A few years ago I wrote a post aimed at women who cheat and how they give non-monogamy a bad name. It’s something that over the years has come up time and time again, and the reason I wrote it pointing the finger at women specifically is that I feel there is a huge discrepancy between how we treat men who cheat, versus women. And thus, I want to address this point again, but from a different angle now that I have grown a little older, wiser, and if I’m honest a little bolder with my recent life experiences.
Firstly, whenever I hear the sad news that a friend of mine has experienced cheating, the first thing I do is calmly remove myself from the situation and slowly gather information before forming any opinion. I have learned that being Switzerland is a far more valuable place to sit than just picking sides and quickly reaching out to both parties in a quest to plant my flag on the winning side. I am always available to listen, and provide any insights when asked, but as I have mentioned in previous posts, I do not go out of my way to seek out drama anymore. I would rather be approached than provide my unsolicited opinions into someone else’s very complex relationship.
The next step I take, and the most important one to this post and my current gender blogging trend, is to pretend that the opposite gender is telling me the story and gauge how my reaction changes to the information (yes this is valuable in same sex couples too). And why do I feel this is so important? Because throughout my childhood and formative years, I bore witness to at least a dozen acts of indiscretions either through my mother, or hearing her talk with her friends about them. And one clear thing always resulted, a witch hunt, and it was almost exclusively towards the male. Whether the man did the cheating or not, he always seemed to deserve it somehow. He either treated the woman badly and thus drove her away, or he was lying man-whore who should have never gotten married in the first place, or the ever common drunken mistake with the whole forgive and forget or divorce the so-and-so etc.
Growing up with this constant narrative, I began to ask myself why cheating was always exclusively blamed on the man. And further to this, why the women always escaped unscathed even when they were the ones who very often cheated. And this line of questioning started to expand further after having experiences of my own in the this very dicey place. Every single time that I have come close to cheating it has been my own doing, and I would say 80 percent of the time, the man has been the one to put the brakes on. Yes, this is full disclosure. I was very unhappy in the latter part of my last long term relationship and I came increasingly close to cheating on numerous occasions. And again, I repeat, I was the one who was in the drivers seat. And what’s more, I was the one who consciously drank excessively in order to have something to blame if I got caught or needed an out.
Perhaps I am just more self aware than many people out there. Or perhaps I just have reached a point in my life whereby I would rather be honest with myself and others than sugar coat a damn thing. Whatever the case may be, I have not actually participated in this male witch hunt. And that is definitely against the grain. Yes, it takes two people to cheat. And yes, relationships are incredibly complicated, and that only supports my theory that always blaming one side, especially the men is just wasted time, energy and makes everyone involved look even more like the assholes. So I guess where I am at right now is that cheating is an issue for the couples themselves. If you are going to form an opinion on someone else’ relationship, I don’t think it is too much to ask that you try and look at it from both sides first. Cheating is a gender stereotyped issue and thus we need to ensure that we flip the narrative and judgement every once in a while, if for nothing else, than to give hope to the future generations that cheating will be discussed more fairly and judged on individual merit and not just gender sway.
I would love to hear your opinions on this, or lessons that you have learned when it comes to helping friends through indiscretions, so please leave a comment or reach out to me on Twitter.