When Did Cheating Become Socially Acceptable?

Cheating on your significant other used to be a big taboo. The word “cheating” itself ignites something in everyone, whether it is painful memories, a feeling resembling disgust, or even pride. Cheating can ruin families, damage self-esteem, and cause unimaginable destruction. So when did it become more socially acceptable, and why?

In response to a Thought Catalog article entitled, “6 Reasons to Cheat On Your Girlfriend,” here’s why one man justifies cheating. He boils it down to carnal needs, probability, learning to “live on the edge”, it’s potential to improve your relationship, and the ability to get away with it. All of this is bullsh*t. No one is immune to this type of thinking, even celebrities have to deal with infidelity.

If your physical needs are really too much for you, consider an open relationship instead, in which it is agreed upon that while you’re committed to one another, you can have your needs fulfilled elsewhere. If living on the edge is what you need, go on a roller coaster or something. If you want to improve your relationship, or think you can get away with it, its time to reevaluate what the relationship means to you. If the person involved truly matters, you should search for ways to fix this, without the disastrous consequences that accompany cheating.

Statistics on cheating are overwhelming and disheartening. According to the Washington Post, a 1991 study confirmed that 70% of married women have cheated on their partners, while 72% of men have done the same. With websites such as Ashley Madison, cheating is widely available, and easier than ever. According to US News, 80% of people believe infidelity is always wrong. So what gives?

The answer is not simple. We can blame it on a more permissible hookup culture, but its more than that. It’s also a celebrity culture, a political one, and suddenly, it’s a social norm.

Celebrities and politicians alike have outwardly been caught or admitted to their own infidelity. Think as early as Bill Clinton, who almost got impeached for his wrongdoings, or even Tiger Woods, who has been publicly shamed since the world discovered his extramarital affair. Country power couple Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton have fairly recently called it quits, due to accused cheating.

Perhaps we’re being led by celebrity example. Maybe the hookup culture we are surrounded in, where it’s so easy to swipe right and find someone for the night is making it too easy, and we’re just giving in to temptation. What it comes down to is a more permissible culture, in which we spread memes about “side chicks” is making it all too commonplace.

So what can we do instead?

We can’t go back to retrograde viewpoints. What we can do is go forward, and think of the intrinsic values we hold deep inside. If we care for someone, why hurt them?

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