Question for the Ladies: Can we talk about infidelity?

Continuing Question for the Ladies Week, I received a whole host of questions on various forms of infidelity/cheating/stepping out. I broke those down into three main categories:

  1. How do you define cheating? Physical act? Emotional? Online chatting? Which is worse?
  2. If we cheat, will you ever forgive us?
  3. Why does it seem like a woman cheating on a man is so much worse than a man cheating on a woman?

First let me say… wow. I've been cheated on. I didn't like it. I cheated once. Didn't like that either. Cheating sucks. Everybody loses, 90% of the time people get caught and there's always some drama. But option is simply not to cheat at all. Ever. For any reason. Just walk away. Cannot be any clearer: Cheating bad. Repercussions bad. Staying out of situations like these I just described = good.

Now that that's settled - let me try and address the questions with my best answers. Ladies, I'll expect you to help me out with these.

Answer 1: My definition of cheating isn't everybody's. I'm a bit strict with mine. In my world, cheating is any action (yes any) that threatens the monogamous union predefined by a couple. The physical act is bad, the emotional act is worse. You can almost get your mind around a "heat of moment" one time fling, maybe even an ongoing purely sexual liaison. (I couldn't but maybe someone else could?) But once that person is emotionally attached to someone else… that seems a deeper betrayal to me. That means you took time, effort and emotions promised to me and gave them to someone else. No bueno. Online chatting is not a problem. Online flirting in putting you on shaky ground and online sex talk is cheating. Sorry. No shades of grey.

Answer 2: Will I forgive you if you cheat? Will I forgive you? Yes, my religion says I must. The real question is do I forget and stay with you without punishing you forever? Now THAT really depends on all the circumstances around it. I'm inclined to lean towards hell-to-the-naw. Again, are we together or just kicking it? Are we married or engaged? Do we have kids? A mortgage? How long have we been together? Have we had the "I don't share and I'll kill you if you do" discussion? Are we getting along? Are we in the same city? Was it a one-time thing or were you Tiger Woods-ing it? Did you tell me about it or did I have to hear about it da streetz or catch you in the act? Are you genuinely remorseful about the act or that you got caught? These are the sort of factors that weigh in to my decision to stay in the relationship. Again, one woman's opinion – I'll let the other ladies voice their ideas.

Answer 3: Le Sigh… it seems like a woman cheating on a man is worse because those old traditional gender roles are stuck in our heads. Women are kinder, gentler, nurturing creatures… are we not? Also, according to the mainstream media we can get a man anyhow so the few of us that snagged one shouldn't be messing it up by cheating… yes, that's very tongue-in-cheek. I don't why it's worse. Cheating is cheating… bad is bad.

Ladies, I'm going to ask that you offer up your opinions on these questions so that the gents can get a multi-flavored sampling of our thoughts. Fellas, do share. The floor is yours…