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I was reading some time ago about how Arnold Schwarzeneger cheated on his wife, Maria Shriver and ended up having a child with one of the members of his staff. Now, I’m not going to get into the pro or cons of Arnold, or any of that. I’m not even really going to comment that much on that affair and the child he had with someone else while married. What I will say is that I always found Maria Shriver to be a beautiful woman who is extremely intelligent, and any man should have been as lucky as he could ever be to have been married to her. I don’t care that he’s Arnold and could have probably any supermodel he wanted. He had the one any man would have killed to have had as a wife, and he threw it away on something stupid. That’s all I’ll say on Arnold. That’s not what I wanted to talk about here.

What I did want to talk about is the very nature of cheating itself. It’s something I just don’t understand. I mean, I understand psychology and all of that, but what I don’t understand is why someone would do it when it serves no purpose other than an immediate, stupid need. Now, I’m not the most experienced individual when it comes to relationships, but when I’ve been in them, they were exclusive for me (at least for me), and while I may have had bad thoughts at the time, especially when someone else who was extremely attractive seemed quite interested in me, I never considered cheating as an actual, viable alternative. Yet, I know without a doubt that I”m a rarity at this. People cheat all of the time.

And that drives me nuts. I’m not married, mainly because I’ve never found anyone that could stand me long enough to ever consider doing so. Okay, there were a few in the past that probably could have made that leap with me, but let’s just say that I’m more of a loner, being a writer and all that, so I’ve never succeeded in making something like that work long term. But not once has a relationship ever ended because I decided I wanted someone else. The logic of that completely baffles me.

Which then brings me to the belief that if I ever do get involved with someone, she’s probably never going to be convinced that I’m legit and not cheating, and my supposition of that falls on the obvious fact that so many guys cheat, especially guys that should have no reason to do so whatsoever. You’ve got people like Hugh Grant, with someone like Elizabeth Hurley, and he goes and cheats with a skanky hooker. I mean, I just don’t understand it. The logic makes absolutely no sense.

There’s an argument that goes that men are only as loyal as their options. I hear this one a lot. At first, I used to hear it from comedians, but then I started to hear every day people using the phrase. And if it’s true, that really says horrific things about the average guy, because it basically means that we aren’t to be trusted AT ALL, EVER. I could understand if you’re in some loveless marriage, or that your wife has suddenly decided to become anti you, but those cases are very specific ones, and for all other logical reasons, the marriage should be ended there anyway. Even in those cases I don’t advocate cheating; I advocate divorce. I figure that if someone is going to be that upset by his current circumstances that he’s going to cheat, he needs to be brutally honest and then just end the relationship completely. Living a lie has to be a horrific experience, and I can’t imagine myself ever doing it. How others could do it is beyond me, yet so many people don’t seem to have that much of a problem with it.

Over the years, I’ve come across a lot of people who have stretched the boundaries of relationships. At one point, I hung with a open marriage crowd, and I was fine with that. I mean, in these situations, no one is cheating on anyone because everyone is aware of what is going on, and everyone is consenting to the relationship dynamics. It’s the sneaking around and deceit that I completely do not understand.

I come across it every now and then in my normal daily life, and from time to time, I find myself getting drawn into circumstances that drive me nuts. I’m talking about where someone is a friend who happens to be cheating on his wife or her husband, and then I’m asked to lie because the spouse might bring up a question that could reveal the dishonest behavior. People don’t seem to understand why I get really upset whenever I’m brought into something like that without my approval and any previous discussion. It’s literally asking me to cheat in a relationship where I get absolutely nothing out of it for doing the bad behavior, which not only goes against every fiber in my being, but also doesn’t get me anything out of the dynamic as well.

But back to the question. Why do mean cheat? Is it because they constantly want something forbidden to them? Is it because of a need to constantly fulfill a sexual desire? Is is because they feel a need to do something immoral, dangerous or wrong? I would hate to think that answer is that it’s because they had the oportunity, which makes us nothing less than Pavlovian beings, capable of being manipulated so easily by any manner of incentive. There’s an old joke where a woman claims she’s not a prostitute, but then some businessman offers her an absurd amount of money to have sex, and she relents. He then asks her to do it for the original offer or some nominal amount of money, and she says, “Sir, what do you take me for?” And he says: “Madame, we already established what you are. Now we’re just negotiating the price.” In other words, it only takes one time to be a cheater, and once you are, you are forever condemned to be one, no matter how much you might tell yourself otherwise.

What bothers me is that there are so many people out there who have no qualms about this. And yes, I understand that gender is not necessarily the distinctive factor either, as women cheat as well. That doesn’t make me feel any better, however.

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