The other day I overheard (OK, I was eavesdropping) on two lady's conversation in a coffee shop and one part caught my attention.
The first lady was talking about how she or her friend (I couldn't tell) had recently been cheated on (I guess for the second time). Her friend replied, "Well, you know what they say: Once a cheater, always a cheater."
And I thought, "What does that even mean?" I mean I have said that before, but at that moment, I realized that I didn't even really know what that meant.
Does it mean that once you have cheated on someone, you will always be branded as a "cheater" because of what you did? I mean, that's reasonable. It's not like you could go back an uncheat...unless you had some mystical Delorean that you could time travel in.
Or does it mean that once you've cheated, you will always be inclined to cheat again because your moral compass is somehow lessened by the fact that you've cheated? That is where I became stumped.
On some level, I say, yes, that makes sense. I've known girls who have been cheated on (well, I have been one of those girls) and then taken the guy back again. I'd said, "If he was able to do it then, he'll be able to do it again" (I probably should have been taking more of my own advice than giving it out, now that I'm looking back on it).
I do think there is a great deal of truth in what I said, though. I mean if a guy was able to justify cheating on a girl, he obviously doesn't really love her, right? I think in many cases, yes. There are some guys who are so filled with douche that they could cheat on their girlfriends without blinking an eye. But obviously, every circumstance and person is different.
We, obviously, are human. Humans are mammals. All mammals have...urges. Males seems to have WAY more of these urges than women do. And sometimes it does happen that their physical urges become so intense that they can prevent them from thinking logically (I call it using their little head instead of the one with brains).
In those cases, the guy might really love his girlfriend, but he just isn't a strong enough person to control his physical urges. Part of me wants to say, "Aw, I'm sorry" and just forgive them for that. But on the other hand it's like, "No! That should not be an excuse! Man up and keep it in your pants!" If you REALLY love someone, you are able to keep your physical urges in check no matter what. Because those are just physical urges. And the urge of the moment can lead to the sorrow of a lifetime for one or more people in that relationship.
I've been thinking about this more and more because on one of my favorite shows, Parenthood, one of the characters (Crosby) cheats on his fiance who he has a child with. Crosby is definitely not the most mature guy, and he was starting to get cold feet before his wedding. Then a beautiful girl shows up...dim lighting...a few drinks...bow chicka bow wow...and he cheated on his fiance with this woman.
I was so devastated. Partly because I know how terrible that feels. It is one of the worst feelings in the world to give yourself completely to someone and then have them basically tell you that wasn't enough by getting something extra from someone else. I could NEVER cheat on a guy--even if I didn't like him that much. I just could not do that to someone. I know some people view sex as something that is cavalier and insignificant because it's "just physical." But it's not to me. It is really a spiritual connection between two people and one of the most intimate ways to express your love for someone. So when you have that connection with someone, but then have that with someone else, it almost negates everything you had with the first person you were with.
I was ready to bash Crosby's head into a wall until I started to see how devastated HE was and how he realized the magnitude of the mistake he made. He basically started going mildly insane trying to win his fiance back. He sold everything he had to buy a house. Then he fixed it up, spending hours on hours doing repairs to make it perfect for his fiance and their son. It was really heart wrenching to see someone that passionately in love and determined to win someone back.
Cheating is a mistake. There is never a time when it's alright or excusable. If you don't want to be with the person you're with, TELL them! That would hurt a million times less than being cheated on and finding out about that later.
But mistakes are a part of life. We learn from them and grow stronger because of them. In Crosby's case, he made a HUGE mistake by cheating on his fiances. He realized that and decided to change himself for the better. I think he saw the ramifications of his actions and everything that he lost because of them, and because of that realized that he never wanted to experience that again.
So, you know, maybe he needed that to happen. Maybe he needed to have that experience for him to really be the best, most devoted and loyal husband that he could possibly be. It really sucks that his fiance had to go through that, but maybe in the long run it'll make her happier.
Or maybe I am just completely and utterly crazy and completely wrong haha.
That's just the thing, it will always be a gamble. This a person we're talking about. There are no absolutes when it comes to a person's behavior.
If you're with a guy who just has no respect for you and is cheating on you knowingly and willingly and is not coming clean about it and wanting to atone for it...I'd say drop him like it's hot because that is WRONG and nobody deserves that.
But if you're with a Crosby....well, I don't know. I know how important it is for us to forgive. But forgiveness doesn't mean forgetting. And as much as I always try to believe that everyone can change and become a better person, sometimes it just doesn't happen.
I'm not saying that cheating is an unforgivable. But to me, if you forgive someone for cheating without any sort of amends or ANYTHING, what does that say about you? It's like you're saying, "It's ok for you to treat me that way." That person might learn a lesson from it. And maybe it'll stick for a while...but eventually they might do it again.
Any person who views cheating as an option obviously isn't ready for a serious, committed relationship. Yes, they can change. But that needs to take place NOT with the person they cheated on. I think that part of changing and learning from that experience comes in part from being away from the person you cheated on. It gives you a totally different perspective.
Here's to having faith in love and fidelity.
P.S. if you liked the topic of this post, my friend Simeon is also doing a few posts on the topic of cheating. Be sure to check out his blog HERE