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Switch to Forum Live View The difference between a "cheater" and someone involved in marital infidelity
6 years ago  ::  Feb 19, 2009 - 4:52PM #1
DAH54
Posts: 3,318
There is a difference between a "cheater" and someone involved in marital infidelity. A cheater is someone who does not want to say "no". Infidelity on the other hand is characterized by confusion, pain, doubt, ambivalence, and a time of craziness in a persons life.

A genuine cheater is a rather rare bird, who believes affairs are conquests, usually sexual, and not as a place to find intimacy, or understanding. A cheater lacks many of the skills and attitude to have intimate relationships. A cheater will move from one conquest to another seeking gratification on a very basic level. A cheater has little internal conflict about the affair. A cheater views the affair as an entitlement, a right. A cheater believes they deserves the affair, deserves to be adored, loved. A cheater "knows" that they have earn the right to an affair, that their is nothing wrong with it! They believe that others, including you should know this and acknowledge it. The cheater will surround themselves with those who will look the other way or better yet encourage it.

You are unlikely to experience a great deal of conflict with a cheater. Their will be no talk of divorce, as long as you do not attempt to rock the boat, or change them . A cheater has their playmate & playtime, and their spouse fulfills a different role and function.


There was a time when cheating had a simple meaning, but times have changed. Are the following acts of infidelity? Have you talked about them with your partner?


Confiding in a Friend of the Opposite sex....

Many guys would most likely say "no way" is this infidelity, but many women actually feel threatened by their man confiding in a friend of the opposite sex. Connecting with another women on an emotional level can be worse than connecting on a sexual level. It can be more hurtful than one night of torrid, drunken sex with an anonymous woman from a nightclub.


Dirty Dancing

In some cultures, dancing is considered a very sensual act. This is one that guys and girls can see eye to eye on. If you are at a nightclub, grinding sexually with someone other than your significant other, there is most likely going to be trouble.


Flirting

Flirting is such a natural act between a man and a woman that most confident individuals in a secure and open relationship don't mind their significant other joking around or engaging in a little innocent flirting. The problem come with were one draws the line of innocent at. At just what point does it cross into the intent of "getting some"? To often this depends more on how confident ones partner really is, how much they actually value their own worth.


Cyber Sex

Getting on the Internet and engaging in cyber sex ranks high on the cheating scale for many. It is hurtful to know your partner is so unsatisfied sexually with you that they have turn to the Internet, or is it? Do you still care about your partner, are you invested in them? Or are you secretly relieved that this is one need you don't need to address?


Going to Strip Cubs

There are some people who think that going to a strip club in and of itself constitutes infidelity, then there are those who are more accepting and will allow their partner to enjoy a night out.

For many the problem comes when your significant other pays to touch, or be touched by a stripper. Many will agree that if you need to pay to be touched or to touch there is a problem.


Watching Porn

Although it might be upsetting to know your significant other enjoys watching porn, many don't consider it an act of infidelity. It maybe a sexual fantasy, or a way to learn new moves, then again it can become an obsession, a threat to the relationship.


Engaging in a sexual Act

I guess the only question here is just what is a sexual act? Just how open or closed is your relationship? Is talking, kissing, caressing, or licking a sexual act? Most of us understand that having sex with another person is cheating, but just what is having sex? Is it talking? Is it kissing, on the lips, the ear, the cheek, the neck?



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6 years ago  ::  Feb 19, 2009 - 6:20PM #2
Simon Jester
Posts: 1,031
I agree with most of what you say but I think you are missing an aspect of cheating.

Cheating does not just involve sex/sexual issues.

One of the definitions of Cheating is...

To violate rules deliberately, as in a game


And this is the essence of cheating in a relationship. Sex is just one of the rules you can violate. You can just as easily cheat on your partner with finances by knowingly spending more than they would agree to (assuming you have commingled your finances), or by smoking, or drinking, or divulging secrets, or by associating with those your partner disapproves of, etc.

