When Is It Okay to Cheat?

“I have made this letter longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” Blaise Pascal.

In order to answer this loaded question, we must first explore some of the reasons why people cheat. There’s no way I could possibly cover all of the reasons, so for the sake of attention span and time, I’ll discuss the common causes. But, first, let’s debunk a very well known “fact” which is actually a myth. Men do not cheat much more than women- the scale isn’t tipping over in the male direction. Statistics and research have proven that currently, women are cheating almost as much as men do. Another myth: Men cheat for sex and women cheat for emotional intimacy. Fact: Men cheat for various reasons including sex and emotional intimacy…so do women.

Is it okay to cheat when:

1. Your sexual needs aren’t being met (examples: sex isn’t satisfying and/or sex is boring and/or sex rarely happens).
General Consensus: It depends. Some people see this as black and white and for them, it’s a definite yes or no. Some people say it depends on how long it’s been going on for, as well as the reason why their needs aren’t being met. For most relationships and people who were co-habitating, they thought ending the relationship was best because if they got married, it would cause marital issues for the individuals who consider sex to be an important part of their relationship. For married couples, most believe that if the problem is the relationship, therapy should be considered. If physical, the couple should seek help for the medical condition first before making a decision to step outside of the marriage. If the choice is going to be made to go outside of the marriage for sex ONLY, then it should be discussed in great detail.

My opinion: I actually agree with the general consensus. Stranger things have happened! Lol. As for boring sex… if you’ve ever had REALLY great sex, it is VERY hard to go back to just “okay” or “decent” sex – you will always yearn to go back to “great” sex, especially if your sexual personality is adventuresome, exciting, and…comical; you’ve got to be able to laugh with your partner in the bedroom, right in the middle of the action. I find that some people try very hard to stifle who they are sexually to make a relationship work, and then years later, they get into trouble. Best bet? Find a sexually compatible partner or your ass WILL be cheating at some point, mark my words. Can’t say I would blame you.

2. You are the type of person who needs an emotional connection and it’s absent within your relationship.
General Consensus: No, it’s not okay. Get counseling.

My opinion: It depends. Was there a real emotional connection to begin with or was it a forced marriage/relationship? If it’s a relationship of comfort, convenience, for “show”, etc., what point would it make to go to counseling? If you’re married, I say definitely go to counseling. For other kinds of relationships, I think you should determine whether this is a relationship you REALLY want and that it’s for the right reasons….ask yourself do you REALLY love this person and definitely want a long-term commitment? If all of the above are positive answers, I suggest counseling. But, if it takes THAT much effort to build an emotional connection that wasn’t really ever there…what’s the point? I say cut your losses and move on; life is too short (or long, depending on how you look at it!).

3. You’re attracted to someone else.
General Consensus: No, it’s never okay to cheat in this situation, especially if you’re married.

My opinion: I agree that if you’re married, it’s probably not a good idea to cheat in this situation unless there’s some other things going on. The thing is…there is always going to be a handsome man or a beautiful woman around and/or someone who has a great personality. We’re human beings and we were created with love, we were made TO love! The heart has no boundaries and we can be attracted to, and love many people at once- there is no crime or sin in that…there will ALWAYS be people around whom we may be attracted to. Whether you act on that attraction is an entirely different matter. Now, if you’re in a relationship/co-habitating….I’m going to say that if it’s just an attraction, probably not a good idea, either, unless, there’s some other things going on in the relationship. An example of other things: You both decide that for financial reasons, you have to stay together, you’re staying together because one of your children has an illness and a therapist (and you) think it would be too hard for them to deal with – in those kinds of situations, why NOT date the person whom you’re attracted to? Bottom line: this is a gray area to me so I am going to lean more towards no, but leave room for “maybe, it depends.”

4. Your partner has a much lower libido.
General Consensus: About 60% of couples thought no – no cheating – their partner should just deal with it – particularly married couples. About 40% thought that it depends on the reason for the low libido – some thought the libido might be low because that partner was already cheating! Especially if sex was frequent early on and then dwindled down later on, in the absence of children. I’ll add that the person may have been trying to “sex you out” – meaning, make you believe that that is what their nature is really like in order to cement the relationship; women are NOTORIOUS for this.

