Apologies for the dismal subject matter, but I wanted to write to you, quite frankly, about cheating.
I have talked in the past about lying and how we, as humans, deceive each other on a daily basis. I have commented on how commonplace adultery is. I have described it as ordinary. Normal. Almost to be expected. Although I still stand by these accusations, I can’t help but feel that my seemingly flippant attitude to the act of cheating has done those who have fallen victim to it a disservice. By brandishing it as the norm, it might seem as though I’m asking you to accept infidelity as a fact of life and move on.
The fact is, if you haven’t been cheated on yourself, then you’re likely to know someone who has. I am using this commonality to question why we aren’t doing anything to stop it?
Tolerating it as normal – and jesus! I’ve even heard people say understandable! – is what scares me. It’s the ‘they all do it’ acceptance and the number of anecdotes I hear at the pub or at work that disappoint me daily because, despite humanity’s deep-rooted history with extra-marital affairs, cheating shouldn’t be the norm. It is not acceptable and it is certainly not understandable. In fact, it’s one of the most damaging things that can happen to a person or a relationship. And no, I’m not being dramatic. When it happened to me for the first time (that I know of) I felt like someone had punched me really hard in the stomach. And then some. As someone who likes to be in control, I was completely powerless to the act itself, and the fact that it couldn’t be undone. The idea that it would never go away was the worst part about it. And that’s the thing that I think people forget. Once you’ve cheated, you’ve cheated. There’s no going back.
But this secret that we all share needs to stop being the thing that we have in common. Being cheated on is awful. Cheating on somebody else is weak, selfish and disrespectful. And sadly, the majority of us have felt the effects of both. But even worse than that, we are the only ones who can put a stop to it, simply by not doing it. So why don’t we then?
Firstly, we need to start talking about it. Focus on why we do it. Why we shouldn’t do it. How we stop doing it. These discussions need to first take place in PSHE lessons in schools, then during awkward teenage chats with your parents and they need to carry on into conversations around dinner tables with friends and over breakfast with your boyfriend, husband, or future wife. We’re so ready to discuss the importance of good manners or instructing kids to never talk to strangers. When did the subject of lying fall off the agenda? And when did will power cease to exist as a noble quality?
We need to stop ignoring the elephant in the room and instead tackle it head on. We are not blind to what’s happening, we are simply choosing not to see it.
People say that you should never regret something that made you happy at that moment in time. Bollocks. If we all took a few minutes longer to make better decisions and be cautious with people’s feelings, then we could nip this vice in the bud and prevent a lot of heartache for a lot of people. Being broken up with is far easier to get over than being cheated on. Fact.
A friend said to me recently that hearts are like vases, you can put them back together but the cracks still show.
Don’t be the reason someone needs to buy more superglue.
Be the beautiful flower growing inside them instead.