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To Cheat Or Not To Cheat? Has Cheating Become The ‘New Normal’?

For an introvert like me, there are very few avenues to meet men. I hate striking up a conversation on my own, but leave me with a friend I’ve known for years, and you can’t shut me up. But small talk is the bane of my existence. I start to feel awkward and self-conscious and stunted. So the ubiquitous dating apps were the perfect things to make connections with the opposite gender, without having to show my awkward self.

Suggested read: To cheat or not to cheat: The real guide to making up your mind

All I had to do was download the apps, swipe left or right based on the profiles of the dudes, and a match was imminent if both of us swiped right. Voila! That led to private conversations between the two of us, and a chance to see if there was a ‘connection,’ to take the interaction offline. However, the second step of chatting and figuring out if there’s a ‘connection’ is the most important one. At least for me, it is.

woman texting_New_Love_Times

Image source: Pixabay, under Creative Commons License

I downloaded and installed about three different apps that were considered ‘serious,’ because I’m looking for something long-term; not a fling, or a hookup, or a one night stand. Swiping left more than I’ve swiped right, I’ve had a handful of interesting conversations, more duds than I could count, and come-ons that have left me feeling anything between yuck to feeling flattered. I guess I should’ve prepared myself for all of these possibilities. Anyway, every experience can be taken as a lesson, and I choose to see it that way.

But there was another set of men, who, on the face of it, are well-educated, well-read, well-traveled, good-looking for the most part, and hold senior positions in prominent companies. They’re even good to converse with. The only catch? They’re married. Not separated, not divorced, but actually, really married. These men, after a day or two of interactions on chat, reveal that they’re married, and ask if you’re game to have something ‘on the side’ with them. Honestly, my initial reaction was shock. But as the shock wore off, the dominant emotion that took residence in my head was disgust.

These men, who are married, who have committed to their partners, who have taken vows to have and to hold, for better or worse, are looking for ‘someone on the side.’ Why? It’s not like they’ve been married for long. The married men I’ve been solicited on dating apps were in the age group of 28 to 33. They’ve been fed up of their married life so soon? They’ve left their vows and promises they made to their partners on the way side? Is it so easy to just compartmentalize their marriage and the affair they wish to have?


Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Or are they dissatisfied with their marriage and don’t know how to get out of it? Are they stuck in marriages that were thrust upon them, courtesy emotional blackmail that parents are so adept at? Or are they just now realizing their emotional disconnect with their partner, even if it was a love marriage?

What is the reason for such disloyalty, such unfaithfulness? Has it always been like this? Or have times changed so much that people have just stopped caring about things like integrity, honor, and fidelity? Is there one answer that fits all acts of such unfaithfulness? What makes a man (or even a woman) dishonor and disrespect the vows they’ve made to their partner? Isn’t cheating, in essence, disrespecting and dishonoring your partner, to whom you’ve vowed to extend the opposite?

Don’t they see any other avenue besides cheating? Even if they are stuck in less than palatable marriages? Is it so black and white as cheating vs. being faithful to your partner?

Suggested read: 15 sad signs your man is cheating on you

Be sure that this is not a holier-than-thou rant, but an actual, honest desire to find out why this is happening. I need to find the answer to the multitude of questions that have cropped up in my head, for selfish reasons. I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m ready to settle down with someone. Hence the active search for ‘the one’ on various dating apps. And being a self-aware, independent woman who wants a partner in the truest sense of the word, rather than a mere boyfriend/spouse, I know I wouldn’t tolerate cheating and/or abuse of any kind in my relationships. These two are hard, non-negotiable rules that I know I wouldn’t compromise on, no matter the reasoning.

cheating man_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

So, the cheating. Is it that it has always been a part of the society, and that people were more discreet about who they dallied with and where? That people today are more blasé about it all, not caring if their philandering ways somehow got back to their partner? Or, are the opportunities to stray more in today’s technology-obsessed generation, with the rise of the hookup culture, propagated by the likes of Tinder?

