In his recent blog on The Frisky, blogger John DeVore theorized about "Why Men Cheat Redux." Apparently, DeVore has made a habit of examining this topic which either incites ire or excites, maybe a bit of both. DeVore chalks it up to “people are jerks.”
I do not agree.
As a culture, we like to demonize sex while sneaking a peek at Cinemax late night. I suspect that’s part of the reason all these holy roller politicians are caught chasing wives of donors or playing footsie in an airport bathroom. The whole sneaky devil aspect of sex can be heady. Enter Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer, stage right.
Religion dictates any desires which take us away from prayer should be avoided at all cost. Put down the beer and potato chips. Of course, we know this doesn’t actually work.
When we lock temptation in the closet and throw away the key, boys and girls will try to break the lock.
It’s like this. Lots of mothers avoid buying Coke, Oreos, Doritos which inspire junk food lust. Out of sight, out of mind. Due in part to pretty restrictive dieting as a kid, I vowed to adopt a more laissez-fair approach with my own daughters. When you can have some Ruffles at will, the allure just isn’t there. My kids can take a few chips when they are hungry and call it a day. Not so for the snack food restricted. They’ll loot through the pantries and fridge like a burglar routing through drawers in search of diamonds to pawn. The forbidden fruit.
People have been tempted since time began. Cavemen, Eve, that crafty serpent and the apple. Essentially, all “moral code” deals with spitting temptation in the face. When that doesn’t work, a hundred Hail Mary’s or Yom Kippur. Asceticism equals moral fibers.
Am I suggesting we just throw away our moral codes? Not really. I’m just suggesting equating the avoidance of temptation with moral character doesn’t always work. It’s like the self avowed pious and religious leaders who abscond with money from the church, nursing home, or non-profits in a Ponzi scheme. Prayers and refusing prosciutto only go so far.
Defining the parameters of a committed relationship determines what constitutes “cheating.” Does a ring on your finger or the vow to forsake mean restricting all outside communication? Where do therapists, friends, and that pair of shoes you've hidden in the back of the closet fit into this equation?The presumption that couples are soul mates who must share everything to the exclusion of everyone else is pretty impossible to attain, should you even desire such a restrictive and unhealthy relationship. In fact, abusers will stop at nothing to cut off a partner's outside ties to feed the bottomless appetite for power and control. We need to share feelings and experiences with someone other than the person snoring in the bed. Especially when that person is emotionally unavailable.
So, Mr. DeVore, why do people cheat? There as many reasons as definitions of what constitutes cheating.