Any of you watch Vanderpump Rules? I don’t often either, but my partner does, so I get to hear all of the juicy gossip. And right now on the show there’s a high-profile cheating scandal (*gasp*! On a reality show?) that could be destroying (or making) careers.
It seems one of the stars of the show, Tom Sandoval, was carrying on with another star behind his partner Ariana’s back. She apparently found this out through his phone, where she discovered graphic sexting videos with another woman.
I don’t know all the details, and I don’t condone going through other people’s phones, as things can be taken out of context. But the reality is if you don’t have anything incriminating on your phone, then you shouldn’t be worried if your partner sees the contents.
From the episodes that I’ve watched, Ariana is one of my favourite characters. She seems markedly smarter than some of the others on the show that make my head spin. So I feel bad for her. I also didn’t mind Tom, he seemed like an okay guy with a good sense of humour. Now I say to Tom: you’re an idiot.
Raquel (formerly just Rachel, who is/was having the affair with Tom) allegedly got hit in the face when their mutual friend heard about the situation. I don’t like violence. But I also don’t like the fact that cheaters, as they often do, try to place blame on other parties for their behaviour.
In her Instagram apology, Raquel says, “I have been physically assaulted, lost friendships, received death threats and hate emails in addition to having had my privacy violated.” (She prefaces this by saying she is accepting of the “good and bad” that comes with being a reality star.)
But this brings me to my main reason to write this. It’s not about my love for reality television, but rather how pretty much all cheating leads to heavy damage for little gain, if any.
Affairs: short-term gain for long-term pain?
If the goal is to be with an affair partner long-term, the odds are clearly stacked against the cheaters. Only about 5% of affairs end up surviving as a relationship.
That’s likely because if you’re the type that never fully accepts the person they’re with, then you’ll probably have another affair within an affair. The cycle of cheating will continue, leaving you ever unsatisfied.
Listen, I don’t condone cheating, but I can understand the motives. Sometimes relationships break down, and sometimes people make impulsive decisions they later regret. Affair sex is possibly more exciting, as it’s dangerous and taboo and all that fun stuff.
But in many cases, the offending partner goes along with the main relationship as if everything’s normal and fine (until the evidence pops up.) They put on a public lovey-dovey face, while nailing their partner’s friend in their bedroom.
In this case, Tom loses a loyal girlfriend of almost a decade (who will probably now have an amazing revenge era, as she rightly should.) What is Tom left with? Mostly public shame, possible damage to his business (that he shares with another guy named Tom on the show), and a big red flag on his forehead to all future women considering dating him.
Cheating itself doesn’t make a person terrible in my opinion (but it’s obviously not good either.) But to be able to walk around unaffected — without any signs of guilt or remorse — while carrying on behind your lover’s back shows a real lack of character. It’s possibly worse than the sex act itself, which in some cases can be forgiven if there’s a bond that can be salvaged.
I’d gamble that most affairs are born out of boredom and resentment, as the experts say. People are looking for that rush of adrenaline that one gets during the Honeymoon phase of a relationship. Or perhaps they’re just trying to punish their partner for neglectful or abusive behaviour.
Yeah, I get that sex is a powerful magnet. But I also think our frontal lobes have evolved to the point where we can override our animal instincts and keep it in our pants.
Sure, there was lots of alcohol poured into the mix (literally) on Vanderpump, which is known for clouding judgment. But I still don’t see that as an excuse to make out with someone other than your partner. If you make bad choices when drunk, then it’s probably time to cut down on drinking.
Then there are the other possible pitfalls of affairs: you could get pregnant, and then have to deal with an unwanted child. You could contract or pass along an STD. You could also get slapped (or worse) by people you’ve betrayed.
Deal with truths, even if they suck
If you’re not happy with your relationship, you owe it someone you claim you love to discuss it. Maybe bring in a marriage counsellor if the conversation is too hard.
It might uncover painful truths, but I’m betting it’s better than telling your partner you’re already with someone else.
In other words, end your current relationship before you get dive into another. Another option is polyamory (open relationship), which is considered an “ethical” way to be with others. But while it seems to work for some, it definitely has its own risk label.
If you start fresh, you’ll possibly still get that rush of adrenaline from meeting someone new, and you’ll have a clear conscience. Most importantly, you won’t have dragged your partner through the mud so you can get your jollies on the side. Ask yourself… do they deserve that? Do you?
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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