Sunday, 9 February 2014

Winners Never Cheat

In doing research for today's blog post, I learned something quite shocking. There is a lot of literature that is about adultery (that alone is not so shocking, it's ripe for drama, of course there are stories about it). However, did you realize that more than 90% of the characters which are shown as adulterers and as sympathetic characters are female? In literature, if a man cheats then he's a monster, a bastard and a cretin, but if a woman cheats, she's much less likely to be seen as a harlot. That is, in literature anyway. In the real world, cheaters across the board are portrayed quite harshly.

In fact, it's because of that real world demonization of cheaters that has lead me to this research, because today I want to talk about infidelity. I've never cheated myself, but I do know people that have and I want to talk about what I know. However, many of these people I'm about to talk about are friends of mine, and I don't want to risk them getting in trouble. So, for their benefit, I've changed their names to those from classic literature and Greek mythology. See, I'm not here to tell you that cheaters are good people. Then again, I'm not here to tell you that cheaters are bad people, either. Today, I want to talk about those relational indiscretions. Because, in my own experience, when someone cheats, it's not always as simple as "Well, they cheated because they're bad people." In fact, sometimes, it's the cheater that's the victim. If you don't believe me, well, the Word of the Day is: 'ADULTERY'

Adultery /ə'dultəree/ n. Voluntary sexual relations between a married person and anyone other than his or her lawful partner.

Before we go too far, let's all remember, some people are arseholes. I know that there are people who cheat because they are selfish. They don't have enough respect for their partner, they're not empathetic & they just use people for sexual pleasure. These people are terrible people and they do exist. So while my goal today is to open your eyes to the plight of the adulterer and how they may be the real victim in some cases . . . this is not the whole story. Life and love are complicated, so there's no one answer. But next time you hear about someone who has been unfaithful, I want you to consider the following.

The other day, I was talking to a friend that I will call Circe. Now, Circe is a good girl, she's been hurt in love before and she's lonely, she really wanted to find that special someone. Now, the reason she was talking to me was because she had found a guy, that I'm calling Odysseus, they'd met online and they were really hitting it off. I thought it was great for her and I congratulated Circe, but she was still a bit worried and I asked why. She explained that the object of her affections, Odysseus, was actually living with his partner, whom I'm calling Penelope. Circe went on to say that she was in a bind because she didn't want to break them up, but Odysseus had told her that Penelope and he would argue all the time and they never did "boyfriend/girlfriend" stuff anymore, and that he wanted to break up and that he wanted to be in a good relationship. However, because of his financial situation, if he left her he'd be on the street, he was trapped. To Circe, this was a moral dilemma. She'd either be leaving him stuck in a horrible relationship, or she'd be the 'the other woman' and complicit in his infidelity.
So I told Circe what I'm going to tell you: If he is unhappy, that's not really a relationship. I mean, there are no broken hearts if Odysseus leaves Penelope, they hate one another. But Odysseus was falling for Circe, really hard. If he leaves her, then it'll break both of their hearts. I mean, be honest here, is Odysseus really a bad guy?
It's not like Circe is a "home-wrecker". This is a household that was already wrecked. Who really broke this relationship? Am I supposed to believe that this is a story of adultery and "sin" because Penelope was there first?

What about this. I know a guy from school whom I'm going to name Jay Gatsby. Now, in school, Jay loved this girl that I'm going to call Daisy. They were boyfriend/girlfriend for a while, but that didn't work out. I think Daisy cheated on Jay at school, but I also think he was on drugs pretty much every day, so nobody was the good guy, this was a bad thing. They were children, what do you expect? Kids are stupid. However, after school, I got to know these people a little better, starting with Daisy. I came to understand that she's a fun girl, she's a bit silly and flighty at times, but she's a good girl. And she fell for this guy, whom I'm going to call Tom Buchanan. Now, Tom is a prick. I gave this guy the nickname "Cockbite" because he is really an annoying bastard, I've heard stories of aggression, but that's irrelevant because I don't know if it's true. But even if it's not true, he is not a good person. He's self-centred, arrogant, egotistic & loud. Now, for reasons that I cannot comprehend, Daisy fell for Cockbite. Sorry, I mean Tom (I have to stick to the names I've made up for these people, sorry), and eventually, Tom proposed to Daisy, she said yes and they were engaged. However, before their wedding . . . Jay came back. He'd been doing his own thing for a while, he's a bit flighty like that, but he came back to see how his school-friends were doing. And, after getting to know Daisy again and catching up on old times, they slept together. I don't know the sordid details, but I don't have to, I know that they talked, the spark came back and they had sex. And not just once, a few times. Yet, she then left, Tom and Daisy got married, and she's Daisy Buchanan now.
Now, this sounds like it's not a great example, and the truth is that it's not. Daisy Buchanan and Jay are not "great" people, sleeping with married women and lying to their partner like that. But the thing is, this is human.
I know that Cockbi- . . . sorryTom is a bad guy. I also am sure, because Tom is so arrogant, if Daisy told Tom "I slept with Jay", I think he'd punch her in the face. I think he's that kind of guy, that kind of a horrible prick. I don't know if he's hit her, but from the way he acts I know that he doesn't treat her as well as a loving partner should.
Jay isn't really the guy for her either, because he was a drug addict and he's not much of an achiever, but he does love her dearly. Now, I'm not going to say that Daisy is completely in the right, because she's not. But . . . I can't blame them, because Daisy wanted that intimacy from Jay, which Tom couldn't give her and she wanted more than she had. These are all broken people, doing the best with what they have. I can't look at this story and go "Well, she shouldn't have done that and he shouldn't have slept with her" because it's just not true. In a perfect world, either Jay would get his act together and be the man Daisy needs, or Daisy would leave Tom and get a real man, and Tom would just . . . I don't care what happens to Tom, so long as it happens far away from me.

