From a statistical standpoint, men are more likely than women to step out on their relationships. However, at least in terms of marital infidelity, the spread between the genders is smaller than you might think: 22 percent of guys cheat compared with 14 percent of ladies
So why is it we only hear about how Tiger Woods
, Jesse James
, Bill Clinton
and the like couldn't stay true? What about all the ladies, famous or not, who are out there prowling for some of the strange?
Men get cheated on, too. To prove it, we talked to four regular guys who've felt the sickening smart of infidelity. They let us in on what they were able to learn from the unfortunate experience.
A few years after I graduated high school, I moved to a small town in Pennsylvania where I found myself working two dead-end jobs and living in a studio apartment that should have been condemned.
While working, I met this girl. She had long blond hair and didn't mind my small apartment or the fact that I worked 80 hours a week to make ends meet. A few months had gone by and she moved in.
One night I wasn't feeling well. Working from 6 to 2:30 p.m., followed by another shift from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., was finally taking its toll. I drove home and pulled into the drive to find my girlfriend's car and another I didn't recognize.
As soon as I stepped through the door, I could see two naked bodies jump from underneath sheets. When the initial shock faded and reality set in, I could feel the blood boil within me. Something snapped. I started grabbing her things and throwing them out the door.
The creature hissed and growled at me like a lioness protecting her cubs as she shuffled around trying to put on her clothes, but it was no use. By the time I was done, all of her belongings were scattered across the lawn.
Before closing the door in her face, I couldn't help feel sorry for her.
What I learned:
Being cheated on has left an emotional and insecure scar. It's hard to imagine such a beautiful and caring person could turn into such a vicious and poisonous viper. Cheating is not a remedy to a erroneous situation. If the circumstances are truly that bad, move on.
What happened: I was 19 and in my first relationship. In the words of Benjamin Disraeli, "The magic of first love is our ignorance that it can never end."
About a month into the relationship her ex, a mutual friend, was going to move to Colorado, and she wanted to spend some time with him before he left. I didn't think anything of it since we, by all appearances, were madly in love and our mutual friend was someone who I thought respected me.
Long story short, they got drunk and the rest is fairly easy to imagine. Our relationship imploded not long after that, but she didn't confess what she had done until six months after the fact, when we had gotten back together.
The confession shattered me into tiny bits of emotional hell. Despite the fact that it was a half a year later, I felt the pain like it had just happened. We were on-again, off-again for a few years, but I could never get over what had happened, and never fully trusted her after that.
Having experienced the pain of infidelity firsthand I swore I would never put someone through that same wringer.
What I learned:
I learned that physical attraction is more powerful than I had given it credit for, and in the right circumstances anyone would cheat on their significant other. The trick is to recognize this and not put yourself in a position where you are tempted, or you might be led into something that you will regret.
My girlfriend and I had been together for the better part of a year. We lived together, co-signing the lease on our apartment, and both our cars were in both of our names. I knew her schedule and we did just about everything together. I didn't think that fidelity was something I had to be worried about.
We were going through a rough spot, but when we discovered that we had a baby on the way, we decided to marry. We were both overjoyed -- spending much of our time talking about names, buying things for the baby, signing up for websites about parenting and telling our respective family and friends.
I went to pick up a few friends from work and had her phone with me. Bored, I flipped through our recent text messages, reading the conversations we'd been having. I stopped at one that said something along the lines of "I'm glad Danny isn't the father of my baby ..."
The news that my baby may not be mine was devastating -- but since she was pregnant, when I confronted her I was as calm as possible. Considering the status of the relationship at the time, I forgave her and we continued with our relationship almost another year, but the anger, pain, distrust and general bad blood between us eventually erupted in other ways, and we split up.
The truth is, it happens to us, too. And even though we're not supposed to talk about it, it hurts just as much.
What I learned:
I'm not really sure if I learned anything that's any good from the situation. All I can really say I took from it is that it became much harder for me to trust someone. I never intend to be the cause of so much pain. If I'm just not feeling it anymore, it's much better to break it off there, and not add insult to injury by cheating on her.
What happened: After dating a woman for a long period of time, I found out from one of her friends that my girlfriend had had a long history of cheating. I kept this conversation in the back of my mind, and never questioned my girlfriend about it ... until one day that she admitted to me that she had slept with someone else.
I sat in the room across from her in a daze for over an hour as she explained what happened. To this day, I still don't remember a word she said.
Even though I was being eaten up inside over this issue, my feelings for her blinded my decision-making. I spent the next few weeks trying to ignore the feelings of distrust that were boiling to the surface. After a few weeks, my girlfriend was seen with the person she had cheated on me with.
After confronting her about this issue for the second time, I realized that cheating was part of her personality, and I broke off the relationship. Over the next few weeks, I could not shake the feeling that every relationship that I was in was just a time bomb waiting to go off. At the same time, I could not shake the feelings of inadequacy, inability and inferiority.
What I learned:
I came to understand why people say that denial is one of the steps to acceptance. For some reason I believed that since she had admitted to cheating, she would never do it again. It was my mistake that I decided to forgive her.
Should you give a cheater another chance?
|No way -- you gotta kick the liar to the curb. ||66820 (49.3%)|
|Yes -- mistakes happen; you can work it out. ||8008 (5.9%)|
|Maybe -- It depends on the circumstances.||60599 (44.7%)|