In essence any action could in theory be cheating, it all depends on the rules that have been established in your relationship. These rules do not have to ever be expressly stated either, they could easily be implied or have been built up by tradition over time. But as long as you have acknowledged the existence of the rule by obeying it or having agreed to obey it then you cannot disregard it at any point in the future without receiving express permission from your partner. Any attempt to do so is cheating regardless of the action being taken

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6 years ago  ::  Feb 19, 2009 - 6:33PM #3
appy20
Posts: 10,165
Well, use whatever term you mean.  Adulterer, if you will.  The terminology does not matter. Whatever term you want to use from someone who has sex with someone other than their spouse when they do not have an agreed upon open marriage.   As for other moral breaches of conduct, they can and do threaten a marriage.  There are many good reasons to get divorced and infidelity is certainly not the only one.   If one partner develops a drug problem, that can be grounds as well.  Some rule violations hurt more than others.  Psychopaths don't make good relationship material.  However, if infidelity is something that you state up front that you expect, then it becomes a dealbreaker when violated. 

I would not include "implied" rules.  That is too nebulous.  Both parties may not have understood that.  There should be some dealbreakers agreed upon before marriage.  Also, any imperfection can be labelled an "implied" rule.  Certainly, anyone has the right to walk away from anything that causes them pain. If you want to get divorced because the tube of toothpase is not on, go ahead.  I just don't believe that they have the right to be sexually unfaithful.  Be decent about it; get a divorce.  Face the problem up front. 

If you tell your spouse "if you don't start putting the cap on the toothpaste, I am going to have an affair with my secretary." then your spouse can decide a)I really need to shape up so I can keep this marriage or b)this person is not worth being married to. Don't just do it and try to get away with it and then when caught (usually after some time has passed) then cry about your unmet needs.

If you prefer another word for one who strays outside their marriage, it is just semantics.  Use what word you will.  The concept remains the same.

DAH, I don't have a dictionary handy but I don't think infidelity means what you posted. I think it means sexual unfaithfulness. It doesn't matter about how much confusion or whatnot is involved.  The act is the same.  Sex with someone other than your spouse.  Emotional affair with someone other than your spouse.
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 19, 2009 - 7:57PM #4
DAH54
Posts: 3,318

Simon Jester wrote:

I agree with most of what you say but I think you are missing an aspect of cheating.


Because this is the Relationships & Marriage board I was attempting to focus this thread on a limited subset of cheating.

Simon Jester wrote:

Cheating does not just involve sex/sexual issues.


Agreed, however cheating at cards is not the topic of cheating as the word is being used by me within this thread.

Simon Jester wrote:

In essence any action could in theory be cheating,


Agreed

Simon Jester wrote:

it all depends on the rules that have been established in your relationship.


And within this thread I have attempted to define how I am using cheating and infidelity. I am attempting to establish a set of rules for the purpose of this conversation, on this board.

Simon Jester wrote:

These rules do not have to ever be expressly stated either, they could easily be implied or have been built up by tradition over time. But as long as you have acknowledged the existence of the rule by obeying it or having agreed to obey it then you cannot disregard it at any point in the future without receiving express permission from your partner. Any attempt to do so is cheating regardless of the action being taken


I disagree, have you acknowledge a rule that users of the name Simon may not post on Tuesdays on the Relationships & Marriage board by refraining from posting on Tuesdays? I think not. Yet one could claim that you have acknowledge the existence of such a rule by not posting on Tuesdays.

At this point we do not even agree on what is and is not cheating. For one person "cheating may well be sexual intercourse alone" and "talking" is not cheating. Kissing is not cheating, holding hands is not cheating, watching porn is not cheating. They may choose to define cheating as insertion of a penis into a vagina. If the closest they have come to another person is 1000 miles have they cheated with that person? Clearly the answer for them is no. If they have been in a stable relationship for a year, and never directly defined what constitutes "cheating" with their partner and are accused of "cheating" because they publicly posted a message on a forum are they guilty of cheating? Does their partner have a right to claim they "cheated" because of an unexpressed rule they violated?

If it my social circle there is no one that enjoys "chuck" for a year, and suddenly I make a relationship with another person who also enjoys "chuck" am I required to seek permission before I may engage in a conversation about "chuck"? Simply because I have not conversed on chuck in the last year?

If my pattern is to buy a new car and keep it for 7 years and then purchase another new car, must I seek permission from my girlfriend (of a year or even three) to purchase a new car, because I have not bought one in the last 36 months? Does my girlfriend have a right to accuse me of cheating because I bought a new car, without her permission? Or a new computer, or a new TV, or a new couch?


