Bank of Infidelity

Watching TV is helping me get back to my roots a little bit. By that I mean that I’ve been thinking more and more about love- my practical head and mended heart are starting to make room for my romantic nature- again. I’m a little scared, but I think it’s good. Honestly though, as much as TV has been a help in this process, the dramatic times of TV couples has also contributed to my fear. Case in point…

I’ve been wondering a lot about infidelity. My TV couples make it so dramatic; the real life ones make it so casual. I wonder which ones are right. I want to start out by saying that I think cheating is wrong, for many reasons (and yes, I have done it- helped other people do it- and had it done to me). When you cheat, you lie- and when you lie to people, you limit their choices. You leave them on the outside of their own relationship- and you hurt them. But there seem to be different situations where people feel like cheating is acceptable. Let’s have an example….

TV couples are all about the romance, for the most part. So a lot of the time, cheating is portrayed as something the characters do because the way they feel for the other person is so strong that nothing else matters- not husbands, not wives, nothing. They are seen as people who simply get swept away. I have no idea if this happens in real life; it sounds scary to be honest. To be in a committed relationship, and have responsibilities and meet someone that makes you stop caring about everything you’ve built- that’s some really strong emotion. TV couples seem to handle it well though. Most of the time they get busted- but then they just switch partners- and they are portrayed as people who got carried away by love- and then somehow it’s not so bad. The person they cheated with becomes their REAL love- and the person they had built this entire life with is just the comfortable person that they settled for. If only it were that simple. In real life, this comfortable person that you settled for usually doesn’t know that that’s what they are to you. So swept away or not, cheating still seems like a pretty shitty thing to do. Moving on…

Real life couples give cheating a much more modern feel (and yes, I do know actual couples where one or both of them cheat). The underlying theme for a lot of real life couples who cheat is that it’s okay as long as they take care of their responsibilities at home. Apparently, as long as you do your part to keep the illusion of your happy household, it’s okay to get it (it being sex, emotional guidance, peace of mind, etc.) from someone else. I know people who have used this calmly and seriously, as a practical argument. It’s okay to distance yourself (physically, mentally, emotionally or any combo of the three) from someone that you’ve built a life with- as long as you pay the bills on time, or cook dinner every night, or give head on Thursdays, or whatever you do to keep your house running smooth. This is one of the most illogical arguments in the world to me. My home is my sanctuary- whomever I share it with, should share in my peace. The moment that’s not the case, I’ve got a major life decision to make. So we’ll continue…

Another theory for acceptable cheating that seems to be shared by TV and real life couples alike is that cheating is okay when your relationship is unhappy. When you can’t stand your partner but you’re staying for the kids, or because your parents will be disappointed if you divorce, or because you don’t want to go through the trouble of untangling your finances. Whatever reasons you give yourself, you stay- and you feel like this martyr move that you’ve pulled entitles you to some breaks from your “miserable” life- so you mess around with other people. I never could grasp the concept that cheating is a prize you’ve won, that somehow it’s owed to you. Maybe because that concept is stupid. And pretty childish…

Now I’m sure there are other reasons. In fact, I know there are. When I cheated, it was because I was immature. I was feeling ignored, and I wanted him to feel ignored. I was hoping he’d wake up, be jealous, pay attention to me. Of course I realize now that I should have been far more concerned about why I had to work so hard to get his attention in the first place. But I digress. I know there are other reasons. Cheaters are multifaceted. You’re with the wrong person and you cheat because you’re too much of a coward to change that, or you have other issues and you’re too cowardly to confront them- so cheating medicates you, eases your pain. Maybe you’re just greedy- or entitled. Maybe you just feel like you should have everyone you want. No matter what, most of the time it seems to be about something other than the other person. I don’t want to seem harsh, because I know sometimes it’s just about temptation as well. Sometimes you see something that you think is better than what you have- and you want it. I get that. But after you’ve reached a certain level of maturity, that’s all about impulse control, isn’t it? I mean, when you’re trying to lose weight and you walk past a Krispy Kreme, impulse control is what keeps you from going in, right? Maybe you’ll even take a side street so you don’t have to see that Krispy Kreme- remove yourself from the situation entirely. I know donuts aren’t people, and I know I’ve been guilty of not resisting either one… but at some point, you have to try- right?

Either way, having done what I’ve done, I’m certainly in no position to judge other people. And I don’t try to. I just would like us all to think about what we do, and how those things affect each other’s lives. And I’d like to stop being scared that my bad decisions are going to come back and haunt me… but I guess we’re all scared of that…

Back to the TV…

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