The Love Talk-Part 3

 

Part 3-Why Do People Cheat?

Uh oh. This could get heavy.

This could be a topic that gets me in a lot of trouble. There are 2 sides to every coin, and this subject is no different. This is more than a “all niggas lie” or “girls do it too” or “well I think” kind of conversation. This is a real thing that happens every day, and it does strike me as interesting how often it is, and how nonchalant it is taken. This is a topic that I personally know a lot about. I have been on both sides of this coin. With that in mind, I am going to speak to it as candidly as I can. Yes, I will tell personal stories, but please don’t just focus on that. There is so much more to this conversation. Cheating as a whole means different things to different people. Because of the multiplicity of that, this conversation focuses on physical. We can debate whether other things constitute cheating another day.

So let’s chat.

My first relationship was when I was 16 years old. I met this cute black girl at my high school in history class, and I like was done. She had long hair, a pretty face, and she was hella funny. We were a legit item. If you know me, then you know that I have always thought and felt deeper than my age. I was a loverboy back then. This was no different. We would sneak out of class to make out, and dumb stuff like kids do. Prom time comes around, and she says that she’s not going. Fine. I don’t ask questions about it, then towards the end of the year, I find out she is pregnant. Now I was still a virgin at the time, and so I know it wasn’t me. Come to find out, she had cheated, and gotten pregnant. This was crazy. This was my first experience in a relationship, but more than that it was my first time being cheated on. To be honest, I am not even sure I knew fully what that meant, but it happened. I dated another girl my senior year, she played me too, but it’s not worth all the details. Anyway, I move on to college, and started doing what other college kids were doing. I would go to parties and such, but for the most part of my first year and a half of undergrad, I stayed firmly in the friend zone. Over time, I changed my approach, and things picked up. With this new confidence, I had zero regard for relationships. No chill at all. Matter of fact, me and my homies would joke that “if it ain’t no ring, it ain’t no thing.” Basically, everyone is fair game, with the exception of married women. And that’s how I lived. I wish I could tell you the number of times that I heard “Don’t tell my boyfriend/fiancé about this…” while I was between the age of 18-22. It was more often that it should have been. But I didn’t care. The next time I dated, I was as faithful as I thought I could be. I hear rumors about things, and still being a dumb ass, I said nothing. There are certain things that are triggers for me. When I feel some type of way, I would shut down instead of dealing with things. This was no different. I remained quiet about what I had heard to the person that I was dating at the time, and I reacted based on what I assumed was being done to me. To this day, I couldn’t even tell you if the stories were true (not that it actually matters, but just understand my perspective). We broke up because I was insecure about it, and too scared to face it happening again. I played the “God told me to” card, because who is going to argue with that at a Christian college. I couldn’t face confronting it, because I had already checked out. I end up in a relationship 3 months later (I guess God moved fast). This was the longest relationship I have been in to date. This is probably the one I reference the most because there is so much that I learned from it. I think I have referenced it in this blog actually. Anyway, I was in it, and everything was cool. I realized that once you are in a relationship with someone, everybody wants a piece of you. I don’t know if being in a relationship makes people more attractive or what, but it was coming from all sides. So 6 months into the relationship, I broke it off. Coincidentally, it was right before the summer break. It wasn’t a coincidence. It was intentional. I didn’t want to feel guilty about cheating, so I broke it off to make myself feel better. So I did what I did over the summer, and then we ended up getting back together. So stupid, I know. Either way, things were good for a while after that. I wasn’t looking elsewhere, I was being good and faithful, and we were sleeping together, so no issues. That lasted until the last year of the relationship. I found myself at a place where I wanted to get out of the relationship, but I was too scared to bring it up. I don’t know if she wanted out too, but either way, that’s where we were. I started to entertain female “friends”, and eventually, I end up doing the one thing I said I would never do to her. I cheated. Multiple times. It was as if the first time opened up this portal, and I thought I could do whatever the hell I wanted. It was stupid. Thankfully, she had the balls to do what I couldn’t, and we broke it off. Yea it sucked, but I wasn’t even sad about breaking up with her. I know, it sounds stupid, but I really wasn’t. I think it was more the fact that I wasn’t in that space anymore. I had become so comfortable with what I was doing, it was like the breakup literally broke up what I was doing. I lost friends because of it, I lost homies, me and one of my closest homeboys got into a literal fist fight because he heard about what I had done with his girlfriend at the time (people do crazy things when they aren’t thinking). That was 6-7 years ago. I am long removed from that. I have matured immensely in that time frame, and the man I am today doesn’t work like that. We thank God for change. The question from this narrative though, and even something that I think about when I think about my past, is why do people cheat? What is the reasoning behind all of it? How do you find yourself in that point where you make a decision like that?