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6 years ago  ::  Feb 19, 2009 - 8:36PM #5
DAH54
Posts: 3,318

appy20 wrote:

Well, use whatever term you mean. Adulterer, if you will. The terminology does not matter.


And there is were you have a fundamental difference in it. Is does matter to me. The English language gives one word multiple meanings, and there are those that reject common understandings for words. Just what is a cheater, within the context of this board? Is it someone that cheats at cards? Is it someone that cheats on their taxes? Is it someone who shares emotionally? Is it someone who kisses a member of the sexual group that interest them? Is it some one who talks on the phone? Is it someone who has intercourse? Is it the insertion of a penis into a vagina?

appy20 wrote:

Whatever term you want to use from someone who has sex with someone other than their spouse when they do not have an agreed upon open marriage.


But some people don't accept this definition of cheating and find it far too restrictive. And so how we define the word matters on this board.

appy20 wrote:

As for other moral breaches of conduct, they can and do threaten a marriage. There are many good reasons to get divorced and infidelity is certainly not the only one. If one partner develops a drug problem, that can be grounds as well. Some rule violations hurt more than others. Psychopaths don't make good relationship material. However, if infidelity is something that you state up front that you expect, then it becomes a dealbreaker when violated.


For many people it is a simple black and white issue, you cheat and you are out of here. For others who have actually experience it is is no longer so simple, the longer one has invested in the relationship the more difficult the decision may become. Attempting to understand why your partner cheated is helpful in understanding ones options.

appy20 wrote:

I would not include "implied" rules. That is too nebulous. Both parties may not have understood that. There should be some dealbreakers agreed upon before marriage. Also, any imperfection can be labelled an "implied" rule. Certainly, anyone has the right to walk away from anything that causes them pain.


We don't become slaves when we marry, but having the right to walk away does not mean it should be the first choice, or that it is the best choice. If the threshold is pain then everyone can walk away from their marriage, because no marriage does not cause pain at some point.

appy20 wrote:

If you want to get divorced because the tube of toothpase is not on, go ahead.


Personally I find that the "pain" cause by an uncapped tube of toothpaste insufficient for me to recommend divorce. But that is just my beliefs.

appy20 wrote:

I just don't believe that they have the right to be sexually unfaithful. Be decent about it; get a divorce. Face the problem up front.


Once again who is giving permission here? Who has stated that one has a right to be sexually unfaithful? There is a big difference, in acknowledging that one played a part in their spouse's choice to cheat, and acknowledging their spouse has a right to cheat! Acknowledging ones part in the failure of a relationship is not the same as giving permission! I'm sorry you don't seem to grasp that.


appy20 wrote:

DAH, I don't have a dictionary handy but I don't think infidelity means what you posted. I think it means sexual unfaithfulness. It doesn't matter about how much confusion or whatnot is involved. The act is the same. Sex with someone other than your spouse. Emotional affair with someone other than your spouse.


An emotional affair is NOT the same as Sex with someone other than your spouse! Indeed often on this board one can be accused of having an affair without having sex, or being married.




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6 years ago  ::  Feb 20, 2009 - 1:00PM #6
appy20
Posts: 10,165
I realize that people don't consider it black and white and I think that is part of the problem.  They stay in a relationship that they talk themselves into valuing.  People have a right to be happy but unfortunately, I believe it has consequences.  One reason, there are so few good men is because so many people had children with people who could not live monogamously.  Cheaters are a dime a dozen. 

It is black and white.  The more involved a relationship, the greater the error of cheating. It really is a savage blow to the relationship.  It is very disloyal to your partner.  I know too many women who loved their husbands with everything they had and trusted them completely and then this happened.  They are just shocked.  Crushed.  Then they go to therapy and the therapist brainwashes them into seeing things from their husband's perspective.  If they do not, they are considered flawed.  If they do take responsibility for his cheating, they become the problem.  He gets off Scott free.  He is forgiven.  The relationship is made better for him.  If the relationship had problems and many times they don't have that serious a problem, I don't think those problems should even be linked with the infidelity.    Sometimes, it is truly the end of the dopamine rush or opportunity presented itself.  The wife did not contribute to it.  Every situation that I have seen where I have known the intimate details of the cheating, the guy did it multiple times and most times, after divorce, the guy did the same with the next wife.  I don't know of one case where the guy was in all this pain and loneliness.  They had wives that loved them, showered them with love and attention, made them the center of their lives.  It wasn't enough for them because the guys were spoiled brats.

