One thing leads to another is how most exciting or destructive tale begins. So, one thing leads to another and I find myself in the midst of an interesting conversation. The all important how and why people cheat. The how wasn’t so much a mystery because one + one = two to tango. The why was like describing a coloring book to a person who’s staring at a canvas. You think you have a clue but you can’t really relate, you had to be there. Better still, you had to be them! same person, same circumstance, same experience.
One of the guy’s response caught my silent attention. “Silent”, because I didn’t have much to contribute to the conversation. In my very limited number of relationships, I didn’t cheat and wasn’t cheated on. While during my single living period, other girls might have cheated on their person with me, without my knowing (of their situationship) of course, as I don’t go after girls who belong to another, I have left apartments with pictures on the wall as I walked through the hallway heading for the door, but it could have been her brother, a cousin, her friend or her colleague, you never know. The fact of life is people cheat. Or, better still, people can cheat and some actually do. One of my mentors taught me early on “that you can, doesn’t mean you should” while his lesson was in regards to Business, it seems it is profound wisdom for itchy legs too.
Anyways, back to the story. So I just sat there posing like a fly on the wall as I learned how one thing’s led to another. Real life experiences why I should not put my hand on an attractive hot stove but instead hold on tight to my all familiar microwave. The guy, a much older guy, married 40 plus years, older guy. He said he has not cheated, if he does he knows his old lady would kill him. We all laughed, including him — I mean, he meant it as a joke right?, now thinking back, it’s quite troubling to think a group of men burst out laughing at the thought of one of us being killed, such is life.
He continued, he said for as much as he knows, the old lady had not stepped out on him either. According to him, you kind of forget to cheat. It’s not something a person thinks about (extensively) when they are connected to their spouse. Connected doesn’t mean something overly spooky or deep, though going deep helps, if you get my pun. What I understood “connected” to mean from him was a life shared. A life intertwined with your partner. You move as a unit. Even on days you were yet to perform intimately as a unit. Like a thread woven together. He ended with he could not commit such pain on the old lady (while, jokingly, she might have killed him, the news of cheating would have taken the life out of her) and my mind jotted the wisdom accordingly.
The other guys shared how they found out, actually I remember another story. One of the guys described how towards the end of his relationship, each time he had an argument with his (now) ex, she’d leave to go “cool down”. Apparently she would go cheat then return home (they lived together), in a lighter, “better” mood. Another guy shared how he messed up and how his girl found out. Fear people.
For some reason, a few minutes ago, these aspects of the discussion come flooding my mind and here I am telling you about it. What’s interesting, or more so, what stayed with me from that conversation was why would his wife kill him? You know? a bit extreme, no?
The more I think on it, the more I understand, cheating really is like being dead to a person. Even though you’re not actually dead, you know you’re breathing but you are dead to them. I imagine it’d be so confusing looking at the person because while you recognize their face, they somehow are not (no longer) who you know. I’m referring to situations where only one person broke the bond, not when both people have separate lives.
Another way to think about it would be receiving news a close friend or relative or spouse had died. You attend their funeral, open casket, you bid them farewell and smooth journey to the far beyond, you mourn them and cry once in a while. A year or two goes by, you come home and there goes this person in the flesh, alive and talking. The disbelief would be too much for a sensible mind to make sense of. No matter the justification they give you, things will never be the same. You will question every single memory you shared with them, question every single experience you had, question the life you lived with them, how gullible you were to think you were both sharing the same experience. Nothing they ever tell you, nothing would be true to you. Even worse, nothing they do would be real to you. Fool me once. To you, they’re dead and remain dead, this other person is an imposter or clone of some sort.
While myself and the guys talked about how and why people cheat, it doesn’t take much to understand the impact of that singular behavior.
Oh my, this is beginning to sound like a campaign to discourage people from cheating, it’s actually not. People cheat for various reasons.
“careless” people, “no other option” people,
“tried everything else and failed” people, “just for fun” people,
“spouse is in a coma” people, “dead bedroom” people,
“their spouse is doing it too” people,
“I want to leave but you wont let go” people,
There are all sorts of reasons why people cheat. I’m not here to judge, I’m not trying to fix the world. I’m just saying cheating happens, your mile may vary.
Human opinions are based on their level of comfort. Clearly, my opinion is based on my level of comfort (and privilege). Again, your mile may vary. But truly, a lot of people share the same privileges I have. I mean, not that many people are being forced or sold into marriages in this century, compared to the number of willing individuals. Some people are just reckless, spade is spade. Some people just cant stop themselves from pushing the excitement button. In Finance, my field, excitement is how you lose all your money. It takes a lifetime (for finance folks) to learn what I just shared with you.
It makes complete sense how the search for excitement, especially continuous excitement is how you lose your life, not just your relationship. Do you know why newbies who bet on Racehorse lose their money, compared to the professionals? because majority of them bet on 50–1 odds. This is not my thinking, this is a fact. Do your own research. Newbies are soaked in the “under dog” winning storyline. The excitement, the story of the unbelievable coming true, the rush of adrenaline to win “big”, “very big”, “a miraculous win” only the newbie saw coming. But the professionals? they’re just looking to make money, no matter how small, just come out on top. 2–1 odds is just fine.
Your thirst for excitement determines your vice.
Let’s get back to relationship and cheating. I believe I’ve clarified my stance, I’m not for or against cheating but I’ll tell you what I absolutely support.
