Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Adam and Eve and Betty (GBE: 45, Cheating)

So, I’m probably the only one that’s going to not write a blog entitled “Why All Cheaters are Scumbags Who Must DIEDIEDIEDIE”. But, you know me, always have to be different.

I do not believe and never have believed, that there is only one person in the whole entire world that you are destined to love. I don’t believe that you can only love one person at a time. I don’t believe that modern American concepts of morality are the only “right” ways to believe. I don’t believe in condemnation for its own sake.

I believe that no one, not even its participants, knows everything that goes on in a relationship. I believe that it is wholly possible to love two or three or more people for different reasons, but still be “in love” with all of them. I believe that we all need as much love as we can get. I believe that you should be happy with the one you’re with and if you’re not, you should leave; but I am also realistic enough to know that you can’t always just walk away; so sometimes, one relationship will overlap another.

For me to say that someone is a bad person because they engaged in out-of-relationship relations is just like me judging them for any other reason…it’s not my place. I do not know what goes on in your home, in your bedroom or in your heart.

I do not know if your husband/wife/other makes you want to kill yourself every time you hear them chewing their dinner. You don’t owe me an explanation for feeling whole and calm only when you’re with someone other than said partner. It’s not my damn business.

Now, I can smell the burning rage emanating off of a couple of you. You’re probably thinking “Stupid Kiki, you’d feel differently if you’d ever been cheated on”. Well, no, actually, I feel this way because I was cheated on. I’d tell you my story about it, but it’s not that interesting and pretty short.

Ah, heck, I’ll tell you, because this is my blog and I can do whatever I want.

I had a boyfriend. I caught him (literally, caught him) fucking my friend. I was very, very hurt. Very angry. I hated both of them with adjectives I had to look up. Then, I talked to him. It wasn’t that he didn’t (like) love me, it was just that he (liked) loved her, too. It wasn’t that I wasn’t special, it wasn’t that I wasn’t good enough, it had nothing to do with how he felt about me at all, it’s just that he also felt this way about someone else.

My point of contention was that *I* deserved to know this information, to make a decision for myself regarding my participation in this triangular relationship. He agreed, apologized, expressed his regret/fear/worry about losing me. It wasn’t that I wasn’t what he needed/wanted, it’s just that he needed her too. He didn’t mean to hurt me, because it wasn’t ABOUT me. It was about him. Of course, being both angry and hurt, I chose to walk away. I chose to find someone else who loved (liked) only me. Friend and boyfriend got married about a year later. I got drunk. They have five children. He still signs his Christmas cards “love” and I still believe him. Could I have been happy with him? Probably. He’s a pretty great guy. Could he have been happy with me? We’ll never know.

I was pretty mad at him for a long time. I blamed him for “cheating” on me and “robbing” me of what I thought was mine. Like I owned him and he owed me.

Of course, I didn’t and he didn’t. We can only own ourselves. We can only owe ourselves happiness. Is it selfish? Hell, yes. Happiness is always selfish to some degree. Even if I do something that I know will make YOU happy, chances are it’s because making you happy makes ME have I really done it for you, or for myself?

Then, also, I grew up. I realized that it’s not my place to legislate your morality. If *I* don’t like what *you* are doing, then that’s on me. I can leave or not. Would I be hurt or angry if my husband had an affair? Maybe. It would depend on the who and the why and then when and a thousand other factors. Would I instantly strike him from my life? No, that would just be silly; I wouldn’t NOT love him because he loved another, if that’s what made him happy. I don’t tell him not to hunt, I don’t ask him not to see his friend that I dislike, I wouldn’t make him choose between them and me. If being I felt that his time with another woman took away from what *I* needed from him then it would be up to me to either get/ask/take what I needed from him or leave and find it somewhere else.

I think how I feel about it comes down to the “why” more than anything. Everyone does everything for a reason, no matter how base, matter how small, no matter how controllable it seems; there is a reason for everything.

* There are “cheaters” who do it for revenge. They do it to “punish” their partner for a short coming, for not being a “good” provider, a “good” or “supportive” partner or for having an affair of their own. One day, they’ll throw their sexual conquests in the face of their partner, because the purpose all along was to hurt someone else. This kind of cheater does suck, I won’t argue with you there.

* There are thrill of the moment “cheaters”. These are the people who coined the phrase “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”. They don’t cheat to hurt their partner, they’ll probably never tell their partner. They’ll probably be wracked with guilt for the rest of their lives. This cheater, I think, can be "forgiven".

* There are the “cheaters” that can’t help themselves. Low self-esteem, prior abuse, substance abuse; something other than the sex is what drives them. Sex is the balm for their wounds. If it wasn’t sex, it would be gambling, or drinking or some other potentially self-destructive behavior. They probably will cheat until they get caught. They probably can’t explain exactly WHY they do it, they only know that they HAVE to. This kind of cheater should also be "forgiven", they need help.

* There are “cheaters” who cheat for love. Oh, yes, I said it. This kind of cheater is not a serial offender, would probably be one of the first to tell you “cheating” is wrong….and yet. This cheater probably loves their partner, or did love their partner, very much. Then, they met another. Someone they love just as much, or think that they do, or may someday. This cheater sometimes lives a double life; a man with two families in two towns or a mistress of decades, for example. Sometimes, they leave their spouse, sometimes not. Sometimes, it’s culturally acceptable (France, for example has both a long and current history of accepting extra-martial relationships as normal or even healthy). Here it’s not. Sometimes this “cheater” is in the leaving stages of one relationship when they find they love another, is it my place to tell them they must wait, if in their heart the other relationship is done?

This fourth cheater is the stickiest kind, isn’t it? How do you condemn someone for love? How do you look at a woman who’s spent decades waiting in the wings, loving when she can a man that belongs to another, simply because the other came first? Do you tell her that she has any less right to be happy? What of the married partner? Can you blame them for not wanting to leave someone they promised to love forever if they still do, in fact, love them? Can you ask them to separate themselves from their children because they love someone in addition to those children’s mother?

How can you ask someone to destroy themselves because YOU don’t feel their behavior conforms to YOUR idea of what’s morally right?

2 little kittens say Meow:

Lorrie Veasey said...

wow. interesting POV-much better than the one sided article in PEOPLE about A-Rod and Madge, or Shania "Feel Like A Woman' Twain. However: I don't know if the question is so much about dipping your stick into multiple honey pots so much as it's about honesty. As Billy Joel said-it's such a simple word.

Miss Thystle said...

Oh, yes, very true.

Mostly I meant, 'Judge not'.