I have only known a handful of women in real life that cheated.  Two of them were outright psychopaths.  I know of a few others that were bipolar.  None of the women were considered good people even before anyone knew about the affairs.  That is a tough row to hoe in a marriage.  Bipolar may be the single most difficult thing to live with other than outright physical abuse.

Ironically, I have known some otherwise good men cheat.  That is what is so discouraging about men in general.  You can't even trust the best ones.  Now, I have known some really good guys that did not cheat but most of them are in my family.  Outside my family, it is tough. I have known men that everyone thought they were great and then it was found out they had another woman and even had kids by her while pretending to be the greatest husband of 30 plus years.  I also know women who think the world of their husbands and have no clue that they are cheating.  That saddens me too.  I always kept my mouth shut but it was painful to watch.  LOL I remember one woman that I knew was constantly ribbing me about my single status because she was blissfully happy in her marriage.  Yet, I knew the woman her husband was cheating with.   It was awful.

"Personally I find that the "pain" cause by an uncapped tube of toothpaste insufficient for me to recommend divorce. But that is just my beliefs."

My practice is that the kind of triviality in breaking up a relationship is wrong.  However, I cannot make that decision for anyone else.  If someone is that unhappy, I think it better to break up than cheat.  If so many people are unfaithful, you might as well break up over toothpaste.

I can, somewhat understand how women resign themselves.  Good men are rare and so some do choose to take their manure and call it chocolate.  There isn't much better out there.

There are many inadequacies in a mate that I could have tolerated but infidelity was not one of them. I draw the line at alcohol/drug abuse, infidelity (emotional and sexual), physical abuse, criminal behavior.  I am not perfect but I can give everything that I would have required of another.  I do think way too much of myself to settle for less.  If more women felt that way,  there would be more monogamous males and fewer cads.  There are way too many cads.  I know too many women who are capable of monogamy who stay single.  There are also more single women than ever.  There is a reason for that.  Single men too.
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 20, 2009 - 8:00PM #7
REteach
Posts: 15,016
Something my husband has noted about his mindset at the time was his ability to rationalize.  We would be better off without him anyway, yada, yada, yada.

Our ability to lie to ourselves probably outstrips at times our ability to lie to others.  More dangerous, too.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize what you heard was not what I meant...
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 20, 2009 - 8:05PM #8
REteach
Posts: 15,016
Ya know, nobody is perfect.  NOBODY.

So, if someone stays faithful, but is totally emotionally disengaged, is that a good thing?  Should my spouse have to respect all my wants and needs, but I don't have to make any compromises in return?  In what human relationship do I deserve to have things all my way? Heck, I am expect to stop at stop signs, wait in line, do something in return for my salary.  Why should marriage be viewed as something that is all take and no give?  Nothing else in life operates that way.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize what you heard was not what I meant...
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 21, 2009 - 2:18PM #9
appy20
Posts: 10,165
I don't think it is selfish to want monogamy.  Just because you want monogamy does not mean you want all things your way.   Infidelity is just a deal breaker to me.  That does not mean I should not give.  I was willing to take care of my boyfriend even though he was most certain to develop a really bad dementia.  That would have been no bed of roses.  However, i don't wouldn't want to do that for a guy who was unfaithful. 

You see, I take relationships seriously.  I do put effort in them.  Tons of effort.  Infidelity is one deal breaker.  If I spend the last years of my life wiping a guy's backside, i dang sure don't want to do it for someone who cheated. 

That is the thing.  If I did all this work and gave it everything I had and then the guy up and decides it is not enough.  That would be the end.  I wouldn't be able to find it in me to continue to work that hard AND add more work to the equation.  If it were a job I could not do, I would change jobs.  If a guy cheats then I am the wrong person for him. He is definitely the wrong person for me. 

