News brief of Sanford admitting to indiscretions with people other than his Argentine mistress reminded me to finish the thoughts I started about infidelity. (I grew bored of the topic. Maybe I can count myself out of the Teeming Millions who are obsessed with cheats.)

Cheating really is about people believing they should not have to make tough choices - some god complex or some sincere belief that they should be the one person allowed to have their cake and cheat on it too. Some people grow out of this belief. Some people never do. And this (second comment). I agree with the Jon & Kate thing, not so much with the universal drive to be unfaithful. However, the desire to loll in grass that positively sings to you of how much greener it is than the no-nonsense concrete slab you're sitting on, is a force to be reckoned with. It's a simple, primitive force.

It's not just celebs, either. Personally I think it's all the more interesting when you have a window into the life of someone that could be ... you. I think it's just another opportunity to judge (even if you judge silently) the moral codes others live by - or fail by. The need to judge to make ourselves feel better is so great that we devour their correspondence, analyze their methods, experience great schadenfreude when bad things happen to people who have also judged out loud. If we care about how hard it is for someone to find parking at Target, we are tons more curious about how that same person chose to wreck their marriage.

Thought about it this morning as I waited ... and waited ... and waited for the dog to choose a spot on the lawn to bless. Cheating is the ultimate betrayal, and the ultimate dealbreaker because it tells your (supposed) beloved that they are not [insert adjective here] enough for you. Not pretty, intelligent, stimulating, funny, thin, outgoing, or whatever, enough for you. A high school acquaintance I'll call Belissa cheated because her boyfriend wasn't voracious enough to satisfy her, then he wasn't smart enough to catch her, and when he found out, wasn't man enough to leave her. A college acquaintance I'll call Carrie cheated because her boyfriend wasn't attentive enough. A friend cheated on his fiancee because she wasn't literary enough. My friend's ex because my friend wasn't new enough. Others, because they weren't attractive enough. But the thing is - nobody is everything enough all the time. You weigh things. You choose. And yes, sometimes, you lose. (And sometimes, I'm Seuss.)

It's all so easy when we're in the judge's seat, isn't it?

1 comment:

the watcher said...

what's funny is that as much of a sin 'cheating' is, so many people do it... and so frequently. and they've been doing it since the beginning of time. what's funny to me is that there are a ton of offenses that people deem to be less bad than cheating, but get committed way less than cheating.

being a felon myself, i know that somtimes it's just easier to cheat than it is to make a firm decision and flat out leave someone you are unhappy with under your own recognizance. that's the thing about cheating - it's almost always a symptom and almost never a root cause, yet it becomes the focal point of the problems in a relationship. people get so consumed with the wound that comes with being cheated on and they don't really focus on the "why" for which they were cheated on in the first place. in most cases, that's fine because cheating is usually an unforgivable offense and the relationship is thus over and not subject to further analyses. but imagine if you applied this kind of process to other conflicts in your life? we'd never learn anything about ourselves.