Once upon a time, I was caught in a messy web of infidelity. I wasn’t directly affected of course, but I contributed to the whole scenario where I was THAT girl who third-wheeled. (knowingly) It was honestly nothing to be proud of, and it still sears my memory like a hot iron rod against flesh, but those are lessons I carry with me – reminding myself that I am anything but a doormat, an assertive, strong woman capable of wise choices. Besides the fact that I was the nightmare of the woman in that relationship, it was the intent of the man and surely the reaction of the woman that compelled me to write this. Both weren’t positive – obviously – but I am not just admitting the mistake. I am attempting to eradicate the “question mark” so hear.
Pulling up a random search online about ‘why do people cheat’, Google immediately displays a handful of articles on why do men cheat. (C’mon Google, don’t stereotype) So I thought I’d just make a few calls and send out mass texts to my social circle asking about reasons why people cheat.
Generically, cheating is seen as a splinter that drives two individuals in a relationship far apart and destroys any notion of a love so pure and unadulterated. It is the incorrigible act where one decides to render themselves unfaithful by involving a third party in a place meant for their spouse. Stereotypically, only men cheat, and they cheat for sex. As always, I have a lot to say. So let me try and break it down.
Millennials have grown to accept that women cheat too, but they are also thoroughly convinced that women do not cheat for sex. Well, not the majority. Here’s something – women have equally robust sexual drives like men, so it’s not fair if we are going to pull the “emotions only” card for us and leave the rest to the opposite gender. It is notable that one of the men’s prime purposes is to chase, and women’s is to be pursued. With men loving the chase, it is said to be acceptable for them to relentlessly pursue what they avidly seek, also known as love; sometimes through sex. And the women, are they meant only to accept what’s been given to them and refuse to explore further?
I used to be a firm believer about cheating happening due to the lack of sex in a relationship. As the time goes by, what were once qualities that stood out in a partner are seen as faults, hence the strain of physical intimacy through mundane living. However, sex isn’t the vital part about cheating, like some online articles claim. Emotions puppeteer the whole process, whether you choose to believe it or not. For example, I would be more worried if I were told that my partner had been speaking to another woman; rather than he kissed another woman. Physical attraction has a shorter fuse compared to the emotional comfort someone can provide – even for those who are already taken dutifully. I would question myself and my lack of emotional support for my partner, that he had to seek elsewhere – something that goes beyond just filling the void with sex.
Speaking of filling voids, yes, men do have voids that they need to fill. Well, surprise. It is not just the women who cheat for love, as believed. Women conventionally cheat for love, but sometimes the idea of it is warped by wanting validation – which then ends up in one seeking that through sex with someone else out of their relationship. Before two people can get to the stage in a relationship where they accept the flaws emanating from both sides, it is a normalcy to want to seek out a different kind of thrill to challenge their relationship without being caught. For the regular ones, it is to find that missing jigsaw piece and hope it keeps them further sane. Hence, I believe in intent than action, the “why” more than the “what”.
I asked myself if humans were indeed made for monogamy and seeking soulmates. I highly doubt that we were made for “just that special someone” all our lives, but I also think that we do have a point in our lives that we settle with someone who complements and deems us as freedom – not without constant battles and experiments carving the way, of course.
More than often, apart from the “cheaters” and the “cheated”, there are also the “cheated on with” who face the backlash equally. It gets worse if it is a woman. Society questions her morals to cheat with someone in a relationship, but that very society fails to realise that she was probably that missing jigsaw piece that rendered temporary ownership of emotional validation for someone else. Again, this section is debatable, and I’m going to have to shelve it for now.
There are men who cheat for love and women who cheat for sex, quite to the contrary of what we believe in but again, the majority of the society do not take sides of either gender when it comes to cheating because it is an act that is not self-explanatory. Everyone has an intent, and the judgement is of case-to-case basis to why it happened. We must also educate ourselves on the third side of the coin, that infidelity doesn’t equate to the lack of love – it is sometimes about the sexual, emotional and mental novelty. At one point, even I felt the need to explain myself to every kind soul who slut-shamed me, but I realised that I don’t have to redeem myself because I knew my reasons – and I know myself better than to be a damsel in sickening distress.
Don’t mishear me, it’s an action that doesn’t justify as being noble, but at some point, we do agree that even the wicked happen for reasons – some of which go unheard because infidelity is negatively intense in its’ own form. Then again, we all are each a different anatomy – to each their own.