The irritating thing is that anytime women WANT anything they are considered selfish. If we want ANYTHING, we are always accused of wanting EVERYTHING our way.    I want monogamy. He can leave the toilet seat up, get sick, lose his job, lose his temper (without violence), say the wrong thing, forget my birthday but by God, the very least he can do is remain faithful. Yes, people should work very hard to make each other happy.  However, if you are working hard and your work is not good enough and you can't get what you want. If you know what you want and begin a relationship by stating that clearly then it should not be unreasonable for you to get it. 

When women want anything it is always wrong.  If we want monogamy and we leave when we don't get it, we are selfish, unforgiving.  We are supposed to accept that we cannot have what we want, plaster a smile on our face and convince ourselves we didn't deserve it because we didn't meet some need.  If we can't tolerate infidelity, we are insecure, blah, blah, blah.  Whenever women want anything, those wants and yest NEEDs are labelled negatively.  When we walk way when we don't get our NEEDS met or refuse to get into situations where none of our NEEDs can be met.  Maybe, just maye, the only need we have is fidelity.  Some of us don't have that many needs to begin with.
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 21, 2009 - 3:14PM #10
wyrmy
Posts: 321

appy20 wrote:

I don't think it is selfish to want monogamy.  Just because you want monogamy does not mean you want all things your way.   Infidelity is just a deal breaker to me.  That does not mean I should not give.  I was willing to take care of my boyfriend even though he was most certain to develop a really bad dementia.  That would have been no bed of roses.  However, i don't wouldn't want to do that for a guy who was unfaithful. 

You see, I take relationships seriously.  I do put effort in them.  Tons of effort.  Infidelity is one deal breaker.  If I spend the last years of my life wiping a guy's backside, i dang sure don't want to do it for someone who cheated. 

That is the thing.  If I did all this work and gave it everything I had and then the guy up and decides it is not enough.  That would be the end.  I wouldn't be able to find it in me to continue to work that hard AND add more work to the equation.  If it were a job I could not do, I would change jobs.  If a guy cheats then I am the wrong person for him. He is definitely the wrong person for me. 

The irritating thing is that anytime women WANT anything they are considered selfish. If we want ANYTHING, we are always accused of wanting EVERYTHING our way.    I want monogamy. He can leave the toilet seat up, get sick, lose his job, lose his temper (without violence), say the wrong thing, forget my birthday but by God, the very least he can do is remain faithful. Yes, people should work very hard to make each other happy.  However, if you are working hard and your work is not good enough and you can't get what you want. If you know what you want and begin a relationship by stating that clearly then it should not be unreasonable for you to get it. 

When women want anything it is always wrong.  If we want monogamy and we leave when we don't get it, we are selfish, unforgiving.  We are supposed to accept that we cannot have what we want, plaster a smile on our face and convince ourselves we didn't deserve it because we didn't meet some need.  If we can't tolerate infidelity, we are insecure, blah, blah, blah.  Whenever women want anything, those wants and yest NEEDs are labelled negatively.  When we walk way when we don't get our NEEDS met or refuse to get into situations where none of our NEEDs can be met.  Maybe, just maye, the only need we have is fidelity.  Some of us don't have that many needs to begin with.


I do not think anyone thinks you are selfish if you demand monogamy. However, having read as many of your posts as I have, I suspect that you do have one selfish aspect. That aspect is assuming that your morality is the only correct one, or that all women think as you do. That being said, it is hardly uncommon, it is the default setting for the mind, as it were. We are all capable of understanding our own point of view and by extension are more capable of understanding views that are close to our own.

We are all different people. What comes naturally to one might be quite un-natural to another. I, also, am prefer monogamy. Just before my divorce was final, a young lady wanted to spend the night with me, even after I told her I was waiting on my divorce papers. While she was perfectly willing, I had to tell her I was still felt too married to go through with it. My marriage was over, my wife could not care less if I spent the night with that woman or not. But I could not because it was not official yet. I have to admit to myself that that was irrational, but that does not mean that faced with the same thing in the future I will not make the same decision. However, I would not judge another man as anything less than myself if he was able to make the decision that I did not. Nor do I see anything wrong with two people that both like to stray outside their marriage getting married so they would have a partner that understands, and allows for such behavior.

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