Chicken Little
Which came first, the cheater or the egg?


By Shannon Ray

What do we consider cheating? Is it the actual physical act of having sex with someone other than your committed partner?

When you’re with someone in a committed relationship, does even thinking of someone else mean cheating? Or is the actual act only the confirmation, the exterior symbol, of the mindset which would allow it? In other words, which comes first, the cheater or the egg?

My views on cheating has changed throughout the years. Skins get thicker with time. I no longer want to meet the cheaters in a dark room with duck tape, a chair and a bat. I’ve grown-up in a sense. And in that growing up, certain situations have come into my life. I’ve been both the cheated and the cheater - and the in between. (This would be the one who the cheater cheated with.)

In all cases, it wasn’t a lack of love but a lack of commitment that was the problem. Some people just can’t be faithful; in mind or in body. Rarely have I ever met a couple that hasn’t had at least an affair of the mind - which, in some cases, is worse. Remember Ashley and Scarlet from Gone With the Wind? As Clark Gable said, “Mr. Wilkes is too honorable to unfaithful to his wife and to scared to not be.” Call me crazy, but if you’re going to cheat on me- then CHEAT on me. Don’t do it half way. If you’ve decided to go out on a limb and risk our relationship, then do all the way.

So when it comes to a 'mental' affair, perhaps the word infidelity is better suited. Cheating has a physical implication that does not truly represent its nature. Infidelity is more encompassing phrase. And it allows the insertion of a way of thinking into the milieu in which it is used. When you see the word cheating, think of infidelity instead.

The bond that holds a couple together, is strongest when there is a mental block to the idea of cheating. Once it’s been broken, it’s easier to break time and time again. A person is most dedicated to their honey when that bond is strongest - that is, the thought of another doesn’t even cross their minds. And in a perfect world, that would be great. But ours is not a utopia of great committed relationships. It is natural is it for a person who is faithful to be attracted to someone else now and then. But if the next thing you allow yourself to think is "I wonder what they are like in bed?" - then there's a problem.

Would you put a picture of a Gina Gershon or Angelia Jolie next to your lover's head while having sex? Why not? Because while you would be having sex with your partner, you would be thinking of someone else, which is universally wrong. Ever had someone call out the wrong name while in bed with you? Or have you been the one calling out for one while with another? How embarrassed were you? Why? Because it shows that you are thinking of someone other than your lover. And this is, although less egregious than the physical act, still cheating.

Sex is a state of mind as well as a state of body. It requires an active participation of the two people involved. First you mentally cheat before it happens physically. When have you had sex sober without wondering what the other person was like before performing the actual act? This progression from mental to physical is all part of sex in any form - oral, intercourse, anal, or cyber. It’s just the way our minds and bodies work.

So it is not the actual physical act of intercourse that denotes infidelity or 'cheating'; it is only the most clearly apparent sign. Cheating begins in the mind. Cheating can be entirely performed in the mind, though to a slightly lesser degree. It does not require any form of sex to be unfaithful.

If your partner is having cybersex with someone else, they are being unfaithful to you. The bond that you share will be weakened simply by the decision to share their most intimate thoughts and desires with a person other than you. And unwillingness or inability to stop only shows that they do not respect you enough to stay faithful to you. So is hooking up on the Internet for cybersex cheating? Completely!

But that’s just the way I see it. Like I said before, if you’re willing to risk your relationship to see just how green someone else’s grass is, then do it all the way. Don’t just clip their lawn. Plow the whole field, trim the hedges and clip the bushes. But above all else - don’t be a chicken little when it comes to cheating. If you're going to lay eggs, hatch them all the way.

© Shannon Ray 2004


Anonymous said...

"The bond that holds a couple together, is strongest when there is a mental block to the idea of cheating."<-- this one holds true for me and my SO.
i wonder baket merong ibang tao..babae na nga, nambababae pa. yung idea ko ng g2g e mga faithful mga yan..pero it happens pala talga na meron cheater, the cheated and the in betweens... -w1cked

firewomyn said...

@w1cked - cheating is not limited by gender. it's a social dynamics and can happen to many. i agree with the article that if you view it as infidelity, not just cheating in the physical sense, the act becomes grave.