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Why do cheaters feel entitled to lie, sneak and hurt others?

Tagged as: Cheating<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (28 November 2010) 15 Answers - (Newest, 29 November 2010)
A female United States age 41-50, anonymous writes:

Hi all, when I read through questions and answers I read about people cheating on others (my ex did it to me) It literally tore me apart. But my question is; If you are a cheater, Why do you do this? Why can't you get out of a relationship honestly and with integrity? And if you are the one messing with a married or taken man and are aware of it....How can you treat someone else like that? I'm appalled by some behaviors. Normally I would never judge, but if people can't distinguish between right or wrong...maybe they should seek professional guidance? Thoughts?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (29 November 2010):

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Hi Nouvelle32,

I feel your pain. Believe me. Its been a year since me and my ex of 5 years and he was cheating on me with. I have lost weight, gained weight, been sad, mad, bed ridden, and admitted twice into the hospital for dehydration. I know its ridiculous, I am just trying to understand why this all happened. I know there are good men out there... My dad and my brother are great guys I just don't know what to do! Good luck...you're in my prayers!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (29 November 2010):

I'm the same OP, I've never done it nor been the guy someone cheated with. It's not something I could live with personally.

You can't live your life worrying that something like that might happen to you though only deal with should it ever occur. Love is always a risk and sometimes it doesn't work out but as long you're secure in yourself and secure in your beliefs then you'll be able to handle each situation as it arises and be able to take risks.

And yeah dogs are life long companions, that would never betray or hurt you, you don't like my dog then bye bye!

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A reader, anonymous, writes (29 November 2010):

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Cerberus, thank you for talking this through with me. But perhaps I am of a different era (I am only 34). I stopped seeing a millionaire professional athlete because he didn't like my dog. Its just something I can not tolerate. I've never cheated at all. I've been propositioned, the worst I have done is thought about it and maybe flirted but its never gone past the batting of the eyes.

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A female reader, Nouvelle32 United States +, writes (29 November 2010):

People who cheat make me sad. Relationships are so not easy, but I think if people were to communicate better about what their needs are in and outside of the bedroom, it might help. I could go on and on about this, but I'm just too tired. On a final note, I've been cheated on several times & it hurts like hell... I really loved both the guys with all my heart, so to me, it was the ultimate betrayal and I don't think I will ever fully be over it. I loved them so much, so why did they have to go and do that to someone who loved them more that anyone on earth?? There will never be an answer to that other than they just have deep issues that are not my fault and I hope and pray to God that he will send me someone as honest as I am.. I deserve that after all I have been thru.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (29 November 2010):

The thing is though OP, by your logic no one can ever trust anyone else again. Everyone including you has at least once in their life lied to someone and hurt them, everyone at least once in their life has screwed someone over.

Cheating is just another form of screwing someone over. I didn't say it was right and I agree with you there's no excuse for it. He'd tell you that himself. But the fact remains he is a trustworthy guy to me. There are circumstances and mistakes people make that don't define who they are.

I would never date someone who has cheated, nor would I forgive or trust someone who cheated on me. But the same applies to anyone who has ever betrayed my trust in any other way.

My point was that being a cheater doesn't always make that person a bad person or untrustworthy to everyone in all circumstances. If he wasn't my friend and I didn't know him well then I'd probably think he was a douchebag and many people do. But I know the reality of who he is I know I can trust him completely. It's just women can't trust him but then there's always women that know he has a girlfriend willing to cheat with him.

Every cheater has their own story, excuses etc. My friend doesn't for one second pretend what he's doing is right nor would he ever tell any girl to trust him. He has a reputation where I come from, girls know he's like this and they still want to date him. Explain that to me if you can. His girlfriend now knows he cheats on her and is still wholly devoted to him. He's a serial dater too, in all the time I've known him he's only ever been the longest 3 months without a long term girlfriend. His last two he got with while he was still with previous girlfriend. So not only do they know but they were the ones he cheated with. Explain that.

You see? His relationships are a mess and lots of peoples are, no one should ever cheat but they do, no one should ever get married to someone they don't love but they do, no one should ever stick around and let their kids be abused or use another person for money, sex, comfort or do any number of other crazy things that people do to others.

Nothing in this life is black and white.

Is a mother so crushed in spirit, frantic and mentally destroyed from years of abuse a bad person because she can't find the strength to get her kids away from that man? In black and white terms yes she is.

Is a man who kills the murderer of his child a bad person? In black and white terms yes he is.

