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Cheat Lie Cheat

In our Open Mike questions for July 2001 - January 2002 we asked about cheating experiences and the motivations that surround them. We also asked about what constitutes cheating, and about how one reacts to cheating. Finally, we asked for good movie recommendations on the subject. We received many, many responses, and have chosen to include below the ones that were either most representative of the general trend of opinion, or the ones that presented alternate viewpoints… or the rather sad stories that make us scratch our heads. (Note: given the sensitive nature of the subject, we decided not to include the names of contributors.)


1) Have you ever cheated? If so, give us the brief anecdote and then tell us why you did it, and whether you regret it. If you haven't ever cheated, why?

Imagine being in a 7-11 with a guy who (only weeks after you have started dating) seems to be nothing but honest, reliable, and is still holding onto some of his innocence. During a conversation made up mostly of random comments and getting-to-know-you-isms, you ask him almost jokingly "Would you ever lie to me?" and the response you receive is a shrug of the shoulders along with "Probably." Talk about unsettling. That is what happened to me. I continued to date him for two years, and while I never caught him in a lie, nor cheating, that one instant between getting my chocolate milk and then walking over to get his Slurpee was forever the cause of my doubts regarding whether or not he only had eyes for me. Before that moment I had never considered myself to be a jealous or suspicious person, but with that one brief sentence, my true colors came out. After getting to know him, I realized that he only offers complete honesty no matter how much it hurts, and knowing that everyone is capable of lying (and has no doubt lied on more than one occasion)he was, in fact, being honest. Not only that, but I was bound to lie to him about something in the future, as well. Lying is just something most people tend to do, no matter how "good" you are. However, I think in this case I would've preferred the lie...which would've been "Of course not, I would never lie to you" because then I wouldn't have lain awake nights wondering where he was and who he was with. Others may disagree, but I think it's better to wait until there's evidence of cheating rather than jump the gun with accusations based on imaginings based solely on a conversation that took place in a convenience store.

Yes, From High school to college I cheated on every girl I every dated. Basically I got the slick end of the stick once in about 10th grade and just went off. After my Junior Year in college, I quit dating altogether and was celibate for 3 years by choice.

I have never cheated. Why? Well, I never saw the need to. In fact, it's hard for me to believe that the temptation to do so could be so strong that you couldn't resist it. To me, if I liked the other guy so much, (or the one I'm with, so little) then why wouldn't I just break up with the one I'm with and go for him? (I haven't had occasion to do that either). The way I see it, it's about respecting the other person's feelings. Sure, my attraction for another person doesn't just turn off when I'm in a relationship. But then I might harmlessly flirt for fun (and never in front of my boyfriend which would be inconsiderate). But it's clear that harmless flirtation like that will never go further. I would expect the same consideration in return. If I'm in a relationship and my guy falls for someone else, well you can't change your feelings. I wouldn't be thrilled about it, but I'd appreciate him being up front and honest. (At least a lot more than walking in on him in bed with some other girl). Now if he just cheats as a one night stand, then I wouldn't have much respect for him because without there being real emotion involved, I couldn't see a legitimate reason to hurt and humiliate me.

No, I have never cheated because it would constitute more than infidelity, it would constitute the lowering of my expectations for myself...It would be more than cheating on my significant other, it would be cheating on myself. If I crossed that line, than it would lead me to questioning what other lines I would cross...and I do not think that I am ready to face that considering I expect the best of everything, and the best out of everyone (including myself).

I cheated once about six years ago. I broke up with my high school sweetie and began seeing someone else. After about six months I went to visit my ex and the chemistry was still there. I believe that if you cheat most likely it is to fill something missing in your life and it may not even have anything to do with the person you are suppose to be faithful to. I felt so horrible that I told on myself immediately. To make it worse, my current boyfriend was willing to "forget" the matter. I ended up leaving and going back to my ex (the high school sweetie) and we were together another two years. I would never cheat again. If the desire came up and I really wanted to act on it, I would leave first.