My opinion: For me, this would NOT work. Some people are okay with infrequent sex – I’m not. If I have a partner/husband, I would probably want to have sex every single day, and more if he could keep up! If you’re like me, being with a person who doesn’t have the same libido as you is called sexual incompatibility, and that is one of the main reasons for break-ups and divorce. This goes for boring sex, routine, sex, sex that is non-gratifying. If you’re married, I say get help. Fast. Any other kind of relationship, run! True story: I have a friend who will probably marry a guy because he’s a good man (rare) – and he wants to marry her. They have a good relationship, get along very well, have fun together, their grown children (late teens) get along, he makes her laugh…but she isn’t “in love” with him and they don’t have any passion. They’re routine, and they are very comfortable with their situation. HER libido is lower than his, but not because it’s REALLY low, it’s because she’s not that attracted to him sexually – they just….get the job done. She knows that she is the kind of person who NEEDS good, quality sex, and she needs it at least a few times per month. So, she already knows who she is. Because of that, she already knows that she will go outside of the relationship for her needs, making sure not to get caught. I personally think this is a bad idea and I tell her so, and I remind her of a guy that I KNOW she loves- an equally good man….a man who gives her all of the passion she wants and needs. She acknowledges that I’m right, but there’s ONE THING about him that she can’t stand, and because of that ONE THING, which she won’t even discuss with him because she’s afraid to bring it up, she made the decision to go with “stability, familiarity, and security” instead of “love, passion, as well as familiarity AND security”. So, she will marry this good man who really does love her, and get her sexual needs met outside of the relationship, and soon to be…marriage. In their current state, I don’t think it’s SO bad, but the minute she says, “I do”? I can’t agree with her about this – in my heart, I believe she’s doing every single person in this circle a disservice. Married to one and wishing, pining….having sex with the other man? I understand she doesn’t want to hurt the man she’s seeing – it’s always difficult to hurt someone you care about – especially when they have been good to you, but don’t you all agree that it would be so much easier to make it work with the person she REALLY loves, desires, and feels passion for?

5. There are problems in your marriage/relationship that follows the two of you into the bedroom.
General Consensus: Get therapy.

My opinion: In a marriage, I agree – get therapy. In a relationship, I think it depends. Sometimes we hang on to relationships for silly, ridiculous, societal reasons that years later we realize, made absolutely no sense. If you’re REALLY in love and the sex is some throw me up against the wall, passionate sex…I say, get counseling- the relationship is worth salvaging. If it’s anything less than that and you’re not married – to hell with it – wouldn’t you rather be alone than be in a relationship with problems (or, better yet, a somewhat boring relationship) that leads to “okay” sex on a semi-regular basis? Oh, wait….I forgot….some people are petrified of being alone, so maybe not! And God help the ones who stay because they fear marriage/relationship failure because they don’t realize that with THAT mentality, they’ve ALREADY failed themselves.

6. You feel emotionally and/or sexually neglected.
General Consensus: It depends. If the couple has tried counseling and it hasn’t worked – if it’s gone on for a long time (most say 1 year is long enough), most people say to get a divorce/break-up. Some people think it depends on if children are involved…some people think that cheating will actually help.

My opinion: This is a HUGE gray area for me- it really depends on many factors. On this one, I’m going to lean more towards yes, it’s okay than no. No one deserves to be neglected.

What about “consensual cheating”?

Swinging. Most people consider this cheating. I won’t label it – if a couple wants to have an open sexual relationship and they can make it work, I say go for it. My only thing is – why be in a marriage or relationship if you want to swing? Just see each other and see other people whenever you want! Especially marriage – isn’t the point of marriage supposed to be monogamy?