My tangent is just to illustrate the point that it's easy to condemn someone based on an act, but not every circumstance is the same. Yes that mother is an accomplice to abuse because she can't protect her children and yes that man is a murderer too for killing a child. But it's not the same as being the abuser or the original killer of that child.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (29 November 2010):

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Thanks again to everyone. So now my question is, what do I do? Just assume the next man will cheat on me. My dad and mom have been married for over 40 years and my brother going on 12 years (he is younger, much more mature brother) during a minor melt down I confessed to him what if I don't get married and have kids...have a family, what if I don't get everything I ever wanted. And then he confessed to me (my biggest fear) and his biggest fear is he has everything he has ever wanted....what if he were to lose it?

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A female reader, YouWish United States + , writes (29 November 2010):

YouWish agony auntOdds is 100% right. I agree with everything he's said. The only time there is any societal disapproval is if the wife had some sort of terminal illness (like John Edwards) or if he or she has a child as a result of the affair.

There's another reason why cheating is so rampant, and that is because of a lack of empathy. There was a time when a guy wouldn't cheat on his girl because he would know what betrayal would do to her. There was also a time when a woman wouldn't be with a married man because the idea of causing his wife such devastation would be repugnant and horrifying to her.

But people are absolutely selfish nowadays. Now the mistress make the decision to be gullible when the married man tells of a miserable loveless/sexless marriage with an unloving wife, yet when the chips are down, he doesn't leave her, and come to find out, the situation wasn't 1/10th as bad as he painted it. The mistress makes the decision that she would rather have his romantic attentions showered on her because they feel good and overlooks the fact that it's now in his character to betray and cheat on another woman he once showered the same attention on.

The man also has more empathy for his own sex drive than to his wife who loves him. He fails to nourish his own relationship to his wife and then blames her for the decline in their sex life, and keeps a record of her perceived flaws in order to justify having the affair. Some guys are so morally depraved and without empathy that they'll actually turn it on their wives and accuse them of being frigid, too fat, too busy, not appreciative, or actually pretend to accuse them of cheating.

We are so completely self-centered as friends of cheaters that we're afraid to tell them the truth about what they're into. Calling out a cheater or saying anything disparaging about the current object of their attention (i.e. the married man who is seducing them) can cause the end of the friendship.

As to what Odds says about the societal reprocussions, it goes even farther because the ones standing up for fidelity in a relationship are labeled as "attackers" and "judges" and ostracized by the cheating friend. So the friend is caught between a rock an a hard place. The rock is the sheer outrage at having to sit there while their friend causing the devastation of a married man's wife who has no idea what will hit her, and the hard place of being verbally abused and then ejected from the friendship. Usually, people who refuse to be true friends say words like "You have to follow your heart" and then justify that their friend is loyal to them. There can be no compartmentalization of someone's life.

If there was more empathy in the world, there would be far less war and more understanding. There wouldn't be the exploitation of women or children or human trafficking. There would be less crime, and a lot less adultery and cheating.

Unfortunately, I can only see the problem getting worse in the generations to come without something profound happening.

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A male reader, Cj21508 Canada +, writes (29 November 2010):

I think in the back of cheaters mind's they know it's a bad thing to do, but it's almost human nature for people to do bad things. Cheating, is something that I think even someone were to call that person out, they probably won't stop, just because they're so used to it and in their mind, it's embedded in them that it's the right thing to do.

I'm not a cheater, I'm all against that kind of stuff, but I've wondered the same thing really. The logic I've came up with is, in cheaters minds they probably think "What you don't know or can't see, can't hurt or harm you". Which is why, I think a lot of cheaters even though they are caught, they won't care because they know, there are women/men out there with whom they can manipulate. So I think it's more of like an adrenaline rush type of thing more than it is like a right/wrong type of thing.

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A male reader, Odds United States +, writes (29 November 2010):

Odds agony auntOP:

Wasn't wrong of you at all to shout it to the world. My point is that it doesn't happen often enough - and the ones doing it are always the ones who learned they were being cheated on, never friends or other associates.

Think of any guy you've ever dated. If he had cheated on you, do you think any of his friends would have told you? Or stopped being his friend? Would any of your friends do the same to any guy you were dating?

People say "It's none of my business," and wonder why people act without shame.

Full disclosure: I've held my tongue a few times. Came to regret it each time. It takes strength to practice what you preach, and until the next time I have the opportunity to do so, I won't know if I have that. So, yes, hypocrisy on my part.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (29 November 2010):

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Hi all...thanks for all the responses. I am going to have to disagree (respectfully) with you Cerberus. To me if you cheat, your not trustworthy. If he has been through a lot then as tough as it is, doesn't give him the right to hurt others. That's like saying if you were abused, you have the right to carry on the cycle. The fact is no one has the right to hurt anyone. And there are some states in the U.S. that have an "alien of affection" law where if you know one is married and continue to pursue them you can be make to pay 100's of thousands of dollars. And let's not forget about the health issue. There are still STD's out there, if you are putting someone's health at risk then you should be able to sue for negligence. Anyone who takes another's ability to trust someone is a thief.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (28 November 2010):

Because people don't care that's why. People always mess up in some kind of way in relationships hence people tend to stay out of other peoples relationships. Pus just because a person cheats in a relationship doesn't make them a bad person, only untrustworthy as a lover.

