Cheat on me once, shame on you; cheat on me twice, shame on me.
It’s a game most students have been involved in, whether being the “other” woman/man, the disloyal partner or the betrayed one. But the seemingly black-and-white scenario of cheating has become mixed up and muddled into a broad, gray area. Where do you draw the line on what is cheating?
Is sneaky behavior where there is no physical involvement the same as completly unemotional physical contact? People differ in their opinions but for some, emotional cheating creates even more turmoil in their relationships. It can begin by forming a simple friendship, but a fine line can develop between friendship and “emotional lovers.” When a boyfriend or girlfriend turns to someone else to fulfill a need or void, some would consider this cheating. Is this jealousy or simple intuition? Depending on a person’s outlook on a relationship, emotional involvement with another person may not be a big deal, or it could be a deal breaker.
This type of cheating tends to arise unintentionally and can be easily masked by the guilty party. Sometimes it is easier simply because the person involved isn’t even fully aware of their actions and the developing situation.
Scenario One: A man in a serious, long-term relationship meets a new woman and an instant friendship with romantic undertones ensues. He avoids the relationship topic and continues to pursue her as a “single” man. This involves spending time together without the man informing his girlfriend. The chemistry is undeniable between the pair, but the relationship struggles to move forward because of the “unknown” circumstances. The “friend” does not become fully aware of the situation until the man is forced to reveal the pertinent information upon reaching a turning point in the relationship. Did he cheat?
Scenario Two: A woman enters a new relationship and her late single life somehow seems to creep up on her at parties or at the bars. She can’t figure out why she finds others sexually attractive, even though she thinks the world of her significant other. Maybe it is a sexual need or the sudden rush of getting close to someone she doesn’t know. This need turns into quick makeout sessions without any emotional attachment. A warm body and quick kiss becomes to her a simple hello to the opposite (or same) sex. How do we categorize this?
Either way you look at, these situations are both bad. College is a time of experimentation, making it difficult for some to maintain a monogamous relationship. If you are not ready to devote yourself to one person, maybe you should not attempt to be in an exclusive relationship. It is unfair to the other person who may have no trouble sticking with just you.
Monogamy is a hard concept, but paired with the right person it can happen. Defining “cheating” is becoming increasingly difficult, especially during the college years. New friendships are constantly being formed which leads to more and more temptation.
Where do you draw the line on defining cheating?
Jessica Ford is a journalism senior and Elizabeth Yi is an animal science senior. Ford and Yi are the love, sex and dating columnists and can be contacted at email@example.com.