Or, a much harsher example. I know a man I'm going to call Zeus. Now, Zeus married a woman that I'm going to call Hera (no, it wasn't his sister, don't read too much into these allonyms). Now, these two had been married for a very long time, they even had a whole bunch of kids (Eris & Eileithyia, Hephaestus & Hebe). And they were a family. Now, Zeus, he cheated on Hera. He slept with a woman I'm going to call Io. He also slept with a woman I'm calling Gaia. In fact, I think he even slept with someone I'm going to call Lamia. Now, on the outside, it looks like Zeus was a terrible person. Who would cheat on his wife with so many people?! But that's the thing, as I've been trying to explain throughout this post, it's not that simple.
See, Zeus loved Hera dearly, he loved her with a passion. However . . . Hera was a bad person. Every second of every day that Zeus went home, Hera would abuse him. Mentally, emotionally & physically, she would blame him for everything wrong in their lives, she would control him & she would lie to him all the time. Zeus just wanted it to work, he tried to get them to go to counselling, but Hera refused, since she thought they'd call her crazy. He tried to make it work, he moved house twice and even changed jobs because Hera wanted him to make more money. He did everything he could to make her happy, yet she would constantly abuse him, and she even started taking it out on the kids.
Now, he wasn't cheating on Hera because he was a bad person, he wanted it to work. As far as I'm concerned, he was just craving that kind of emotional investment that he just wasn't receiving from his partner.

I'm hoping it's obvious by now, but just to be sure, let me spell it out:
Sometimes, people cheat on their partners because they're trying to get from other people what they should be getting from their partner.
Odysseus wanted love from Penelope, and didn't, so he found it in Circe; Daisy wanted Tom to care about her more than himself, he didn't, so she found that kind of devotion in Jay; Zeus just wanted to be happy with his wife, Hera, but all he got was abuse, so he looked for it (in other goddesses) and I'm happy to say that he is now divorcing Hera, because he's found true happiness with his new girlfriend, who I'm calling Europa.

See, the Beatles were Wrong. They have that famous song, with the line "Love is all you Need", well, that's bullshit.
All of these relationships? They started with Love. Once you've felt that flutter in your heart and deep desire for another person, you crave it. That's the reason we enter into relationships, because we want love and we need the love of another person. But it's a drug, we get hooked on it, even when we're with people that are bad for us, because we don't want to risk losing that love.
But relationships are about more than that. They're about chemistry, reliability, amenity, sexuality, joviality & equality - all of these and probably more. People crave love, but they need care, emotional support and happiness in their relationships as well. If they don't get what they're looking for in their partner, they will seek it out in other people.

This isn't just about sex. Occasionally it is (as I said these arseholes exist) and those people deserve your ire; if I wanted more sex from my partner, I'd tell my partner. So, most of the time, I'd wager that people are cheating because they feel like their partners are not giving them the emotional investment that they want in a relationship. Because as the title says "winners never cheat". If you're in a good relationship, your partner won't cheat on you.
Sometimes it's a bad relationship because the adulterer doesn't respect their partner, but sometimes it's because the adulterer feels like their partner doesn't respect them.
Just because a person cheats, it doesn't mean they are a bad person. Some adulterers cheat because they're looking for that missing piece of the puzzle hoping it will complete their relationship. Of course, if you've found yourself cheated on, I'm not saying that you need to give them a second chance and blame yourself; love and life are complicated and there's no one answer to every problem.

Some people think we need to blame the adulterer every time (especially if it's a man). Yet, if you look at the bigger picture, you'll start to see - as I do - that adultery is often just a symptom of a worse disease: unfulfillment.
Or, perhaps their just an unfaithful sack of shit . . .

I'm the Absurd Word Nerd, and this was kind of a heavy concept, especially since we're approaching Valentine's Day. So I'll try to lighten it up for my upcoming post, okay?
Until next time, I'm going to go tell my girlfriend how much she means to me.

1 comment:

  1. It's uncanny how characters from literature can stand in for people in real life, especially the Greek gods. You wouldn't think that a Zeus and Hera existed, but the Greeks seemed at peace with knowing that marriage was not a guaranteed sanctity.

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