I have a friend and he's a serial cheater, literally can't help himself and while he knows it's wrong he couldn't care less. He was hurt so many times being monogamous that he decided he had enough and was going to enjoy life his way.

Now while I don't agree with his lifestyle he is none the less my best friend and I'd trust him with anything including my life. We'll never be in a relationship like that so he'll never be a threat to me and even if he was a woman I'd still just know never to get into a relationship with her. You see I know this about him so I never got emotionally close to or attached to his girlfriends nor would I ever warn them because morally my loyalty is to him not them, it is my duty to protect him, and while I've told him to stop etc. he's going to keep doing it.

You see he has one of the best moral compasses of anyone I know, I've been his friend 20 years and know him better than he knows himself. He's not doing this to hurt them, he's just lost and doesn't trust women at all anymore and frankly if I'd gone through what he has with them I'm not sure I would either. So he has become numb to them and figures he might aswell do it to them first. He knows it's not making him happy but he can't trust women so what is he to do? That's how he sees it.

My point is cheaters can be good people in other parts of their life. Relationships as we all know are filled with pain and heartache, most people distance themselves from others relationships and behaviours within these relationships for good reason. If he was an abuser or something though I'd knock his head off. The fact is he treats them like royalty, all of them.

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A female reader, janniepeg Canada + , writes (28 November 2010):

janniepeg agony auntMost men and some women want to have sex with different people but if they say this at the beginning of the relationship, they would get no further dates, and if they say this before they get married, then the wedding would be cancelled. Some try to have a monogamous relationship but found out it wouldn't work for them. They don't want to risk losing their partners so they thought cheating is the only way to go. They really really tried to have a monogamous otherwise they would just opt for an open relationship from the beginning. Since males outnumber females who want to do this thing, it's really hard to find women who are open minded to open relationships. That's why they try marriage first. I don't think they feel entitled to cheat. It's sometimes out of desperation, a way to break free from the restrictions of the norm, and a defense mechanism like "everybody's doing it, it's common, so it's not that bad." Some people don't feel guilty because they listen to those scientists saying that it's their nature to want to cheat. They repressed their desires for so many years somehow they feel they have this right to disregard the other's feelings.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (28 November 2010):

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Odds? when I caught my ex... I called him out to friends, employers, and everyone I could think of....I figured you felt the need to keep this a secret I think its time people know the kind of person he was. Was that wrong?

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A male reader, Odds United States +, writes (28 November 2010):

Odds agony auntThey do it because no one judges. No one calls cheaters out. Friends don't stop being their friends, or tell the victim of cheating. People knowingly sleep with attached individuals, and don't care that they're stealing someone's affection. There's no law against it, even in marriage. For that matter, many people brag about cheating. It's not even a secret anymore except from the offended party.

That's leaving aside the general culture of promiscuity.

The only time cheaters are ever called out is when it's going to be a spectacle for the masses, like Tiger Woods' life. Even then, it's more a matter of pointing and laughing than shaming.

Simple answer, people feel entitled to break their word because no one cares when they do.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (28 November 2010):

There are many reasons people cheat although i personaly don't think there's ever a good enough reason.

I suppose it depends on how the cheating came about. If it was a one time thing, although still wrong, the person may feel deeply ashamed and guilty about what they've done. It could have been a moment of weakness and they didn't intend to her their bf/gf.

On the other hand, you have people who will delibarately go behind their SO's back and persue other people. Those types of people have serious issues. Whether it be commitment issues, some kind of personality disorder, sex addict etc...

A male friend of mine once told me that he stayed with his girlfriend just as a status thing. To make him look "normal" because most of his mates had girlfriends so he wanted to come across as a decent guy who had settled down. In reality he had a number of female "friends" (not me) who he called whenever he wanted sex and cheated on her frequently.

He didn't seem to show any remorse for his actions and in fact he's still with her. Looking at them together you'd never suspect something was wrong.

People cheat for different reasons. The people who did it intentionally are just selfish human beings who may, in some twisted way, care about the person they are with but always put their needs and desires before anyone else.

I think some people don't think there is anything wrong with cheating. They just pretend they do because they know people wouldn't accept it.

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