So I asked some people that I know and trust why they think that people cheat. I gave them a survey, and asked them to write down 3 reasons why people cheat, among other things. Just to add perspective these are single, engaged, and married people, all colors, and all sexual orientations. All points of the spectrum. The top 3 responses for why people cheat were given. Keep reading.

1.     FEAR. Most said that they cheated because they were scared. Scared about the future with their partner. In their state of fear, people make a mistake with someone who is not their partner. Such an interesting perspective. It is human nature to act out when backed into a corner. If you feel trapped, it does make sense that a person would act out of character in that moment. Fear covers a multitude of things, and so being scared of anything could make someone do something that is outside of their character to do.

2.     LACK OF COMMUNICATION. How often do couples go into therapy and the complaint is that their partner doesn’t listen to them? Not hear them, but actively listen. Any relationship has to have communication as the important thing, if there is not communication between the 2 of you, then they will communicate with someone else. Someone else could be their friends who talk shit, it could be another person that is attracted to them, many things. To hear people say that something as simple as their partner not communicating with them led them to cheat is amazing, but so real. There is so much truth right there in that moment.

3.     LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY. I was surprised by this response, but I am glad to see that this was discussed. Real friends don’t let friends do stupid things. Many said that in the times that they had been unfaithful to their partner, that their friends had encouraged them. That’s a sad reality. If your friends are real, they will challenge you to be a better person. Why be in a relationship if you don’t want to be? Just be single, and live your life. Friends who actually care about your life won’t let you be that person. They will challenge you to do better for yourself, and your mate. If a friend of mine is talking about cheating, I encourage them to break up. In all reality, if it’s worth the risk to cheat, it’s worth the risk to break up. We gotta keep each other accountable.

4.     FINAL THOUGHT. There was one response that I heard, and it really was something to think about. Others referenced this idea, but none would put it into words the way that this was. One person said “monogamy is an unrealistic and unhealthy expectation in relationships”. Is that true? I wonder. Is it too much to ask for people to be with just one person? Are we as humans wired to be polygamous? I believe that many of the thoughts on monogamy come from a western Americanized view of relationship. Because many trace their beliefs back to religion, and more specifically, Christianity, it has been taught that monogamy is the end all. Is that truth though? The bible shows entire cultures where polygamy was a norm. Men and women alike would engage themselves in polygamous relationships. When did it become wrong to have more than one partner? Tradition states that a person should only have one partner, but what about when all parties are in agreement, and they engage in polygamous relationships. Is one healthier than the other? Is monogamy unrealistic? Should we just all assume that all people cheat, and not even call it “cheating” anymore? I don’t know. I wonder about it though. Some couples allow for their partner to be with other people without any love lost. So how is it that certain sections of society are ok with it, while others aren’t? It makes one think.

So in conclusion, the question is why do people cheat? Honestly, I have no idea. Even when I did it, I couldn’t tell you why at that time. I didn’t care. I was being selfish. It took years of me finding myself to realize why I did what I did. Even now, if I am honest, I would hope that I would do the right thing, but it hasn’t been tested. Since I don’t go out looking for it as I did in my younger years, I do wonder within myself if the idea of being faithful is just something I missed. Am I wired to be that person? I honestly don’t know, but I hope not. I guess all we can do is hope. Hope to do the right things, and hope to be true to ourselves in the process. My opinion? Don’t cheat in relationships. If your relationship is worth it, don’t be stupid. If you want to fuck around so bad, just be single, and do you.

B.A. Scott