Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez via Unsplash

Is cheating always a dealbreaker?

Writer Eleni Retsou discusses her opinions on cheating within a relationship.

I am sure at this point, we are all aware of the various recent cheating scandals that seem to be plaguing Hollywood. Emily Ratajkowski’s husband cheated on her not once, but multiple times, Adam Levine cheated on his wife Behati Prinsloo and of course, the most shocking of all, Ned Fulmer of the Try Guys cheated on his wife Ariel with his co-worker! 

It shouldn’t come as a shock that people cheat but at the same time, no one wants to discover that their partner is unfaithful. Not only is it a massive betrayal but it raises the question of what now? Some might think the obvious and only thing to do is break up on the spot but for others, cheating, under certain circumstances, or just cheating in general might not necessarily equal a breakup.  

To be honest, before I ever got into a serious relationship, I thought that if my partner ever cheated on me, that would be the end of the relationship. Similarly, (not saying I will), but if I were to ever cheat on my partner, I would expect them to break up with me on the spot. But what I did not realise, is that when emotion is involved, it is very hard to adopt a “black or white” approach. Absolute stances are easy to maintain when you are thinking about things purely rationally. When the emotional side gets involved, it gets a bit more complicated. Let me explain:

My partner and I started dating at uni. We are both from different countries, so we knew from the get-go that some long distance would be inevitable, and we were fine with it. When we both got summer jobs in different countries, we realised that we would have to not see each other for three months. To some that might not seem like long at all, but for us, I will admit it did not sound fun. I had never thought about what I would do if they cheated on me until then because at least in my mind, cheating is more likely when distance is involved. After loads of internal debate I have reached the following conclusion:

Perhaps a bit controversially, if my partner called me and told me that they met a random person at a club and went back to theirs to sleep with them I would be devastated, but I don’t think I would break up with them. Especially over a long distance, the biological need for sex is hard to satisfy. A one-night stand could just be a biological impulse, which is easier to justify. I would not be happy for sure, but I could see myself giving them another chance.

My worst nightmare is not my partner calling me and telling me they slept with someone else, my worst nightmare is my partner calling me and telling me they are starting to fall for someone else. Falling in love with someone, for some might not be classified as cheating exactly, but for me, it is the ultimate betrayal. Falling for someone does not necessarily happen through sex either. To really fall for someone, all you might need is to spend some quality time with them. And you can spend quality time with anyone, anywhere really. 

For the record, in no way am I saying my partner cannot share quality experiences with other individuals. At the end of the day, the harsh truth is, that if someone falls in love with someone else, chances are they are already falling out of love with you. It would be an abrupt way to realise it, but maybe better for both parties to not be together. So maybe at the end of the day, our partner cheating, however one chooses to define it, is a blessing rather than a curse. Maybe we just realise sooner rather than later that some things are not meant to be any longer. And as painful as a realisation that may be, I think it’s a) inevitable and b) ultimately for the better.

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