Season 2, Episode 6 - The Cheating Curve
I remember when I was a silly freshman in college, an older friend shocked me by telling me that 99% of married men will either a) cheat on their wives, or b) wish to cheat on their wives but lack the balls to do so. I was shocked and felt sad (mostly for my future self) about this, but since then I've accepted this as a possibly true statistic. There are some sad true stories of people out there who cheat on their spouses throughout the entire dating relationship and on through marriage. As if cheating is not that big of a deal. Whether or not this is a true statistic, I believe in anomalies ; )
I bring up this "statistic" bc it depicts the two types of cheating: the physical action of cheating and emotional cheating. In the episode, the 4 ladies discuss different degrees of cheating along the cheating curve, but I really see it as two separate (though often intertwined) curves.
Physical cheating is the actual act of going out and cheating on one's significant other. The severity can vary, from a kiss, to a makeout session, to multiple sexual encounters. I recently saw The Descendants with George Clooney (swoon!). In it, George Clooney's wife cheats on him with another man. The man, who is married, professes that he loves his wife and family. To him, the relationship is purely physical and there is no emotion involved.
Emotional cheating is what the wife in the movie does. She loves the man with whom she is cheating on George Clooney. She wants to leave her family for him. And to a lesser degree, there are those who like or even love others even if no action is taken. In my opinion, this is equally hurtful as physical cheating and should definitely considered a form of cheating. The mind is a powerful thing.
These are not difficult ideas to comprehend, but things get complicated when physical cheating and emotional cheating are tangled together. I had broken up with an ex-boyfriend of mine without too much bitterness and hurt (relatively), when I heard through a good friend that he had slept with an acquaintance/friend of mine just a few months after our breakup. At the time, we had been broken up, but in my mind, the situation was equivalent to cheating on me - emotional cheating. Looking back, I had always felt uncomfortable about their overly flirtatious relationship and I began to wonder. Did he always like her? Did he always feels attracted to her? Was this inevitable, but I had failed to see it coming? Would this have happened even if we were still together? Wondering these things and connecting the dots made me feel betrayed and bitter and hurt. So much for a good break-up...
Sometimes I torture myself by asking, "would you rather be cheated on emotionally or physically?" Though I cheat myself by telling myself, "neither!" I can't really say what's worse. Which would you rather endure?