No matter what age you are, there seems to be this theme these days where the act of 'cheating' is considered somewhat normal. There's so many memes and jokes about it (side hoes anybody?), and pretty much guaranteed that you either know someone close to you that's been cheated on, or you've been cheated on yourself.
It. Bloody. Sucks.
Just because something has been normalised - doesn't mean it's right. Just because you COULD potentially get a tattoo on your face, doesn't mean that's the RIGHT decision.
So we know that cheating on someone is an awful, heart breaking thing to do - but how do we make our own decisions about what’s okay, and what's not?
Here's a little "Cheat sheet for Cheating" (ba-dum-tsh), but first, just remember this.
It's entirely, completely up to you and what you are comfortable. No one has the right to decide what's okay for you, so once you know where your line is - stand your ground. It's actually okay for people to not agree! Everything in this post is subject to change if you don't agree - that's the beauty of relationships tbh, every single one is different.
WHAT COUNTS AS CHEATING?
Mate. This question is a minefield. Let's crack on into it shall we? The line for what you consider cheating is extremely fluid. I want to stress this because I'm not looking down on relationships where both parties have freedom to do what they like, that's all good! It's all good if both people agree and have mutual respect - that's what a relationship is all about!
Cheating could count as:
- messaging another person in an emotional or intimate way
- flirting with someone (with or without the intention of following through)
- messaging someone in a sexual sense (with or without in real life contact)
- kissing another person
- intimate or romantic physical contact (like cuddling, spooning, sleeping over in someones bed)
- sharing photos in a sexual context
- any sexual activity
The best thing to do is read through these, and decide where you sit in this list. A lot of people count all these things as cheating, and some only count sex.
No one gets to tell you that your values are wrong! Especially not someone that you have a crush on, or you're dating - those are the guys that should be paying attention! Like, duh.
If your boyfriend is messaging another woman in a way that you're not happy with - you're not a crazy bitch for thinking so. Hold your head up high! (Then go punch something soft, I reckon)
ARE DRUGS OR ALCOHOL EVER AN EXCUSE FOR CHEATING?
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and give a definite answer - No, I'm solidly of the opinion that being drunk or high is never an acceptable excuse for cheating on someone.
If you're drinking to the point where you can't control yourself sexually, or with the opposite sex - then you should 1. not be drinking that much and 2. not be in a relationship.
Being drunk isn't an excuse for being a dick, and doing something that you know your partner isn't cool with - is being a dick. Sorry, not sorry.
IS CHEATING ABUSE?
This is really something only you can answer, my babes.
Does your partner cheat on you all the time?
Do they blame YOU for them cheating?
Do they cheat on you to get back at you for something, or just to deliberately make you upset?
Do you end up being the one saying sorry?
If you think 'yes' - to any of these options - then I would say that they are using cheating as an abusive tactic, and it's definitely not okay.
A friend of mine went out to town with me and some of our friends one night, and her partner was really upset with the outfit she chose to wear. We went out anyway, and so did he.
He ended up cheating on her that night, and his reason was "You went out dressed like a skank, so I went out and got with someone else before you could do that to me".
He blamed HER doing nothing, for his bad behaviour. What the eff.
Listen - nothing you can ever do is reason for someone doing that to you. You aren't making them jump into someone’s bed, you aren't making them message other people. You don’t have crazy powers, this isn’t Twilight.
Let people be responsible for their OWN behaviour.
DO I LEAVE?
My girl. It's up to you.
Can you trust them again? Can you ever forgive, or even forget?
Some couples move past cheating, and stay together. Some try to move past it and they just can't. You need to put you and your mental health first - have some respect for your own values and feelings. I can't tell you what's right to do, I can only try to help you realise that cheating isn't normal, it isn't okay, and there are plenty of relationships that stay exclusive forever!
Decide what feels right for you, and only you. Then listen to a LOT of Little Mix.