However... now that we have that out of the way, I want to challenge the way we think of cheating and lying. I wonder, does the act of infidelity even take place if the partner doesn’t know about it taking place? Is adultery only real if the partner being cheated on knows that he or she has been cheated on? Is it the partner's awareness that manifests the action of cheating?
Have you ever heard any variation of the saying, “I’d rather hear an ugly truth than a pretty lie”? For those of us who value honesty and trust, this makes sense. We want to know the truth even when it hurts, even when it is the last thing we want to imagine, even when it will tear our hearts into pieces. We hate lies and deceit. But let’s think about this. Would we really rather hear an ugly truth than a pretty lie if the lie is so pretty and so believable that it makes us so incredibly happy? If the answer is still yes, is this not in some twisted way choosing sadness when we could be happy, even if it is under false assumptions? This really gives meaning to "ignorance is bliss," an idea that perhaps more of us should be on board with.
Think about the people you know who have been cheated on. The majority of my friends who have been in unfaithful relationships stayed even after the big reveal. Knowing the truth didn’t change their minds, just the way they felt. The relationship, the whole thing that should be in question when cheating occurs, didn't end, instead the wounded’s feelings of confidence, joy, and trust died. Wouldn't it be better, in cases like these, for the partner to just not know to avoid senseless suffering?
A little comic relief for you folks (Note how happy the green lizard is!)
In contrast, there are some people who have no confirmation or factual evidence of his or her partner cheating, yet he or she has a gut feeling that this is the case. Isn't experiencing this emotion - the feeling as though one is being cheated on, the feeling of doubt and distrust - enough to be "real"? Isn't it all the same if someone feels she is being cheated on, whether or not she is actually being cheated on?
So now I ask again: is it really better to hear the ugly truth rather than a pretty lie? If we believe the lie is real, isn’t it real - at least in our minds? As Cristof says in The Truman Show: “We accept the reality which we are presented.” We believe what we want to believe, and I’d argue that our thoughts and the way we interact with, relate to, and perceive the world is far more real than the world itself.
Truth and reality are relational; there needs to be a connection between the object or action (in this case cheating) and the perception of it for it to exist.
I’ll conclude by asking the age-old adage, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?”
Thanks for indulging in these wild thoughts - don't hate me!
And P.S. - the answer to all of these philosophical questions is chlamydia. Chlamydia is why cheating will always exist even if the partner doesn't know. STDs don't stop for nothin'.
Image sources: wowmuseum.org, savvyandsage.blogspot.com, funnyasduck.net, thecultureenthusiast.blogspot.com, aspiringgentlemen.wordpress.com