On cheating and other such sparkly things

Sometime last year somebody published a study done by someone that claimed that men have a gene that makes them more likely to cheat on their partners than women do.

Ha!

That’s my reply. Yes, you got that right. I scoff, I sneer, I snort. I am skeptical. How on earth can one prove a thing like that? Besides one of the most profound things I heard in b-school was “There are three kinds of lies…white lies, damn lies and statistics.” And so there.

For all the men who love to hate me on the grounds that I am a feminist, kindly sit up and take note. I do not blindly assume that men are capable of every vile thing around. (Only the dumb, moronic things!)

Coming back to what I was going to talk about…..cheating in relationships. I think the world can be easily divided into two types in a lot of ways. One of them is this: Those who cheat and those who don’t. I could have said that as those who are capable of cheating and those who are incapable of cheating. But these days I’m beginning to think that capability is only a matter of attitude. And attitude is a momentary thing.

Personally I can’t fathom the dynamics of cheating. No, not what lies work best, how to say them etc. But deep within the cheater’s (I know that isn’t a word but its easy to say and easier to type) mind, what strange thoughts twist emotion and attitude?

There are enough of shattered hearts and tattered illusions out there. And there are people causing them to be so. Relationships are available to nearly everybody, stability grows on most people and love happens to a select few. But some people never stop looking. There is always that new person with a better body, smarter wit, funnier jokes, more money. There is always that one irresistable opportunity that it is wrong to take but what the hell, what is the point of an opportunity if it isn’t taken? Yet not everyone does. I wonder if most people stay loyal to their partners out of fear or out of values.

There is an interesting discussion about cheating with one’s body and with one’s mind. Cheating with the body, that’s so easy. Easy to define, easy to catch, easy to judge. But cheating with one’s mind….that’s a different ballgame altogether. Where does one draw the line? Is it wrong to feel attraction for another when one is in a relationship? If so, is it being true to oneself, to deny it? And if one admits it to oneself at least, how does one stop the mind assuming that as permission to run into the very dangerous realms of fantasy and yearning? From there on, cheating with one’s body is but a minor step that barely seems to matter either way.

The reason I don’t believe that cheating is a gender-specific thing is because I know a lot of women, close friends many of them, who admit to have cheated. What’s more I even know someone who continues to cheat with no intention of stopping ever. This lady is married and a mom and one of my good friends. While I’ll never admit it openly, I have a lingering doubt about the paternity of the child that she adores. I also suspect that she continues to have the rip-roaring love life that she enjoyed in her younger days.

But I’m not gossiping. I adore her (as I do all my friends). Yes, in my eyes she still is the fun, affectionate gal who can make me laugh and cry alternately. I will still take up for her if anyone dares sully her name. But yes, deep down I’ll agree with the person who does. Strange, is it?

Certainly I know men who have cheated too, particularly a few who even boast about it. In fact I think the typical ‘cheater’ (yes, it is a type, there is a particular kind of person who is prone to cheating no matter who they are with)….is a bit like a hunter, who likes to display his/her trophies. Hunting has been outlawed in many parts of the world. But people still collect furs and animal heads. And hearts.

Ever read the book ‘Peter Pan’? It was about a boy who never grew up. And a girl who followed him, cared for him, made his life comfortable and generally adored him. One day he forgot her and she accepted it. He was after all, the boy who never grew up. Some people don’t ever become adults. Some people are not meant to collide with the monster called responsibility. Their own or other people’s.

I’m sure a lot of people who have read and enjoyed Peter Pan will be fuming at my comparison of this much-loved character to an essentially weak, spineless, selfish person. No denying that is exactly what a cheater is. And yet, anyone who has ever encountered such a person may remember just what makes it possible for them to be the way they are…its called charm. People use charm like a personal wand of power. Seasoned with liberal doses of sweet words, mixed in carefully with empathy and topped with that magic ingredient….an unshakeable love of themselves. Don’t those describe Peter Pan too?

Interestingly most people I know who are this way are also very dependent. Not in the way that they need someone else to boost their egos or heal their hearts. But these are people who need someone to be the stage for the performance they put up. These are people who will wilt when the stage crumbles. Annoyingly enough, they are also resilient enough to find a new person who will be willing to be the backdrop to their antics.

Its not fair, sure it isn’t. One part of society runs around doing whatever the hell they want to with our emotions and trust. And the rest of us hang around to sweep up the broken pieces.

For my part, I wish I was a Peter Pan rather than a Wendy. But well, those who will forget, will, no matter what. And those of us who are meant to remember, just are meant to be that way.

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About IdeaSmith

IdeaSmith is the digital doppelganger of Ramya Pandyan (intrepid train-traveller and frequent spouter of post-midnight rhymes and rants). As IdeaSmith she battles obscurity and slays boredom with her stories about men, books, digitalia and Mumbai. She performs live and also blogs, tweets, Instagrams, Facebooks, +G’s, Youtubes and Goodreads all as IdeaSmith. Ramya is a blogger, digital storyteller and spoken word performer. She also runs a forum for aspiring writers called Alphabet Sambar. Tweet-bomb her at @ideasmithy.

Posted on January 17, 2006, in Hormone hangover. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. It can also be categorized as ‘those who have cheated’ and ‘those who haven’t cheated as yet’.

    And I am not sure why would you want to be Peter Pan, rather than Mary Jane! Peter Pan is still looking around, but MJ got SpiderMan 😛

  2. Mary Jane???? Ewwww even the name is boring. Spidey was nice but I’d go for the flashier varieties myself.

  3. “I wonder if most people stay loyal to their partners out of fear or out of values… ”

    I think its probably out of respect and concern for the one they love…

    -anon1

  4. Some people need to cheat, y’know. Like my best buddy, who really loves his gf, and wants to marry her, but he needs to cheat. I’ve cheated too. Its fun, but unless you’re a pro at it, you feel guilty for ever. Like everytime my then Gf said, “hey we need to talk,” i shat. But i hit it well, and when we broke up cos i caught her cheating, i didnt tell her about me… heh so i got to go responsibility free!

  5. Please talk about emotional cheating sometime later. I’d love to hear what you have to say about that.

    I sometimes wonder what is worse, cheating or not admitting to have cheated (which is cheating again).

    I hope none of us ever have to ever deal with a relationship in which we cheat or are cheated upon. There seems to be a lot of pain on both sides.

  6. I think it boils down to morality, and how easily one can rationalize it.

    You get away with it once and you’re bolder to try it again.

    You come close to getting caught, you start to reevaluate your morality.

    You get caught..heck, that wd just suck!

  7. Anon1: Then the question is….is it really love or simply denial..a fear of hurting the other person and its repercussions that keeps them loyal? Of course some part of love includes taking the responsibility for not hurting the other person. This is a mixed-up thought, I admit.

    4WD: I hate being judgemental but you’re the kind of person I loathe. I’ve been with someone like you who took zero responsibility for his actions and cared only as far as he could get out of it easily. I think such people lack something essentially human…a conscience.

    Evenstar: I’ve been trying but I don’t seem to have enough on this to write about it. Its so complex, so individualistic…do you have any thoughts on it? I’d love to read them…please, please, please, PLEASE post!!!!!

    Asisin: I think the key word there is ‘rationalize’.

  1. Pingback: Happily ever after - 2 « XX Factor

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