The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Relationships Happen: The complex realm of cheating

I personally don’t believe in cheating.  On tests.  At board games, card games, sports.  On taxes.  On a significant other.  But truth be told, everyone’s cheated at least once in their life, including me.  We all slip up sometime.

The saddest part of it all is that society has become somewhat more accepting of cheaters.  At the very least cheating has become so typical, and to a small extent expected, that it’s almost developed into some sort of mini-norm.

Media coverage of celebrity cheaters, from athletes to politicians to movie stars, has saturated popular culture. Because of this, society begins to fail to see that cheating really is wrong.

Not to stray too far off topic, cheaters in intimate relationships, I would like to focus on the biggest issues that surround infidelity: How people cheat, why people cheat and what should be done with those who do cheat.

I have never been cheated on and I have never cheated on someone.  Then why am I the one writing this article, you may ask.  It’s simple, I know people who have been on the receiving and giving end of cheating.

I’ve observed enough to know what happens when someone cheats.  I bring an unbiased point of view to the subject, plain and simple.

I like to believe that cheating on a significant other falls into two major categories: emotional and physical.

Emotional cheaters are typically looking for attention because they feel some sort of disconnect from their current partner.  These types of cheaters seek out someone who will listen and who can offer a shoulder to cry on.

This mode of cheating usually involves telephone calls, e-mails and the ever so popular, and highly evident, text messaging.

I have actually had some personal experience with this particular type of cheating, and I wasn’t even aware that any cheating was going on in the first place.

EJ, his real name, was a friend from high school.  It wasn’t until after we graduated that I really started to take notice, but I quickly learned that he was taken.

I just as quickly learned that he and his girlfriend had frequent and persisting problems.

One random night, EJ and I started to communicate via text message.  We continued on into the next day, week and even month.  Then I finally asked him a simple question, “So why did you and your girlfriend break up?”

“We didn’t break up,” he simply responded.

The jerk was still with his girlfriend.  The nature of our conversations led me to believe that he was single.  I was beyond shocked…and disgusted.

I thought that our conversations had meaning behind them.  Little did I know, all he was looking for was the emotional attention he obviously wasn’t getting from his girlfriend.

Even though I knew that I had technically done nothing wrong, the way he had behaved made me feel like I was somehow the “other woman.”  And that was something I wasn’t down with.  I quickly cut off communication with him.

At the other end of the cheating spectrum is physical infidelity.  This, for the most part, is pretty obvious.  But there are plenty shades of grey when it comes to what constitutes as physical cheating.

A touch.  A kiss. Oral sex.  Full on sexual intercourse.  Where should the line be drawn?

Some may consider dancing with someone other than their partner as cheating, while things like kissing and full-on sex are more concrete forms of physical infidelity.

So, which is worse? Emotional or physical?

Depending on which sex a person identifies with, each type of cheating may hold a significantly different meaning.

For example, women tend to be more emotional beings who like to verbally connect with people.  When a woman is betrayed by her partner through feelings it may be as though she’s lost a piece of herself, because of the emotion backing the connection she thought she had.

Men on the other hand are a more “show” then “tell” type of being.  Men may feel ultimately betrayed if their partner is physically attached to someone else, because this may prove that a man has lost a sort of dominance over his partner.

I can’t say for sure why people cheat, trying to do so would take years of research and frankly I have better things to do with my time.  But I do have a couple theories.

There are some people who simply don’t want to go through the tedious task of breaking up with their partner.  These people are just waiting for their partner to break things off first.  They figure that since the relationship is dying, they are free to do as they please.  (Case in point, EJ.)

The appeal of getting caught may also be one of the reasons people cheat, the adrenaline rush, the taboo nature of it all. Doing something forbidden.  But once the act is done…then what?

Should the repercussions be the same for someone who kisses their non-partner versus someone who sleeps with someone else?

It’s hard to tell.  On one hand there’s the old saying, “Once a cheater, always a cheater.”  But there’s also the offhand chance that people can change.

I believe that the nature and frequency of infidelity is very telling.  If it happens once and is not very serious then maybe, just maybe, forgiveness can be considered.  But for chronic-cheaters, kick that person to the curb, stat.

Personally, I think that all cheaters should be shipped off to some deserted island where they can all live happily ever after and can cheat on one another.

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