Is it acceptable to cheat on your partner?

Cheating: 2 stories that will change the way you view them

Illustration: Anna Sudit.
Jealousy is probably one of the most destructive feelings around. A real monster that, when it gets particularly overpowering, influences all our deeds and gives us the darkest thoughts. In the worst case, you lose contact with yourself completely and the injuries become irreparable. We all know this condition, whether in such an extreme way as described or just as a very slight irritation. Jealousy, it seems, is simply part of love.
And yet: Wouldn't it be possible that infidelity and the feelings it triggers are to a certain extent exclusively social constructions? Shouldn't we at least consider that the idea of ​​a lifelong, monogamous relationship - with eternal loyalty as the golden rule - is a prudish concept that needs to be revised?
Below we get to know two approaches, two stories from people who have been personally affected by jealousy and its effects. This article will certainly not change all of your beliefs right away, but in the best case it will stimulate thought.
Illustration: Anna Sudit.
Kelly Bourdet, Refinery29 Health and Wellness Editor:
"Get over it."
Infidelity is as difficult to understand as it is definable. In this day and age with so many different types of cheating, our definitions of it are often influenced by what we would personally find hurtful. While the majority of us infidelity, in short: "Sexual intercourse with someone other than the partner" would describe, there are an infinite number of cases and subtleties that prove that infidelity can have very different meanings.
Starting with the supposedly harmless office flirting to the business trip that ends in the boss's hotel room, there are no limits to the things that are considered fraud, depending on the point of view. It is in the eye of the beholder whether the fraud already starts with the writing of the email or only with coffee after work. at the discretion of the viewer. In doing so, we often seem to make a strong distinction between physical and mental deception and concentrate heavily on the intention and the actions that follow it ... or not. Every fraud is based on a subjective feeling of precisely this, which is fed by a set of rules that is enormously dependent on the respective relationship.
The statistics when it comes to infidelity vary widely. No wonder, because who would end up sharing their carefully guarded affair with the next best sexologist. Nevertheless, a 1997 study found that infidelity occurs in up to 76 percent of all heterosexual marriages. Recent research suggests that over 50 percent of all men and women, homosexual and heterosexual, are unfaithful in a relationship at some point. So it can be assumed that the majority of us will encounter cheating in the course of the relationship.
In her book “Lust in Translation” (2007), former Wall Street journalist Pamela Druckerman describes how different cultures deal with infidelity: “Americans are the worst. In cheating and getting over it. In America adultery means a long crisis, it costs more and causes more emotional damage than in other countries, ”the author said in an interview with Men's Health. In France, on the other hand, it seems that people are much better at dealing with infidelity. In a 2012 study, only 47 percent of French women surveyed found an extramarital affair unforgivable. In comparison, it was 84 percent among Americans.
Illustration: Anna Sudit.
I wouldn't say that cheating is desirable in a relationship, but what I find essential and extremely worrying is the way it is ultimately dealt with, and that infidelity so often leads to the end of a relationship. Cheating on your partner is undoubtedly an extremely disloyal act, but does it have to be the most terrifying, heartbreaking experience ever? I think that can only be decided subjectively, but it doesn't always have to be the case.
I've also been cheated on and it must have felt anything but nice. In retrospect, however, I have to say that I basically understood why it happened and that it really didn't mean that much. My better half was constantly traveling in L.A. for work, at some point it just came out that he had met someone there. Of course, I was hurt and angry at the time, but I also realized that we were both only in our mid-twenties, spent a lot of time apart and were often out of the office in the evenings. With all of this in mind, it's not particularly surprising that our relationship became infidelity.
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We all cling too much to the ideal of monogamy. Of course, this is a nice idea and worth striving for, but we shouldn't categorically condemn ourselves for it if we cannot always meet this ideal. It's just human. A one-off scam doesn't have to call the whole relationship into question - but if it's a long-term affair, take the time to look carefully. Maybe something has been wrong in the relationship for a long time, but maybe not. The primary goals of any relationship should be openness and honesty. The opportunity to clearly formulate your own needs and share them with your partner. But even if that is not the case, there is no reason to throw everything right away.
It is very easy to demonize any kind of cheating and see monogamy as the only acceptable form of relationship. But if we're honest, didn't we just cobble it all together ourselves? The stigma that we blame on a wrong step can only exist because we keep affirming it to ourselves. To expect that you will have an absolutely crisis-free relationship is more than unrealistic. It makes much more sense to think about what led to your own or the other's infidelity and how you can deal with it and clarify any dissatisfaction.
Illustration: Anna Sudit.
Rosemary Downs, author, 24:
Is Cheating A Big Deal In A Relationship? Of course, if you call it a fraud. It depends on how you evaluate things. "
I am really in a dilemma because, honestly, I would be glad I could say that I don't really care about monogamy. If you look at it purely rationally, I absolutely believe that one of the most progressive things is to say goodbye to the entrenched relational ideas and finally to accept that the idea that another person could “belong” to you is a restrictive one The concept is that under no circumstances can lead to an equal relationship. Unfortunately, it is not possible for me - no matter how hard I try - to reconcile these thoughts with my incredible fear of just the idea of ​​a possible fraud. Maybe that will change at some point, but at this point in time, monogamy is an absolute requirement if you want to be in a relationship with me.
Before I had to experience firsthand what it was like to be cheated on, I imagined that I could handle it easily. I even joked with my partner about "suspicions" that I supposedly had, but of course never seriously believed that they might really be true. Unfortunately, I then had to learn the hard way that they really were. It is difficult for me to put into words how I felt afterwards, even then I couldn't do much more than throw things around me like crazy and tear my hair out, as melodramatic as that may sound. It hit me immediately and took away every bit of my already very low self-esteem. To this day I am not sure if I will ever get it again. Before, infidelity had always been something abstract, beyond my imagination, but suddenly it became a bitter reality. I was ashamed and that changed me forever. The strange thing is that I never vented my anger to the fullest. I do not believe that someone should be punished with cruelty for their infidelity, because there is not always a bad intention behind it, but sometimes simply stupidity or underlying problems, but I believe that it would have been easier for me if I had People who hurt me would have made it clear how much I suffer. I should have screamed and raved when I found out ... how often have I dreamed of my very own catharsis.
Illustration: Anna Sudit.
Maybe I should have just "lived my dream" or put any other of these clever sayings into practice. Probably I should have reacted more open-minded and unharmed and not so offended, but these are all things that are unfortunately not given to me at this point in my life. I have only one thing left: to ask my partner never to cheat on me again - and everyone who comes after him as well. Everyone has their conditions, some people cannot be with someone who is flesh or who has never read Proust. I just want a partner who regards our relationship as an absolute priority and does not secretly toying with the thought of an affair.
In return, I will try to keep my jealousy in check if it is unjustified. I also have to accept that a relationship is not about owning the other, but about treating one another with mutual trust. This also includes keeping your fingers off your partner's cell phone. If we can't agree on that, then we just don't fit together. People around me keep telling me to accept myself for who I am, despite the things I have encountered so far and to be honest, I have been very lucky so far. But still I always fall back on my old insecurities, because secretly I am convinced that self-confidence does not arise solely from ourselves but also always has to do with the people around us and is significantly influenced by them. In my opinion, this is not a bad thing, but rather something that we should accept and rise to the challenge.
Simply put, it all has to do with respect. If my partner asks me to observe loyalty and if it is acceptable and livable for both parties, then fulfilling this request is a small but important gesture. The bill is solved quickly. If I love my partner and would hurt the other by cheating, then there can only be one result: I shouldn't cheat. What should be hard to understand about that?