What is cheating? Is cheating being involved with a married person who is separated from their spouse or do they have to wait until the divorce goes through before they are freed from adultery? Or is cheating only when a couple commit to each other in an exclusive relationship and covertly stray outside of that relationship? Is cheating sharing explicit texts or emails of your private parts? Or is it casual flirting in the office? Is it a lingering kiss that just shouldn’t have happened, but you really wanted to, or is it the ‘Monica Lewinsky,’ where oral sex isn’t considered cheating?
I have had friends and colleagues who have been involved from both ends – being cheated on and being the cheater, or even being the one who is free to be with whomever they like and they chose to be involved with a married person, and really, for anyone to judge in this mad mad world of high stress living, is just unacceptable. Essentially, people cheat because they want to feel loved and wanted… (and there will be a small percentage who do it ‘just to see if they can get away with it.’)
The statistics are quite amazing… approximately 50-65% of men under the age of 40 will admit that they have had an extramarital affair and 45-55% of women under the age of 40 will admit to having an extramarital affair. However the statistics show that they have reason to believe that it could be as high as 70% of married people have affairs in their married life, but some just chose not to admit. There was also a survey of 300 Christian pastors where 23% of them admitted to having an extramarital affair in their married life. That’s 69 pastors, who devote themselves to the Faith of God, and use it to gain forgiveness for their sins. Who knows how many of them have been involved with child molestation?
So where do we draw the line? Do we accept that there are no reasons for our marital vows if so many people are having flings behind their spouses back? Do we change the marital vows to state something in the order of financially supporting each other, emotionally supporting each other and creating a family bond with each other knowing full well that there is more than a 50/50 chance that either one or both of you will step outside your marital bond and betray each other in an outside intimate relationship, so there is no point in including a fidelity clause?
I know we all step into marriage with the fairytale thoughts of ‘this person is the only one for me,’ but things change – financial pressures, children, domestic responsibilities, work responsibilities and extended family responsibilities… some have additional responsibilities beyond all of it, including looking after children or family members with special needs, having domestic violence issues, having their own health problems or even something traumatic like a car accident or a death in the family. No one is an island… we all have a plethora of issues going on in our lives that most people aren’t aware of. And unless you communicate honestly with your spouse, have intimate times with your spouse that’s beyond the 5 minute quickie before you go to sleep, affairs are going to happen. People want the romance, people want the date nights, people want to feel ALIVE!!! And if your relationship is stale, routine and either your or your spouse are feeling totally used, unappreciated or are going through a spat of depression, and neither of you communication your concerns, your relationship as you dreamed it when you were married will fall flat on its feet.
The law has changed in many countries to not cite adultery as a reason for divorce – in fact many states and territories all over the world issue out only ‘no-fault divorces.’ It changed back in 1970… before then, one in three divorces were because of adultery… I’m sure it’s more now but the statistics aren’t there to prove it. However, the consensus is that 60% of all marriages will be affected by adultery – if it’s a one night stand or a long term affair…. it happened. So why are so many people shocked by the fact that they were cheated on? They should be more shocked that their marriage stood the test of time and that neither of them felt the need to cheat on each other because their love for each other was so true! But if there was cheating, didn’t they feel at some point in their marriage or relationship that something wasn’t quite right? That they were fighting unnecessarily or they weren’t on the same wavelength with each other? That there were some mystery behind some actions, or the lying was constant?
I’m not saying I condone it or that I disagree with it… what I’m saying is don’t be so surprised if it happens to you at some point in your life. I know it’s not nice when it happens, I know it can literally destroy who you thought you were as an individual and as a couple. I know trust gets lost and is hard to rebuild, and I know life can be so painful because of it… but if you don’t communicate with your partner properly, it’s more likely going to happen than not. Cheating is not the end of the world… it makes you grow stronger and makes you gain clarity in what you want in life… We are all going to be hurt by cheating at some point in our life – if it’s not us individually, it will be a family member like your son’s wife, your daughter’s husband or even your own parents. Accept it as a part of life and learn to move on from it…
Statistics Reference: http://hfbcshrinkwrap.wordpress.com/2007/12/23/adultery-statisitics/