Julien L. Balmer

I Don't Believe In Cheating, But I'd Never End My Marriage Because Of It

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Could you be with someone after they cheated on you? For most people, this is the cardinal sin in a relationship. The number one thing people usually have zero tolerance for is cheating. So, why would anyone ever continue to be in a relationship that has been violated?

Well, there are a couple of reasons. They may not make sense to you if you're in that situation, but they make sense to someone who's living it.

Take me, for example. I've been a cheater before, and one thing I've learned is if you get put in a situation where cheating is probable, then you most likely wanted to do it in the first place. Sure, you could blame it on alcohol, a rocky relationship or just chalk it up to being a mistake.

Bottom line is, if it happened, you let it happen. Deep down inside, you wanted it to happen. I'll admit that saying no is easier said than done, but once you find someone you're seriously invested in, saying no will be the easiest thing in the world to do.

I've never been cheated on (knock on wood), but if you would have asked me three years ago if I would stay with a girl after she cheated on me, the answer would definitely be no. Actually, it would be "Hell to the no." Realistically, it would be "HELL TO THE NAH."

"How dare you? Get out of my life forever," is what I would say.

But if you asked me today if it would be a deal-breaker if my wife cheated on me (God forbid), then it would be a totally different reaction. Sure, I would be hurt, but for the sake of my marriage and our son, I would consider staying and trying to work things out. That's one of the factors that comeS into play: history.

Have you been in a relationship for six months, or have you been married for 20 years? The thought of someone who's close to you damaging your relationship is unimaginable, but what I've found is those relationships are the ones that try to work it out the most, even if the offense happened more than once.

Another thing to consider is who in the relationship is doing the cheating. Now, don't get me wrong. Cheating is cheating. There aren't levels to cheating. There are no loopholes, and there definitely aren't any excuses.

I remember talking to a good friend of mine about his relationship, and he straight up told me he cheated on his girlfriend all the time. He knew he was wrong and he wanted to stop, but he couldn't.

"There were too many women to choose from," he would say. I patted him on the back because admitting it was the first step.

But, he also said if his girlfriend did the exact same thing to him, then it was like (and I quote), “She had committed murder.” This is one of those double standards I hate because you should be condemned for cheating no matter your sex, but a man's pride can convince him otherwise.

One thing that is almost completely overlooked when talking about cheating is what your position is in the relationship. I know it sounds weird, but it happens all the time. You're spending all your time with this guy or girl. You've had sex already. Then suddenly, they move on to someone else and you're left feeling hurt. But were you two in a monogamous relationship, or were you just enjoying each other's company?

When I was a player, I dealt with multiple women at a time. Some of them were in more of a relationship kind of situation with me than the other women. I always made it clear that we were not in a relationship, and I was seeing other people. But more importantly, they were free to do the same.

Things would be going fine until those boundaries were crossed, and someone would think it was a relationship when it wasn't. That's when I had to remind them this isn't what they thought it was. As cold as that sounded, the option to leave was a mere text away. But, no one ever left.

It wasn't because I was that much of a stud, but rather they knew what they were getting from me. Once they hit that ceiling, that was it. They may have not liked it, but they couldn't hate me for being honest.

On the other hand, you may be in an exclusive relationship where you're expected to be faithful. You're left without even an inch of gray area to wiggle around if you ever get caught.

When you're in a committed relationship, cheating isn't just a mistake you made one night. It's a sign of disrespect for a relationship you and your significant other worked so hard to put together. It's a forfeiture of trust you secured from one another. It's an asterisk on your relationship, and no matter how small it is, it's still there in the back of everyone's minds.

This is the standard when it comes to cheating on an SO or spouse, but there should also be a certain level of forgiveness. Just because you forgive someone doesn't mean you have to stay with that person. In order for you to move past the ordeal, and for you own sanity, you must forgive them eventually. Whether you move on with or without the cheating partner is totally up to you.

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So, the question still remains: Is cheating really a deal-breaker? My answer to this question is not so black and white. My answer to this question is, don't be a fool.

We live in a second chance society, but sometimes, your brain should come before your heart. If you're in a relationship for less than a year, you never lived together and you're trying to figure things out, chances are, this relationship won't last for long if one of you cheated. Again, that doesn't ring true for everyone, but you should make that final decision based on the evidence presented to you.

On the other hand, if you do decide to forgive, then you should do just that. Truly forgive the person who hurt you. Nothing is worse than having a constant reminder of your infidelity every time you hit a bump in the road. Forgiveness is a choice, not a weapon to be used to throw in someone's face.

Sometimes this one lapse in judgement can be the thing that makes your relationship stronger, but only if you're ready to move on. When it's all said and done, if you suspect anything — and I mean anything — don't be afraid to ask. You'll either have a heartbreaking conversation, or something to laugh about in 20 minutes.

This article was originally published on the author's personal blog.