Monday, May 5, 2014

Is it still cheating if the cheater’s partner isn’t aware of it?

This blog post isn’t going to sit well with a lot of people, and understandably so.  My little disclaimer: I do not condone cheating. It sucks.  Being cheated on is one of the worst feelings and there is no way to justify that behavior.  And sorry to be blunt, but people who cheat suck, too.  Yes, all you cheaters out there suck.

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:,,,,  


  1. Well...I think that the act of cheating becomes an act of cheating when the person cheating know's that they are cheating. Cheating doesn't have to mean hooking up with another individual, it could simply mean if you have to hide something from your partner then you are cheating. But I think it becomes a "real" thing when the person who is DOING the cheating knows they are doing something (and that can be ANYTHING) behind their public partner's back. I mean...I commend you for publicly opening this can of worms...props. :D

  2. My grandmother likes to tell me the story of how she always knew that my grandfather was cheating on her. Her proof being that he sometimes didn't come home or that when he did, he smelled like another woman (my grandmother is a bit senile and i like to believe that even if that were true, my grandfather was smart enough to not make it so obvious). But that she never let him know that she knew because she loved him too much to let something like sex get in between them. She also told me that I should do the same with who ever I end up with. This is an argument we always have because I for one hate the idea of cheating. I always said that I would hurt (physically) the soon to be ex the way he hurt (mentally) me, but times four. However, I do know people who have been cheated on and still somehow found a way to forgive their other (though they never let them forget it). So, though the act is there, and is being counted, the reaction is probably what counts more... what ever that may be.


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