Friday, May 14, 2010

Define Cheating

Good heavens. What is the world coming to when I’m quoting Hugh Hefner?

“When you get married, you make a commitment. I had a lot of girlfriends, but it’s not the same as cheating. I don’t cheat. I am very open about what I do . . . I think that when you are in a relationship, you should be honest. The real immorality of infidelity is the lying.”

You know, he’s right and I sort of feel like I need to go take a shower, having admitted that. Although to be fair, I used to snicker when I would hear how guys read Playboy for the articles. But now that I’m doing a Young Adult biography of a celebrity, some of the best insights I've found on this movie star have been in a couple of interviews he gave to Playboy. Hmmm. Don’t judge a magazine by its centerfold?

Anyway, to go back to Hugh’s comments about honesty in a relationship, I think he’s zeroed in on a critical issue. So much of a strong marriage is based on a fundamental trust between the two partners. I don't care what the rules of a relationship may be, as long as both partners willingly buy into them. Personally I don’t understand the appeal of “open marriages,” but if two consenting adults want to live that way, then it’s none of my business.

But what is never okay is when one partner unilaterally changes the rules that both have agreed to live by. Pardon the earthquake analogy, but surely infidelity is considered pretty high on the relationship Richter scale. Once you shake up the foundation, it’s possible that the “house” can stand, but you sure would want to bring in a contractor (or in this case, a marriage counselor) to work on the cracks that have inevitably been opened up.

Now I’ve got a question for the Stiletto Faithful. Do you consider it cheating if there isn’t any contact between the two people? Is internet flirting a form of cheating? For me, infidelity doesn’t have to have a physical component. In fact, the idea of emotional cheating sounds more destructive. But what do you think?

Marian aka the Northern half of Evelyn David

Murder Off the Books by Evelyn David
Murder Takes the Cake by Evelyn David


  1. It depends again on the original contract. There are some people who are natural flirts. It's just the way they interact with others. If that's agreeable to both sides, then it is not cheating. However, if that is not the way one partner normally behaves, what choice does the other have but to believe there is more going on? The "cheater" has made it pretty clear that the interaction is beyond the ordinary when they break out of character, and therefore they are cheating. IMO =)

  2. You're right about the ground rules: once one partner changes them without telling the other, all bets are off. I think emotional cheating, internet cheating, and anything else that makes your partner feel betrayed is cheating. But then again, I've been known to have opinions that are very black and white, or so I've been told. :-) Maggie

  3. It's probably a topic for a whole other blog -- but I think that as I get older, some of my opinions are more "black and white" -- some might even think judgmental :-) And on other subjects, I've gotten much more "whatever works for you is fine." Sort of concrete wishy-washy :-)

    Another blog should be a response to the idiot McGhee who said yesterday that ALL men cheat, that it's the nature of the gender. Wow -- talk about sexist. It's not okay to generalize about women or men. On the other hand, and here's the judgmental me emerging -- consider the source of the "wisdom."


  4. I've read a bunch of studies lately that say emotional cheating is more devastating to a relationship than physical cheating. Although I'll bet men's and women's ideas on the subject differ (I'd venture to guess more men than women would not consider emotional cheating as "cheating"). It's just really sad to see all the famous spouses in the news lately who've physically and emotionally cheated (usually with all kinds of evidence to prove it). I wonder what kind of example we're setting for the younger generation? I still hold up my maternal grandparents' relationship as the ultimate and strive for that. They held hands, teased each other, and flirted like teenagers even past their 50th anniversary. I hope there are enough examples of that in kids' real lives to show what a successful marriage is truly all about.

  5. Cheating can be devastating to a marriage and to the cheater, because of the guilt that comes along with it.

    Another concern is all the STDs that are out there now--not just HIV (which is a definite threat), but also herpes (no cure) and Chlymidia (have no idea how to spell it) which often causes cancer. Scary, scary stuff--and not worth whatever drew the person to cheat.

    After living as long as I have, I've seen it all. Might be fun to write about, not fun in real life.