My friend was cheated on 9 times by the same guy. And took him back. 9 times. We were 16 at the time when this happened. No one knows the full extent of what happened, I’m not even sure she knew the extent but it ranged from kissing to sex. At that time I never knew what made her take him back. Was it that, at 16, having a boyfriend, no matter how he treated you, was more important than being single? Was is low self-esteem? I have no idea what it was that made her take him back. I thought to myself “what an idiot! As if he’d ever change.”
Whether he did or not I’ll never know. Frankly I don’t really care. But it got me thinking about the nature of cheating, the way we react to cheating and the nature of those who forgive.
Forgiveness is a big thing. It’s so easy to react with hatred and vengeance when we’re betrayed by those we love and trust. I don’t know if it’s human nature but there’s certainly something ingrained in most of us that would make us react this way.
When I was younger, before I started dating, I thought cheating was black and white. You did it, you deserved to be dumped and hated for life. Once a cheater, always a cheater, right? Well, sometimes, but not always.
Whilst I don’t condone cheating, I wouldn’t put all situations into the same box. Surely there are things to consider before deciding to toss your (ex) significant other to the curb. The situation in which is happens matters. The way you find out matters. The guilt/remorse/apology you receive or don’t receive matters. These are things to consider.
Again when I was younger, I thought I’d walk if I were ever cheated on. Now I’m not so sure. I’ve always been pretty good at differentiating between physical attraction and intimate attraction. I can understand that people may love someone so deeply but be physically attracted to someone else. And I can understand wanting to act upon that attraction.
But what do I know really. The only cheating I’ve ever experienced was a boy I dated for 3 months, who I didn’t see or speak to in the last month, who then called me up to say he had a new girlfriend. I didn’t really care. Figured we were over when neither of us could be bothered contacting the other. I thought that it was nice that he bothered to tell me actually.
But I do think about what I’d do if it happened now. Would I walk? Would I stay? There are so many variables and situations to consider. But I don’t think I would. And I don’t think that makes me weak or stupid. I think it makes me someone who can understand that people make mistakes and can forgive them for it. But really forgive it. Not bring it up whenever a fight occurs and use it as ammunition. Because that’s not forgiveness.
I understand that for some, cheating is the be all, end all. And I can respect that. It’s a personal choice which changes depending on the person you’re with, the circumstances, your previous experiences your morals and your values.
Who knows. Maybe if/when the time comes, I’ll think differently and walk. I don’t think I would. I would hope that my partner has enough respect for me to tell me what happened himself, as I think I would for him.
Do you think you’d walk if you were cheated on? How would you feel if you did the cheating and your partner walked?