“If he did it without your knowledge, and stayed silent about it afterwards, it’s cheating.”
Frequently I hear from young women who are confused about whether they’ve been cheated on. They feel hurt and betrayed by a guy who hooked up with someone else, but the guy has coughed up some lame-ass excuse for his behavior, often falling back on the technicalities of the definition of cheating. Here’s a dictionary definition of the word cheat:
cheat (v): to deceive or mislead somebody, especially for personal advantage
If you are exclusive with a guy, and he gets with someone else, he is cheating. Period. And I don’t want to hear any excuses about your not officially being in a relationship:
re·la·tion·ship (n): the connection between two or more people or groups and their involvement with each other, especially as regards how they behave and feel toward each other and communicate or cooperate
Even if you claim that you are not officially in a RELATIONSHIP, you most certainly have a relationship. That means he has an obligation to be honest and respectful of your feelings.
Once he has cheated on you, there is only one thing he can say that makes him potentially worth staying with, and he must say it before you find out about his cheating.
He must tell you:
He must then:
Even if he says all of these things, you need to think about whether or not you can forgive him, and whether the relationship is worth saving and rebuilding. On the other hand, if he trots out any of the following explanations after getting caught, you should get rid of him immediately. Guys can be very persuasive, as you well know. Here are some real-life excuses guys have muttered in their attempts to get away with cheating:
1. “You’re going abroad next semester, so in my mind we were already broken up.”
In your mind? In your mind doesn’t count, unless that thought travels out through your mouth. If we have agreed not to hook up with other people, then the only thing that can alter that agreement is a conversation between us, where you communicate clearly that you no longer intend to be exclusive.
2. “I was really, really drunk. I was blackout. I never would have done that sober.”
Um, no. Here’s a case where actions tell the whole story. Drinking releases inhibitions, it’s true. So when you got drunk, you did exactly what you wanted to do. You made a choice.
3. “Well, technically I didn’t cheat because we were on a break last weekend.”
Going on a break in our relationship does not mean a wild weekend for you followed by getting back with me on Monday. So you had sex with someone else and now you realize your mistake. I could have told you that, now it’s too late. You’ve broken something.
4. “I never would have pursued her. When I got to my car, room, etc. she was waiting. It didn’t mean anything.”
Don’t act like you couldn’t have said no. Of course it means something. It means you don’t care enough about me to resist the temptation. It means you were only concerned about yourself and getting off.
5. “Look, I dated her for 3 years. It wasn’t a big deal, we just made out. It was just because of our history, and because we never really had closure.”
So you think it is appropriate to hook up with someone for old times’ sake, even when you are dating someone else. How to you plan to handle your tenth high school reunion once you’re married?
6. “You were sending me angry texts that night. I didn’t think you cared.”
Just because we were in a fight and I was angry with you doesn’t give you the right to hook up with someone else behind my back. If I’m sending you angry texts, it’s because I care very much what is happening between us.
7. “We just slept in the same bed together. We didn’t do anything. We’re just friends.”
Even if that is true, it is totally inappropriate for you to share that level of physical closeness with a friend. You should have known I would find that upsetting and threatening, and if you weren’t sure you should have asked.