Yes, I've cheated with my best-friend of 25 years - a guy I've known for most of my life. It started out harmlessly enough - flirting, teasing, then it became an email love affair of the most beautiful words I've ever heard. It was really hard to pretend we were still JUST friends when we all got together and eventually after spending the whole summer together playing ball, camping and hanging out, we got caught. We were always trying to find time alone, to talk, to flirt whatever. It wasn't sex, but sex isn't the only thing that constitutes cheating - although it was talked about a lot. We did it because we knew we were making each other feel good. My relationship with my husband was lacking in giving me that kind of attention and when our friend starting telling me just what I wanted to hear, I fell for it. I loved it. I wanted the attention -so did he. Do I regret it? Yes. Not only did it hurt my marriage considerably although we're still together, now I've lost one of my best friends. That wasn't worth it at all.

Yes, but (right!) it was a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. If that really counts. It does count, since I felt guilty. But during marriage "NO WAY", I think those two relationships are different as marriage is for life, and if you don't think you'll be able to be faithful during marriage, a person shouldn't get married. I cheated on my boyfriend mainly because I didn't think the relationship was going to work, and he was miles away and I hadn't seen him in a long time.

Yes, I cheated. I wanted to be loved and in love. I wanted someone to love me and care for me the way I thought it should be(fantasy). I thought I would find what I was missing in the arms, bed of another. What I did not realize was, I was not putting 110 percent in the marriage so I could not expect to get anything close to that out of it.

I just recently cheated for the first time. I had been with my husband for 23yrs, and never even thought about it until recently. I became unhappy in my marriage and tired of explaining my every move to my husband. I also wanted to work part time outside my home, for the first time in 18 yrs, after my daughter moved out on her own. My husband did not like this idea. To make a long story short, I tried to communicate how I was feeling, but he did not seem to hear me. Feeling lonely I began talking in the chat rooms, and decided to meet a fellow that was also married. I thought that if I had an affair than I would be deserving of how I was being treated by my husband, in respect to having to explain myself all the time. After having the affair I did not feel bad. That was three months ago. My husband knows and says he forgives me. Unfortunately I separated from him, and I am still seeing this fellow regularly. I don't regret it, because I realized afterwards that I that I did not respect or love my husband any longer, and I was able to make the decisions I needed to move on in my life.

I have cheated. My boyfriend is only 21 and I am 25. quite frequently he spends his weekends at his "cousins" house about 45 mins. away. I get lonely and one weekend I decided I was tired of being alone. I cheated and all I thought about was my boyfriend. He is the only man I want. The best looking I have met. He has my heart and there is no love making unless it's with him.

My husband of 25+ years is now severely disabled. Prior to his stroke, I never even considered any form of infidelity. His CVA three years ago left him with serious dementia (similar to Alzheimer's Disease), and he's become violent. I anticipate his entering a managed care facility within the next few weeks. It was a hard decision to make, but my mourning happened when the stroke first happened. He's not the man I married. Just in the last few months, I've become involved in an Internet 'affair' with a wonderful gentleman in another country. His letters are long and thoughtful. It's a strange feeling to have a man actually attentive to me, as a person, not just as a cook and housekeeper. Although it is unlikely we shall ever actually meet, were he to extend the invitation, I would be on a plane in a second. No second thoughts, no regrets.

Yes, I did with this one hot guy and I kept quiet for a little while then I felt guilty and told my husband and we are still trying to work through it. Sadly enough if I had the chance to do it again with the same guy I would.

I had been married for 2 1/2 years with 2 children when my husband and I began attending college. I went to classes during the day, and my husband at night. I developed a friendship with a young man who was in 3 of my classes, studying and occasionally going to lunch with other students. I had always been open with my husband, and I made no secret of my friendship. Valentine's morning, 1986, I was getting ready to leave and kissed my husband good-bye, telling him I loved him. He rolled over and said "Don't have too much sex today." Stunned and hurt, I responded that I would make sure I could still walk home. That morning, David and I had an exam, and both finished early. With a couple of hours before our next class, he asked if I wanted a beer, and we went to his car in the parking lot. As we sat and talked, the conversation turned to my husband and I related that mornings events. David looked at me, said "What the hell" and leaned over and kissed me. We had never made any sexual innuendo during our friendship, due to my marriage, but the electricity was amazing. We began an affair that lasted about 4 months, until my husband made me drop out of school. Do I regret the affair? No. My marriage, even though my husband discovered the affair a year later, lasted another 5 1/2 miserable years. I was held hostage in a loveless relationship over fear of losing my children, and my husband always used the affair as his ammunition. In the end, it was he who suggested the divorce, and I never hesitated in agreeing.