Some women are okay with their partners stepping outside of the marriage/relationship if it’s just for sex and she doesn’t know about it. I’m not so sure I would be okay with that, especially if we were married. If I have a physical limitation, I think I would be okay with it- if I truly loved someone, I’d never deny him pleasure, however he might need to attain it. But, outside of that? I don’t know. It seems unfair if the woman in this situation can’t do the same, though *I* wouldn’t want another man to touch me if I was in a relationship/married/loved someone – I’m just not one of those people who are built that way. My thing is – it’s risky…what if the man in this situation begins to develop feelings for the other woman – what would that do to the relationship/marriage? Some women wouldn’t care about this, either – as long as he doesn’t leave her; there are some cultures where it’s common for the man to have a main “woman” and then a “woman on the side” or a “mistress”, and the main “woman” will know about her, but as long as it doesn’t cause any upset to her life/household, it’s all good. I know that a large number of these women are suffering from low self esteem; others will allow it in order to hold on to the man at all costs which isn’t love – it’s about something inside of her that she needs to address. One thing about this is clear: Statistics show that almost all women would stay with their husband/boyfriend if they cheated, as long as he didn’t fall in love with the mistress; women are much more concerned about emotional attachment than sex (I’ll add that some of them are also afraid of being alone). Men are much more territorial – they don’t want any man “touching” their wife/girlfriend. Speaking of statistics, most men would cheat if they knew it would never get back to their partner. Please note that I wrote “most” not “all”! The percentage of men who WOULD cheat if they knew their partner wouldn’t find out is about 97%. Pretty high, isn’t it? A piece of advice to women: Be the kind of woman and friend whom your husband/partner can be comfortable telling anything – even if that anything is that he wants to sleep with someone else/is attracted to someone. If that’s what he wants to do, don’t get angry with him. Be grateful that he felt comfortable enough to share that kind of information with you. Tell him how you REALLY feel about it – be honest without being mean and/or critiquing his desire. Don’t threaten him and don’t give him an ultimatum. Thank him for telling you and then leave it alone – continue to treat him the same way you always did. He’ll either come back and tell you he went ahead and did it or he changed his mind. Either way, we don’t own anyone, even if we’re married to them. If he doesn’t act on his desire, great. If he does and you’re okay with it because it was a one time thing (or maybe more than one time!), keep it moving and don’t beat him over the head with it since you approved it! If he does sleep with her and you let him know before hand that you did NOT like the idea, you have a decision to make: you either leave him or you stay with him. Another alternative – and I suggest this only if you KNOW you and the relationship/marriage can handle this: ask him if he wants a threesome. That way, he gets what he wants and you BOTH are somewhat in control of the situation. Again…only if you and your relationship can handle it and you would actually enjoy having as well as giving the experience. At some point I will post about how this can work in a marriage/relationship.

So to answer the cheating question, some say no, it’s always wrong, some say monogamy is overrated, some say it depends, some say as long as you don’t get caught. We’re all over the place with this. Some people came down really hard on W i l l S m i t h and J a d a P i n k e t t-S m i t h when they revealed that they have an open marriage. When I read the interview that they did, I actually understood where they were coming from. They both recognize that there will come a time when they will be attracted to other people, and if they decide to act on that attraction, they made a promise to each other that it wouldn’t be an automatic deal-breaker for their marriage – I think that’s awesome: too many people give up on their relationship without trying to make it work – probably because they were never really committed to it. I think the conclusion that W i l l and J a d a came up with about cheating is fair and…it’s brutally honest. I also think that regardless of which route a couple decides to take – whether it’s monogamy or an open relationship, I think we all need to stop judging the choice. We all need to stop judging people who we deem to be “cheaters”…until we’ve walked one mile in their shoes, we have no basis to judge them.

I’m working on two more posts – one is “Is Monogamy Overrated? Let’s Look at Some History” and the other is, “How Cheaters and The Other Woman/Man Copes”. I love the latter, because there is very minimal research done on it and I feel it’s a subject that should be openly discussed much more often. The former? Plenty of things online as well as in bookstores and libraries debating the validity of monogamy in history as well as in modern times. So….I need some help – which one would you guys like to read first? Send me a message and let me know!

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