We realize that all circumstances aren’t equal when it comes to cheating, but at what point does the offended party have to take a look in the mirror? How much responsibility should the people that have been cheated on take? Did they ignore signs?
I think everyone who dates a cheater should learn something from the experience, and that learning is the responsibility the cheated-on person bears. At the end of every relationship, most of us look back and reflect on the experience (sometimes not right away), and we should. We look back at what was good, what was bad, what worked well, what went wrong. That’s always our responsibility in any failed relationship, for if we don’t do that, we learn nothing, and we will never have successful relationships. We will merely continue to repeat the mistakes of our pasts.
So if someone has already dated a cheater, he/she should, upon reflection, become familiar with the signs. Thus, if she/he enters another relationship and those same signs emerge, and he/she ignores them, then he/she should really examine why that is. In many cases, low self-esteem keeps people in bad relationships. In other cases, the person being cheated on may be ignoring signs because she/he really isn’t as invested in the relationship as he/she should be–or he/she simply hasn’t prioritized the relationship.
Looking back, identifying, and learning from these mistakes: that’s the name of this game called dating (and on a larger scale, the game called life).
Cheating doesn’t happen in a vacuum. When the transgression occurs, a relationship is already in crisis and the cheating is a symptom of the ailing health. This does not excuse the cheater, who must own up to his/her own behaviors [As previously discussed].
To blame the cheater is to oversimplify relationship problems and absolve the victim of taking any responsibility in the relationship. Both people make large contributions to a terminal relationship. To avoid taking responsibility for your part is ignoring a chance to identify the pathogens you contaminate all of your relationships with [For some of us, plague carrier comes to mind1]
You are responsible for the behaviors that led your partner to cheat. He/she is responsible for cheating. Both of you need a complete battery of tests to determine the causes of your malady.
So, he/she cheated on you? Good! Now your friendly health care provider, ME, will help YOU get healthy2. Upon initial diagnosis, you may be suffering one or more of the following:
- Relapsing/Remitting Selection Process Disorder: The fundamental mistake you made in this relationship was picking this loser in the first place. The cheater was clearly a poor decision maker and/or high-risk cheater, but you chose to go out with them anyway. You brought this toxic personality into your life and it is only a matter of time before their poison drains the life from your relationship. While you try to revive the relationship, he/she will be making out with an EMT [In drastic cases, the entire crew of 62 Truck].
- Ostrich Syndrome: Whenever problems arose in the relationship, you buried your head in the sand and hoped contagions would go just go away. “These germs can’t find me underground right?” But, you never engaged your partner in problem solving and he/she may seek someone whose head is a bit more available.
- Chronic Communication Cancer: Whether passive-aggressive, just passive, or just aggressive, your lack of communication skills are potentially lethal without proper intervention. If you fail at communicating, you fail your partner. [He/she is probably also failing in this area]. He/she will likely find someone who words are less malignant, then, AHEM, “connect” with them. Ever want to be listened to or be able to understand your partner? Of course you do…so do they.
- Viral Self-Centered Douchebagitis: Nothing says I love you like buying your partner a brand-new PS3 that you intend to hijack five minutes after they open the box [For some people, they are already playing it when their partner comes home. “Look honey, I bought you a present.”]. And you wonder why they spread their legs for the first waiter to ask, “Can I take your order?” Don’t worry though, this pathogen is particularly virulent. [Be prepared for that Coach purse as your next anniversary gift too].
- Asphyxiated Emotional Abundancy/Deficiency: Both too much attention and too little can be equally suffocating for your partner. When you wait on someone hand and foot, 24/7, you suck all of the oxygen out of the room, extinguishing the flame within. Likewise, if you show no affection/emotion/tenderness, your partner will go from breathless to starving for air. In either case, it won’t be long until someone else is giving them mouth-to-mouth.
- Happynessaphobia: Why are you so afraid to just be happy? I know misery loves company, but I can assure you that company can’t stand misery or your bad attitude. After listening to you bitch and complain about every little detail in your life, your partner will desperately looking for someone, anyone willing to say, “I had a good day today.” One strain of this disease is caused by the Pity Party Bacteria. Understand that your continued depression will drive your partner to sleep with the nearest circus clown…at least he is smiling. [Since most people cheat down, not up, circus clowns are a popular choice ]
- Partner’s Needs Amnesia: The best way to keep the fire burning in a relationship is to learn and meet your partner’s physical and emotional needs. If you can remember what a few of them are, you are in great shape. Some people, after time, develop a specialized tumor that puts pressure on the region of the brain responsible for remembering how to please their partner [This tumor is called, “My Big Fat Ego”]. Your partner will go through withdrawals as the tumor develops, then fall into the arms of someone who is really good…at hiding their tumor. [Come on ladies…you know you their tumor needs to be a good size, no matter how well they use it].
Doctor’s Orders: As you can see, it is fundamental to evaluate your own “junk” after you get cheated on. By following the right course of treatment, you can walk into your next relationship a little healthier, possibly even disease free. Just make sure they’ve been tested too. Otherwise, you’ll be back in my office again sooner or later…check that, just for you, I’ll make a house call. See what kind of guy I am3.
- Let us hope emotional contagions are the only plague they bring with them.
- WHOA. When I said disrobe, bend over and cough, I meant LADIES ONLY!
- Yes…clearly a giant whale penis!
I’ll make a confession here. At times I’ve been called controlling. I’m highly sensitive to changes in behavior and when I observe them I ask for an explanation. If I don’t get an answer I’m comfortable with I get the guard up and set my alert to orange. Honor your instincts, that’s my philosophy. You damn well know when something’s not right. I remember I had a girl I would make out with in my early 20’s and I could tell when she had made out with another guy just by the way she kissed. It freaked her out so I stopped bringing it up.
Honor your instincts.
I don’t condone cheating, but it takes a combination of not satisfying your partner and ignoring existing issues that lead to being cheated on. Most people cheat after they’ve given up on the relationship. People give up on a lot of things after a series of disappointments, relationships are no different. Here’s another confession, I’ve had women cheat on their boyfriends with me. The most common reason that they’re cheating? They felt neglected and wanted to be with someone who appreciated them, even if it was for the wrong thing.
The whole thing with cheating is the lying. If you’re not married you can technically do whatever you want in my book, but anyone out there on the dating scene, please just try not to lie. Sleeping around doesn’t make you an asshole. Lying and manipulating another human being is what makes you an asshole. Don’t be an asshole.
And that concludes Cheat Week, if we’ve stimulated conversation around the topic then I think we’ve done a great service. The goal of this week was not to find a right or wrong answer, it was an attempt to see the various sides of this complex coin. If one person has started to think twice about infidelity I think this week was a huge success. (I’m not usually one to soapbox… then again I do have a blog)
Thanks to all my contributors, it’s been a great week and I truly appreciate you taking the time to give us insight on this very delicate manner. – TJ