Cheating: It’s not just for checkers anymore.

Heidi wrote:

Hope all is well.

Two of my roommates are having some sticky relationship problems and have been asking me for advice on what to do about their predicaments. I know you have great relationship advice, and getting a guy’s perspective is also helpful. Feel free to use this in your blog if you choose, by the way.

These two roommates have both (within the last 2 weeks) cheated on their boyfriends. The stories are somewhat similar, so I guess I’m just asking for your advice on cheating in general…

One roommate–who has a tendency to get drunk enough to not remember things happening the night before…–supposedly cheated on her boyfriend (of one year, from college) with another guy in our study abroad program, but denies it ever happening. Other people have seen things happen, and this guy has even told his roommate (and HIS girlfriend) that things happened. So there’s cheating scenario number one from her, even though she denies it. Then when she was in France over spring break, she cheated on her boyfriend with a different guy–one she met in a hostel. He even came to our city to visit, and then she went to his city to visit. She says she only made-out with him in France, but I don’t know if I can believe her. Like I said, she has difficulties remembering things, and she also seems to lie a lot. She even lied straight to my other roommate’s and my face the other day. The next night she admitted to her cheating in France, at least, and said that she felt bad for lying to us, and ultimately to her boyfriend (who doesn’t know).

The other roommate met a guy while studying abroad and they are technically considered “boyfriend and girlfriend.” They have been “dating” for one month (I put those in quotes b/c his friends don’t all know about her, since some of them like her as well). This guy has been amazing to her, and she even lost her virginity to him. Last night she admitted to me that she cheated on him one night when they weren’t together. She had sex with a bartender/friend of hers. She says it happened so fast, she was drunk, and she missed her boyfriend. Now she feels awful–just torn up inside, because her boyfriend has been cheated on twice before (by the same girl), and he is the best thing that has ever happened to her–she doesn’t feel that she deserves him anymore. I also know that she’s had some suicidal thoughts before, so I hope this wouldn’t also infringe on more thoughts… Since we are abroad right now and coming home next month, I don’t know if this relationship would continue on overseas anyway or what…

So both friends/roommates don’t want to tell their boyfriends, and think that keeping the secret and living with the internal pain and guilt would be the better choice. Of course they also don’t want to spill the beans, because they know how upset their boyfriends would be and they don’t want to risk losing them.

I’m more concerned with the second roommate, because she is such a sweet, caring person (while the other roommate tends to be very mean sometimes)–I never thought she would do such a thing.

My advice to them is to eventually tell their boyfriends about what they did. To me, cheating is not only one slap in the face, but keeping it a secret is just another/second slap in the face. Cheating comes with consequences, and either way (if you hold it inside and don’t ever tell, or if you tell and lose your significant other) comes with lots of pain.

These stories have nothing to do with each other–these two roommates don’t really hang out that much. It just so happens that I know about both stories. I want to give my girlfriends the best advice I can…

On a similar note: Studying abroad has opened up my eyes to a lot of things, of course, but in the past week even, it has exposed me to a lot of people who cheat, have cheated, or who know people who do/have cheat/cheated–things I had never been exposed to before.
Is cheating really that prevalent in today’s society? Has it always been, and I’ve just been oblivious/naive toward it? It hurts me to see so many people cheat, and they make it seem so easy to do. It’s not only sad, but scary.

Anywho…thanks for listening. I hope these stories make sense. I can clarify anything if they don’t.

Take care,
Heidi from Heidelberg

Heidi,
To answer your last question first, cheating has been around since before the Bible was written.  Lust is a part of human nature and it’s been society that has put the boundaries on what is and isn’t acceptable.  Modern society isn’t to blame for cheating, but it IS to blame for making it easier to do and easier to be discovered doing it.

Cheating is a big deal, but everyone screws up.  Statistically, habitual cheaters are either having self esteem issues, family troubles, have suffered some sort of abuse in the past, or (yes, this is a factor) have not had a positive male role model in their lives while growing up.

Now on to your roomies:

Roomie A:

She lies, cheats and steals.  And drinks.  And sleeps with random guys.  SIDENOTE: Did you know that there are more cases of HPV in Europe than anywhere else in the world?  The UK, Germany, Italy, France, and Sweden have all adopted HPV vaccine programs as a result.  Sleeping around there could also net you more than just HPV as well, as it would anywhere, bbut when we’re are young, we don’t always think about those things.  We see a guy with a six-pack and an accent and go ga-ga.  Well..not me.  I’d be flirting with his girlfriend.  AWKWARD….

Anyway, this friend has a drinking problem and whether or not that is family related, she needs someone to talk to and needs some help.  Blacking out with the wrong guy may lead to sexual molestation, rape, and a variety of complications that she doesn’t need in her life.  She also needs to tell her boyfriend about what happened.  If these two incidents were isolated and nothing has happened since, then she needs to have a talk and figure out if she wants him in her life.  If she does, then she should remain honest and faithful.  If she doesn’t, then leave him and head to the nearest pharmazie/apotheke (those are German for pharmacy), grab some condoms and do her thing.  Cut back on the booze though.

Roomie B

Roomie B has typical college drama.  First, she isn’t in a relationship with this guy unless they’ve agreed that they’re in a relationship.  Assumptions don’t count.  There is no “commonlaw relationship” rule.  If she feels bad it’s because she cares, but she should know that once she heads back to the US, there is a 90% chance her relationship won’t work overseas.  This isn’t some WWII love story, or a tale of a decade long romance torn apart by someone being deported, this is two kids in college being giddy and excited because of the situation.  The suicidal tendencies are what I’m worried about.  Why did she have these?  Since I don’t have you here to answer, the suicidal thoughts also further my belief that she’s just caught up in the moment.  She should still tell this guy, but let him go and move on.  Focusing on making sure she can handle a normal faithful relationship should be her first fix.

If your friends didn’t want to lost their boyfriends, they wouldn’t cheat.  They found something else in these guys, however, and made decisions that they are now regretting.  You’re wrong in thinking cheating comes with pain.  It can be very easy for some people to cheat, and even easier for others to write off and forget about.  The pain comes from the realization that you’ve essentially hurt a person you care about…that you’ve betrayed them.  Cheating is wrong.  It’s dishonest, disrespectful, and unfortunately, easy for some people to do.  The best thing you can do is try to teach your friends this lesson (quote) from Scott Alexander: “All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity is easy. Stay away from easy“.

Sean

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