, I don't forget/forgive such profound betrayals. Not with friends and certainly not with loves. There are simply too many other productive ways to express hurt, boredom, dissatisfaction, etc.

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  6. There seems to be a wide range of definitions for what constitutes "cheating." Is it a drunken kiss with someone else at a bar? Must it involve genitals? Is it just having a secret emotional connection with someone that has nothing to do with genitals?

    I think it depends on the form of cheating and the specific situation between two (or more) people.

    In my view, there is a HUGE difference between a drunken one-night-stand that you readily admit the next day (very forgivable, especially given that the person has been totally honest about it when he/she could have gotten away with it) and a secret, six-month-long affair that involves serious feelings, lying and constant deception (not so much, because that person is not to be trusted if they can deceive you for that long). To even compare the two seems, to me, to be ridiculous. But others would not necessarily feel that way.

    Saaara, it sounds like you would kick your husband in the balls in either scenario. But I guess you never really know until it happens to you!

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    1. Totally agree about the two different scenarios, I dont know that i could recover from either, but i certainly could not forgive a full on affair or a relationship with another person. That would be lie upon lie upon lie. it would be kick in the balls for every lie kind of thing.

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  7. You must read this article about "infidelity." Either this guy is a freakin' saint (because the writer is an incredible narcissist and whiner, and just look at that photo she posed for) or this story is a fraud. But this woman is also this week's featured "Modern Love" writer (that is how I found this article).

    Saaara, read it and let me know what you think! I find it rather "icky" and written in bad Harlequin romance form.

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  8. Please send me the link, I would love to check it out!

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  9. That is so strange -- I did paste the link in, but it has now disappeared. And the PDF of the full article appears to have disappeared from the Web. But here are a few links explaining the idea(including one to the author's Web site):

    http://marciadesanctis.com/

    http://marciadesanctis.com/vogue-another-man/

    http://webegirls.com/bodybeauty/fashion/whats-wrong-with-me-this-month

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    1. I am still looking for the article, but I contacted Marcia and she was extremely nice and approachable. Love that the internet allows us to reach out to established writers so easily. I think b/c it's vogue she can't distro the article freely, but i'm still trying to hunt it down. I did read her modern love piece which i have to say gave me goosebumps. thanks again for bringing her to my attention!

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