Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thoughts on infidelity

I started typing out a comment to this post by Paul, but it turned out to be so long, that I figured it needed it's own post.

Paul wrote the following with regard to people who cheat on their partners:

"if you were so incomprehensibly foolish as to freely, and while sober, promise someone that you will remain faithful to them, then you should remain faithful to them. No excuses. You made the promise. Keep it.

That's Plan A.

In life, Plan A doesn't always work, and so most people always try to have a Plan B. Here, then, is Plan B: If you do cheat on your partner, then do so in the most ethical and responsible manner still possible."

In one of the comments, brandone stated:

"I think that anyone with the self-awareness and conscientiousness to successfully pull off Plan B also probably has the inner resources to hold fast to their promise from Plan A."

In principal I agree with brandone. But there is more to it for me than that. I also firmly believe it is the responsibility of the person making the promise to keep it. Therefore, if person A cheats on person B with person C, then person C cannot be blamed for this. Person C never made any promises to person B, but person A did. Does this make sense? It is fully person A's responsibility to keep his/her promise.

Having been around the block a few times, I know that if I feel a strong desire to cheat on my partner, there is something inherently wrong/lacking in my relationship and would consider that serious cause to break up.

Nothing is more important to me that the need to trust completely and be trusted completely. I would therefore also question the long-term viability of my relationship if I felt I had reason to be jealous (i.e. was worried about the possibility of my partner cheating).

I was in an extremely abusive and controlling relationship for several years, and both my son F1-1 and I am still paying a very high price for that. I will no longer put up with jealousy from my partner, it is simply an indication of lack of trust. This "I'm only jealous because I love you so much, you should be worried if I don't care any more what you do" is utter nonsense. And how about "I trust you, just no one else?" Bullshit. Cheating takes two people, and if you can't trust anyone with me, you don't trust me.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't find anyone else attractive, it's just that I choose not to act on it. In fact, I have found it is a great diffuser of any feelings of attraction to a "person C" to just tell my husband about it. "Hey sweetheart, you know, I think person C is very cute." Suddenly a level of mysteriousness and secrecy disappears and the attractiveness changes into something funny, and my husband and I can joke about it.

In short. If you promise not to cheat, don't. If you can't keep your promise, you shouldn't be making any promises. And then maybe you simply don't belong in the relationship you have.


Paul said...

Hi Makita!

I pretty much agree with you here. People should not make promises they do not have the will or inclination to keep.

Yet, after having been cheated on by a couple of different women, the thought occured to me that, well, if they were going to cheat, they certainly could have done a better job of it. That was the inspiration for my post on "Plan B" -- what to do if you decide not to live up to your promise.

Sorry to hear you were in an abusive relationship! That sort of thing should never happen, but is nevertheless all too common. I'm so glad you got out of it!

makita said...

Hi Paul,
Yep, I'm very happy to be out of that hell.

I suppose if my husband would cheat on me, we would have to sit down for a serious discussion about whether we're in the right thing, and I would be inclined to say "no way."

It is a little more complex with children in the mix, especially if like me, one of them has special needs, but I don't think the children are well-served by their parents being in the wrong relationship.

I guess I am kinda black and white when it comes to this cheating business.

Trust is a strange thing. It can be lost in a split second, and it takes years to get back. In fact it may never reach the exact same level as before again.

Anonymous said...

Things aren't always so black and white Makita. It that works for you, then fine. But it DOES NOT apply to everybody else, no matter how strongly you feel about 'if you make a promise, keep a promise' statement. Relationships can be reasonable good enough to stay in but bad enough to cheat that don't have to end in divorce because of a made up 'rule'.

makita said...

Of course, everyone needs to do what works for them. My opinion is valid for me only. You're more than welcome to disagree. It's just what's worked for me, for more years than I'm willing to admit.
My rule is just that: *my rule*. And I'm the only I require to live by that rule. I know of people who have worked through cheating issues. For me that simply wouldn't work. Wanting to cheat is one thing, actually making that choice steps over a boundary. And for me, there just isn't any turning back once that boundary has been crossed.
That may sound like black and white to you, to me it means that if you want to cheat, you had better be willing to live with the consequences.

I strongly believe in "live and let live" and I do not expect anyone else to live by my rules.