Imagine swiping through a dating app, and finding your best friend’s spouse. Or your distant cousin, who you thought had the most wonderful spouse. Or that colleague who always made it a point to bring their partner to every office party and show them off like a prized gem.

Sure, there are plenty of avenues for a married and/or committed person to stray. Is it boredom, or the thrill of the forbidden fruit that makes them act on their desires? Or is it disharmony in their primary relationship? If you don’t like your spouse or partner, and want to live a different life, just get out and do whatever the heck you want to do. But then again, it’s not that easy to sever ties from your partner. There are so many variables in that equation, that a clean break is not that easy to come by. Many people lack the courage of conviction to go through with a divorce, even if they feel suffocated and/or dissatisfied with their marriage. And the biggest irony here is that they want to keep their ‘fling’ on the down low, while seeking ‘someone’ for that very purpose on a public app like Tinder.

But, if you knew you couldn’t keep it in your pants or your dress, why bother making that commitment at all, in the first place? Yes, there have been conclusive studies that show that some people are genetically predisposed to cheating. That they just can’t help themselves. However, you can’t blame every cheating episode on genetics alone. Even if you are genetically predisposed to it, nature and nurture do play a part in the choices you make. Oh yes, cheating IS most definitely a CHOICE.

cheating husband_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

But what went wrong? Where?

Sure, relationships have become complicated over time. The problems and issues that our parents’ generation had to deal with have compounded manifold as people have evolved over time. Our parents’ generation venerated sacrifice, putting aside personal satisfaction. Almost everything was done ‘for the greater good.’ However, as people have evolved, this notion has undergone a change, and personal satisfaction and fulfillment have taken precedence over ‘the greater good.’ Not to mention the fact that financial independence, ego clashes, incompatibility, work stress, gender roles, gender stereotypes, a desire for equality – have all played a role in compounding the problems of our generation.

But why cheat? Is it that there’s a sea change between the person you were dating and the person you actually married? Is it that it’s easier to give in to your parents’ demand that you get married to the person of their choice just because they’re good, rather than wait for the right person for you? Is it that you got married to someone thinking you’d get to live out all of your romantic fantasies, only to realize that reality and fantasy are at the opposite ends of the relationship spectrum? Is it that you realized that you just put all of your effort into having the most amazing wedding, while forgetting to think about what happens after the hullabaloo of the ostentatious ceremony is done and dusted?

Suggested read: My sojourn on the cheating website Ashley Madison

I have female friends who talk about fantasizing about other men while they’re being intimate with their current partners/spouses. I have male friends who have not gotten over their ex, but are currently married/committed, living half a life, thanks to societal pressure. I have friends who have gone all the way with the cheating bit. I have friends who are single, and find no fault in being intimate with a committed/married person; their reason being that ‘if they want to cheat, it’s not my problem.’

Such a scenario is disheartening, if not downright depressing. It makes me want to dig a hole, put a blanket over it, and hide beneath it – for all eternity! But that’s hardly the solution, is it? So what do I do? I hold on to hope. Hope that I would find a person who is averse to cheating, who thinks that showing respect to one’s partner isn’t just in principle, but in actions as well, that cheating is the worst kind of crime to commit against a loved one, that being unfaithful to a loved one is akin to ripping their heart out.

Yeah, yeah, I’m being melodramatic. But can you blame me with the current scenario that I’m faced with?

Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Article Name
To Cheat Or Not To Cheat? Has Cheating Become The 'New Normal'?
What makes a person dishonor and disrespect the vows they’ve made to their partner? Isn’t cheating, in essence, disrespecting and dishonoring your partner?
Emily Walker

Emily Walker

My first love: writing. My second love: reading. My third love: my job, which lets me indulge in my first and second loves. If not writing, I can't imagine what my life would be like. Let's hope that day doesn't come ever!