2) What constitutes cheating? Does it have to involve sex, or intimacy? Or can one cheat by falling in love with another, or even by simply fantasizing of another? Are there other forms of cheating?

It depends on how involved the relationship is and the level of commitment between the partners. Also, it depends on what sort of relationship the couple has decided on. If they have agreed to be exclusive then even a date without any sexual involvement can be considered cheating. It's really up to the couple to decide what they constitute cheating.

Yes there are other forms of cheating. It could be because the other person isn't doing their job as far as trying to make things work out so the best thing to do is just hold on to them but get someone else that does what they don't do.

Let's put it this way. If you can't do it in front of you significant other than it's cheating. I can flirt like crazy with girls and doesn't bother my Fiancée at all. But if it hurt her I'd stop right away.

I don't believe that fantasizing constitutes cheating. What goes on in another person's mind is their business, so long as it doesn't affect the relationship negatively. As for falling in love with someone else, I don't think you can necessarily help that. I don't think it's something you plan. I do think you should be honest and break it off with the person you're with before becoming involved with the other person though. So I believe that cheating has to involve intimacy of some kind. Let's be honest folks, you KNOW when it's cheating. Sex goes without saying. Basically anything where you show a complete lack of consideration for your partner, just to get your kicks or satisfy your own needs, is cheating. It's saying, "I don't care how you feel, I'm all about how I feel." For it to not be cheating you'd have to have an "open" relationship, or break up with your partner first.

Sex is not the only thing that constitutes cheating. You can cheat by intimacy, by falling in love with another person and by allowing yourself to be too close to someone emotionally. Words and kissing also constitute as cheating - especially if you have feelings for that person.

There are different types of intimacy - intimacies between friends or between partners are different. In a perfect world, partners would be best friends, and share absolutely everything. One thing we've all learned is that the world is not perfect, and many people have best friends that are not their life partners. My best friend, a woman, and I have an intimate relationship that is not sexual in any sense. She and I share things that neither of us shares with anyone else. Is that cheating? I don't believe it is. I feel that cheating involves physical, sexual contact. I love my friend - I would do anything for her. Does that mean I love my partner any less? No, it is 2 different levels of love.

3) What would you do if you discovered your partner cheated on you? Does cheating end a relationship?

I would be extremely hurt. I try my best not to step across that line to him and I expect him to give me the same respect. If he was to step over that line and I found out, our marriage would be over. Not only would he be cheating on me, but he would be cheating on our 3 children. He would ruin our family unity just for sex and that is childish.

I don't know. I like to think I'd hear him out. Maybe it was a one-time mistake, done during some drunken episode, and he completely regrets it and will never do it again. I like to think that in that case I might forgive him. But a friend of mine has a saying: "One is his fault, twice is yours". So I wouldn't be forgiving him a second time. And whether I forgave him or not, I think our relationship would bear a permanent scar. Personally, I take a very long time to trust someone completely, so a betrayal of trust to me is the worst thing a person could possibly do. So to tell the truth, I might not be able to forgive him, which is sad, maybe, but I think he would know that was a possibility before he cheated. I also think it would bother me more since it's something I believe I would never do.

Cheating doesn't have to end a relationship if both people discuss it and recommit to each other. I see cheating as a symptom of other problems in a relationship, not as the entire problem itself. If both people notice the symptoms and agree to work on solving the problems, then it's possible for the couple to stay together. If I found out that my partner was cheating on me, it would be time for a long, long talk about our relationship.

4) What is the best book, play, movie, article or story you have ever seen or read about cheating? Why would you recommend it?

Note: Conversely neither endorses nor rejects the selections below:

  • The Great Gatsby

  • Bridges of Madison County

  • Urban Cowboy

  • What's Love Got To Do with It?

  • Road Trip

  • Playing by Heart

  • The Postman Always Rings Twice

More In This Corner!

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