Cheating. Infidelity. Disloyalty. Untrustworthiness (is that a word?) Whatever you want to call it, cheating in relationships seems to almost be par for the course these days. We often talk about how difficult it is to find happy, healthy, solid relationships in our society – and there are many different sets of circumstances that get blamed for this.
I was out with someone a few weeks ago and she was talking to me about how she felt that all of the temptation put forth by social media has really hurt the concept of monogamy and shifted the dating scene to something much more fleeting. Hence: The hookup culture. A somehow accepted norm in our generation that we just can’t handle being with one person anymore.
We need the flavor of the week. To upgrade. To always be testing the waters. To be onward and upward to the next best thing (person) as soon as they come along. I talk about this often in my articles and videos, discussing our ‘disposable society.’ However, while this is something that social media and the increased pace of our society has brought to light, it is not something that we have created.
You see, cheating on significant others has been around for as long as significant others have been around. Even the eras of our history that we romanticize – like the 1950’s – were full of debauchery and cheating. They had no Facebook or Instagrams or Tinders. They had no DM’s to slide into. They just had the newspaper, house phones (maybe), black and white TV, and the copy room at the office…
When the aforementioned girl I was out with told me about her theory of social media causing cheating, I gave my perspective that it doesn’t cause cheating, it is just another tool for it. So if social media isn’t the leading cause of cheating in our society, what is…?
Cheaters have, and always will be, the cause of cheating in relationships. I fully stand by the position that if a man or woman is in a relationship and has absolutely no interest in pursuing anyone else, that temptation simply doesn’t matter, because they do not even entertain the idea. Cheating has been around long before modern technology and it will be around long after it. It simply empowers the cheater in new ways, it doesn’t create them.
For me, if I am single, I am on the prowl just as much as the next guy. I would love to meet a woman who I really click with, am attracted to, and can build a future with. When I find that woman and end up in a relationship, I have absolutely zero interest in flirting with or spending time with other women, unless it is completely platonic friendship, or professional.
Am I perfect? Of course not – far from it. Would I ever cheat on a girlfriend or wife? Absolutely not in a million years. This is the problem with “monogamy” these days, it is seen as circumstantial. “I will commit to you as long as nobody better comes along…”
Screw that. A committed relationship is a committed relationship. If you are going to act single or if you are going to cheat, then just leave. Save your partner the heartbreak and torment of tossing their feelings aside for the sake of a temporary fling.
Many people will tell me that monogamy is not “natural,” which is actually true. Human beings are not biologically programmed to be with one single other human for their entire lives. Hell, even marriage is a social construct that started out as a transaction between families to marry off their children in exchange for power or land. But society has evolved, and so have we.
Marriage today is a choice. Women make just as much money as men and no longer need to get married like they did 50 or 60 years ago in order to build a life. This is even more reason why when a couple joins hands and pledges to stay for life, they should mean it. We know what we’re getting into. We know what our challenges are going to be. We know there are models and 6-packs and airbrushed tans all around us, and none of it is going away. So when we make the conscious decision to be with one single person for life, there should be no question of its sincerity.
Anytime I write an article like this I get people who comment things like “well, what if there is abuse?” OBVIOUSLY if there is any sort of abuse, threat to your well-being, toxicity, or just good ol’ fashioned incompatibility, then YOU SHOULD NOT STAY IN THE RELATIONSHIP.
What I am talking about is people who face normal everyday hardships and choose to walk away because it’s just “too hard.” Divorce and breakups have become so easy they might as well create a drive-through divorce service (hey, nobody steal that idea…).
The bottom line is this – being in a relationship is about choosing your significant other every single day. About feeling as though he/she is the best person out there for you, and putting forth the effort to make the relationship work consistently. This needs to come from both partners, all the time.
If it sounds difficult, that’s because nothing worthwhile comes easy. That’s why so many relationships fail today – people aren’t willing to put in the effort.
But just remember, the RIGHT person will keep showing you how much you mean to them, long after they’ve already gotten you.
This article originally appeared on James Michael Sama’s Blog
Photo credit: Getty Images