If you have someone willing and ready to preserve what you have, be doing (continuous verb) all you can to protect and nurture that relationship because once either person steps out, the truth of it is both people played a part and both will pay the price. Radical but factual.
I don’t condone cheating, I don’t condone not cheating, I have no rat in the race and I’m not a preacher, at least not at this moment. All I am saying is: relationships are rare. True relationships, you know, the type that comes with friendship, where you actually like the person, is very rare. As JPeterson would say “do not allow your kids do things that would make you hate them”, I say do not allow your spouse to make you hate them and recently, on 21st of April actually, I learned “don’t let anger build up to the point where you don’t like your partner. Talk through everything.”
While I’m not campaigning for cheating, I am very loudly supporting the preservation of a good thing. If you didn’t have a good thing to begin with, then why the hell are you (still) together? life is complicated sure. But for those who started or currently have a good thing, both of you, preserve that sheet with all your energy, give your very best now. Once a person steps out, because they couldn’t take the dysfunction, lack of communication, lack of intimacy, once they can’t take the absence anymore and seek it elsewhere, you both will pay far more than it takes to repair that relationship — that is if you started off with a good thing.
Kids happen, jobs change, health happens, I get it but those still do not justify letting go of a good, lifelong potential, love relationship. Don’t get lazy, don’t get too lazy, be freaking romantic and present, being caring would not kill you but the alternative could!
If you had a great dating phase where you actually love(d) and like(d) the person very very much then hold on to that sheet with both hands and both legs.
Do your due diligence before you commit long term. If you don’t have a good thing, wait till you do. That’s just common sense. Some people are messed up in the head, that’s fine, they should keep it to themselves. Don’t ruin another’s life because “you weren’t feeling right”, because “you drank too much”. What?
Cheaters can cheat all they want, just don’t marry. No one is forcing you to marry, you’re jacking up other people’s lives and messing up the statistics and experience of the most profound and advanced relationship humanity can ever form. Loving your kids isn’t a miracle, you’re supposed to love your kids. Loving your parents isn’t a breakthrough, you’re supposed to love your parents. Now, to go into the jungle of life, find a complete random (you can’t marry your relative) to live your life with and then love that person? that is the highest form of human existence our thousands of years can produce, so do that sheet with the utmost respect and regard!
Do not marry someone you would want to divorce.
The societal process and procedure of getting married, especially involving the government, should be more difficult to “qualify” to get married instead of more difficult to “justify” leaving a marriage plus the financial “punishment” that follows a divorce for choosing the wrong person.
And in April, just rambling online, I got introduced to the concept of “paternity fraud”, let me tell you, my jaw is still on the floor from some of those stories I read. I mean, that was one education that’s too far out there for my naive mind. It’s unbelievable the deceit that exists within certain four walls.
Adulting aint all it was sold to be. To imagine as a child, I couldnt wait to be here. How many of my friends parents were really together even though they lived together? Where does the fallacy begin? Even Solomon couldn’t stay faithful to one wife. “If it’s not human nature” to be monogamous then why does marriage (or the failure of it) come at such a high price and penalty? I understand why “one man, one wife” was reformed and reintroduced into society, because thats a faster way to develop civilization, but why isn’t there more education and mandated mountainous obstacles for new couples to climb before they can get married? If it’s not a joke, why treat it like it is?
Growing up in church, I didnt learn much but I learned a lot. At the very least, they did a good job hammering into our young thick skulls that your yes should be yes and your no should be no. What in the heavens happened between childhood and “adult”? Is integrity still a word in the dictionary? Sometimes, I think I’m existing in a lifetime different from what should be “normal”.
Live your best life. Don’t “keep it in your pants”, give the damn pants to the person you’re married to. If you can cheat on them, don’t marry them. If you can push them to cheat, please don’t marry them. It’s better for less and less people to marry (as is becoming the case these days, check statistics of almost every data keeping country), It’s better for less and less people to marry than for more and more people to jump into horrible marriages only to break up three days/weeks/months/years later.
The best time to prevent Divorce is before marriage.
The number one cause of divorce is not finance, I know, hysterical but listen. The number one cause of divorce is not argument. Wait, don’t be in a hurry. The number one cause of divorce is not the “four horsemen”.
The number one cause of divorce is no sex and intimacy. If there’s no glue, things fall apart. It’s not science, it’s common sense.
Cheaters can cheat all they want, just don’t marry. Go into open relationships, I promise you, no one would bother, judge or disturb you. Don’t go destroying another person’s life with your dysfunction. Be disciplined.
Don’t marry, if you want to live single. It’s common sense 101.
20 years in a horrible marriage is not an achievement. It does not demand an award (yes, you made amazing kids, great, you didn’t have to be married for that).
20 years with the love of your life where you both sustain your chemistry, now that’s a medal for ages. Because with that foundation, you can go 20 more!
It could all be so simple.
But, who am I to tell you what to do. I’m just trying to live my best life, and I wish others are too, but not at the expense of someone else. Don’t mess up someone else’s life trying to make yours better. Adam Smith taught me that. Now you know too.
There is no “us” in c h e a t i n g. But, there is an i. Your actions matter.
Life ain’t fair but your life can be, to you and those around you.
Live with intent. Live in caution.
Preaching is over, coming down my high horse.