Is there such a thing as 'respectful infidelity'? This man says yes.

Cheating. Can it ever be respectful?






So respectful infidelity is a thing. Apparently. At least that’s the idea behind a recent article in NY Mag, called “Confessions of a Serial Cheater.”

The story has been told by a gentleman who has chosen to remain anonymous, which is unfortunate because it’s hard to hate strongly dislike an anonymous person. But Anonymous is doing his level best to make disliking him easier than it should be. You see, he’s cheated on his fiancee about 20 times – but doesn’t want to break up with her – because he loves her.

Here’s a disclaimer: Personally, I’ve never actually been cheated on. Not that I know of, anyway. I’ve had several relationships but they’ve ended by natural course rather than one person really screwing the other person over.

So I don’t usually get too riled up when people talk about cheaters. But men like this Anonymous guy give men a bad name. It’s men like this one who perpetuate the stereotype that males can’t keep it in their pants. It’s men like this one who shouldn’t be given a voice to actually speak about their cheating, in case someone else reads it and decides that their cheating is somehow justified too.

Let’s go through all the parts of the article that I specifically hated:

For a start, his opening line:

Do I remember the first time I ever cheated? You would think I should, right?

Yeah, I think you should. Probably because it’s a really horrible thing to do and most humans with some grasp of basic morality generally recall horrible things that they’ve done. Especially the first time that they did said horrible thing.

His reasoning for cheating:

When it’s someone else, you’re exploring somewhere you’ve never been, and your heart is racing, and you can feel the excitement in her as well. I think that is really amazing. Just having that. If I go a certain amount of time where I haven’t been with anyone new, I start to feel like I’m bottling something up.

Oh Anonymous Knob-cloud, that must be hard for you. Bottling something up because you haven’t managed to put your sausage in someone who isn’t your partner’s English McMuffin (thanks for the reference, Bridesmaids) for a while… tough.

Here’s a hint: some people are suffering from real problems. Deaths of famly members. Poverty. Addiction. You’re lucky to have a privileged life, with someone who loves you (and doesn’t yet know about your cheating addiction). Stop purposely and knowingly ruining that.

The other thing? Lots of people have managed to stay in monogamous relationships and plenty of them admit that it’s not always fireworks and amazingness.

Google how to spice things up in your current relationship and maybe you’ll get your heart racing without, you know, potentially breaking someone else’s.

Stupid sentences such as this one:

The first thing out of my mouth isn’t “I have a girlfriend,” but if I got asked the question, I wouldn’t lie. For some reason, I feel wrong about lying, but I’m fine with leaving out the truth.

Leaving out the truth is also a form of lying, Anonymous.

That’s like saying, “I didn’t eat that cookie, it just found its way into my mouth.”

Santa isn’t going to suddenly cross you off his “Naughty” list just because you occasionally feel bad about doing something that is pretty bad.

His attempt at explaining respectful infidelity:

As much as I’ve been unfaithful at times, I’ve tried, as respectfully as I could, to do it without hurting anyone’s feelings and getting caught.

Because if a tree falls in a forest and nobody saw it – did it really happen? This is the prime example of someone who isn’t sorry for their actions – they’re only sorry if they get caught. Ladies, if you ever find yourself with someone like this… make like Usain Bolt and get. out. as. quickly. as. possible.

His attempted justification at not being a complete slimebag of a human being: 

There are things you reserve for the person you love, like spending the night in that person’s arms. I’m not going to be unpassionate with someone I’m cheating with, but I won’t spend the night… I also don’t go down on other women, because I want less intimacy with the people I’m cheating with, and going down on a woman is one of the most intimate things for me.

Oh. So that makes it okay. Of course. How silly I’ve been.

His other attempted justification that it makes his relationship better:

Often times, after having something else, I enjoy going back to her more. It sounds so weird, but we work better when I’m cheating. Other than the feeling of guilt, it alleviates the pressure in our relationship.

Because your relationship is going to be so much better when she finds out that you’ve been cheating on her…?

But hold on. HOLD ON. It’s not all too bad. Apparently Douchebag Anonymous wants to change now that he’s engaged. He’s worried about ruining people’s lives (there’s a change in moral fibre):

I want to be the man that I always wanted to be. I never imagined myself cheating on my wife, and I don’t plan on doing that. And I haven’t cheated on her since we’ve gotten engaged.

But he’s worried:

But how does someone who craves something new all the time ever live in this traditional situation of monogamy? How can someone with that feeling ever be married? It sucks. It fucking sucks. And I swear to God, cheating is part of what makes me me… I worry that I’ll wither and die when I let that part of myself go.

I don’t want to be disillusioned. I know the vast, vast majority of blokes are not this emotionally repugnant. But god, it’s hard to believe in the good when there are men out there who legitimately think they will wither and die if they ever stop cheating on their significant others.

Or am I just being really harsh? Am I too wooed by the idea of fairytales and romance that lasts forever, and picking one person and being happy with that person? Does Anonymous have a point – is there such a thing as respectful infidelity?

Eva is an aspiring writer from Melbourne. She’s not very technologically savvy and spends most of her spare time trying to figure out Macs. One day she will write the next great Australian novel.