Why We Don’t Cheat

Wow, there’s a super brave article on Esquire by Lisa Taddeo entitled “Why We Cheat”. By super brave, I mean that it’s full of bullshit to make the author feel better about some bad choices she’s made. It’s an attempt to excuse and explain sleeping with married men.

Let me be very clear, I do not think that every person who cheats is automatically a horrible person. I don’t think that everyone who sleeps with a person that is already in a committed relationship is a horrible person. One questionable choice does not make anyone innately awful. Unless of course you killed someone. Then yea, that choice qualifies as a one-and-done.

However, refusing to acknowledge responsibility for your actions and blaming your lack of morality on human nature does make you truly repulsive. Taddeo explains her proclivity for sleeping with married men like this:

More than I believe in the sanctity of union and promise, I believe that everybody cheats. If you have not cheated yet, it’s because you are still too grateful to be secure, or you have not yet had the opportunity, or the right color of red hair has not come along and sat down at the bar on a Tuesday when the jukebox was playing Leonard Cohen and your manhattan tasted like the future.

Well let me say, as a married woman who does not cheat, that it has nothing to do with being too grateful (because what the hell does that mean). It’s not because I haven’t had the opportunity to cheat. And it has nothing to do with meeting a redhead. Or a brunette. Or a blonde.

I don’t cheat on my husband because human beings are capable of being honest, committed people. We’re able to the love the person we’re with or leave if we’re unhappy. I haven’t cheated, not because I lack the romanticism or bravery of women like Lisa Taddeo, but because I possess the morals and loyalty of women like my own mother.

My parents grew up together in the same small town. They went on their first date in middle school. My dad’s father used to do odd jobs around the house for my mom’s grandmother and they would play together as kids. My parents got married 32 years ago. And I can say without hesitation or question that they haven’t cheated on one another. And it’s not because they’re a fairytale. It’s not because they have the most perfect and ever-lasting love. It’s because sometimes two people mean it when they promise to love and cherish one another.

I don’t care that someone wants to write about their experience being “the other woman.” It’s their story and they have every right to share it. It doesn’t upset me that some people feel justified in cheating on their spouses. I don’t quite understand it, but that’s their business.

I am extremely angry that one person feels like they have the right to say that everyone cheats or wants to cheat. I disagree that lying and dishonesty are acceptable because lots of people choose to do it. And if you choose to cheat, you don’t do it because of human nature or animal instinct, you do it because you’ve decided to put your desires above your commitment to your partner. That’s a conscious choice and it’s one that you need to prepared to accept responsibility before.

Why don’t I cheat? Because I love my husband and our relationship is a lot more important to me than any illicit affair could ever be.


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    • Elizabeth

      That article made me feel pretty good about my relationship. My husband might cheat on me with a female bodybuilder. Maybe a singer, Ph.D., or professional player of first-person shooters. Maybe a dude, I don’t know. But I am completely, utterly confident that my husband would never, ever cheat on me with a woman who says, “I think a great deal about the evanescence of sexuality.”

      • ScienceGeek

        I’m with you. Aside from the fact that rampant self-felation of ‘evansecence of sexuality’ (actually, the entire article), what the hell kind of sad-sack thinks ‘a great deal’ about other people’s sex lives, and for that matter, who is so naive as to think that marriage kills sexuality?
        I get the impression that she’s all about attention. Her sexuality is not a personal thing for her, it’s entirely dependent on how many people ‘want’ her. So, in her messed-up mind, marriage=the desire of only one person=death of her sexuality.
        If I were a bigger person, I’d tell her that brief moments of desire from lots of people is nice, but it’s nothing compared to the complete desire of one person. Even when I’m sick, or looking like crap and yes, even when I’m annoying. I am loved, I am desired, I am worthy of support and affection, and that is a gift. A gift I return, even when he’s sick, or looking like crap or being annoying.
        We don’t cheat because we’re not prepared to sacrifice that gift. And if I were a bigger person, I’d try to help her understand that.

        But I’m not a bigger person, because I got to the line ‘salt lick like it’s been run through by ten thousand yellow cabs’ and I all I could say was: ‘Oh, fuck you.’

      • REK


    • Carolyn

      Thank you for writing this.

    • Abby

      Thank you–I agree with it all. I especially liked the part where you said “And if you choose to cheat, you don’t do it because of human nature or animal instinct, you do it because you’ve decided to put your desires above your commitment to your partner. That’s a conscious choice and it’s one that you need to prepared to accept responsibility before”. Too often I have heard people talk about cheating because they were just “unable” to resist their desires, or for some other reason like that. Thanks for bringing up–very succinctly–that there is certainly conscious choice involved.

    • Tania

      She’d probably be a fan of evolutionary psychology. All it seems to be is finding an excuse for men’s inability to not cheat.

      • howtogrowgoddesses

        It’s interesting that evolutionary psychology gets so often used solely to justify male infidelity. Studies of “monogamous” species indicate that both genders have equal incentive for stepping out.

        Of course, we aren’t prairie voles. We have the benefit of such faculties as empathy, reason, and foresight… so if you cheat, you’re probably still a douche.

    • Loving Life

      This article is truly refreshing. I’m so sick of reading articles about signs of infidelity, why men cheat, all people cheat.. etc. You’re completely right — People are capable of being monogamist.

    • Fabel

      I tried to actually read the linked article & couldn’t get through it. The style(? what else do I call it?) that she wrote it in is fucking awful.

    • Nichole

      Thank you.

    • 3000

      Best article in a loooong time! No psuedo-poetic bullshit (as seen in the Esquire article), just a few simple truths. Thumbs up, kudos, agree 100%, and all that jazz !

      - Someone who’s never cheated, nor ever wanted to

    • Mina

      thanks a lot for this article/ I absolutely agree with everything you have mentioned.

    • Stef

      Monogamy isn’t for everyone, which is ok. But that doesn’t make cheating ok. Instead just don’t be in a relationship, or be in an open relationship.