Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

An Unpopular Opinion (?)

Men .  Women .  People .  And as we’ve discussed, most of us believe that the majority of people would probably if they thought they could get away with it.  In other words, the instinct is there for almost everyone.

Now, I’ve already discussed my inclination for open relationships (many times, and no this post isn’t about that).  I feel that way not because I want to be promiscuous but rather because I just don’t think most people (especially men) are meant to be monogamous.  I like setting up realistic parameters for success.

But most people don’t.  Want open relationships, that is.  Most people enter into relationships that they expect to be monogamous.

And many people cheat.

Earlier this week I read a post in Marie Claire about cheating, or more specifically love triangles.  One of their writers tried to apply logic to the question, “who’s responsible?”

He feels that all three parties are responsible, to one degree or another.  With the majority of the responsibility falling on the shoulders of the offending mate.

I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with him.   My way of thinking is just a little bit too far outside the mainstream on this one.  I don’t see fault.  And that’s really what he seems to be talking about, who’s to blame?

Anyway, I don’t care about his opinion (though, I’m sure he’s a very nice man).  I do, however, care about your opinion.  What do you think, who’s most responsible in/for a ?

  • The other woman/man. People shouldn’t go after another person’s mate. (6 votes)
  • The cheating spouse/partner. (78 votes)
  • The person who was cheated on. (0 votes)
  • Other. Please explain in the comments. (12 votes)

Tags: , , ,

18 to “An Unpopular Opinion (?)”

  1. TonyImages says:

    I feel like this must be a trick question. While at the very least its an unscrupulous person who would lure another person knowing their in a relationship, the only! person who controls that is the cheater. If the relationship needs help or needs to end one way or the other then that needs to happen first!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have to say, “blame” is often not the right word when it comes to cheating. Often it’s the result of something missing in the relationship, one-time bad judgement, or both. To try and assign blame to something that’s usually more complex than “he was horny” is the wrong way to look at it entirely.

  3. onedatewonder says:

    If the expectation of both parties is monogamy, and someone chooses to violate that expectation rather than discuss it with their partner first and resolve the issue (either by revising expectations or exiting the agreement), then that person bears the majority of the blame. If that person was also honest with their extracurricular partner, then that partner’s morals may be questionable but they bear little of the blame. It would be very hard to *force* someone to cheat.

    That’s not a judgment on my part of expectations other than monogamy though. Honestly, it’s all about finding what works for individuals, not forcing everyone into a single mold. I’m all live and let live on this issue. The important part is that everyone within a relationship understands the expectations and agreements and follows them. And when they cease to work, either discuss it or leave. Cheating is not an acceptable alternative to me.

  4. starangel82 says:

    That’s a loaded question. I do think if you are in a monogamous relationship, and you cheat, you are at fault. It doesn’t matter if your relationship is bad or the other person hasn’t slept with you in months. You knew the rules of the relationship and still cheated. (Sorry, I have no tolerance for cheaters.)

    I think open relationships can get tricky. I’ve never been in one, so I don’t fully understand how they work. It does seem to me that blame can easily be placed on either party.

  5. aGirlNamedMe says:

    I’ve been on all sides of this one. Ultimately, I think it’s up to the cheating spouse to avoid situations that lead to cheating.

    However, if that person cheats, I don’t think s/he is 100% to blame for the breakdown of the primary relationship. Something caused that person to look outside of the relationship for what s/he wasn’t getting within it.

  6. Tales From A Bar Stool says:

    I think it is both the cheater and the one being cheated on who are at fault. Perhaps more skewed towards the cheater. The “outside” party is just that – outside… no blame. If a man really didn’t want to cheat, he wouldn’t. Another person’s pleas / advances, won’t change that. If I were cheated on, I would never call the “other woman” to confront her. It’s just too extreme for me.

    Side note: I agree with open relationships to some extent. People aren’t meant to be monogamous. And when you take away the forbidden nature of cheating, it becomes less tempting. You always want what you can’t have.

  7. OpinionatedGift says:

    Since I’m of the same mind as you on open relationships I blame it on societal expectations and our willingness to buy into them.

    Open relationships are not easy, but really, honestly, neither are monogamous ones.

  8. angelbaby2 says:

    i think it is the person who starts cheating. However, I am biased. Most women that I know that have cheated, i think they are justified. Men that I know that have cheated, i think they are assholes. I guess i have reverse logic. I myself have never cheated or been cheated on but my friends have been. go figure.

  9. pansophy says:

    If we are talking about who is to blame for cheating and only the cheating, then all of the blame has to fall on the cheater. They’re the ones who committed to being in a monogamous relationship and then proceeded to sleep with someone else.

    How can anyone else be responsible for that? If you want to sleep with other people than don’t be in a monogamous relationship, plain and simple.

    Who is responsible for a relationship falling apart to the point where someone is tempted to cheat is another question entirely…

  10. Momma Sunshine says:

    I voted “other” – because I agree that it’s the responsibility of all three parties involved. An outside party shouldn’t get involved with someone who is in a committed relationship. However – if you are in a committed relationship and completely happy then cheating just doesn’t happen, in my opinion…and the responsibility for happiness in a relationship is the responsibility of BOTH parties.

  11. sfsingleguy says:

    I think that in general, people who have never been cheated on don’t tend to cheat. But once they have been betrayed, that opens the door to ‘getting back’ at the other person, even if it isn’t the same relationship where they were betrayed originally. Or at least allows someone to justify the behavior since it was done to them.

    I’m going to say something that may get me in trouble here. I think that men are more prone to cheat physically, and women are more prone to cheat emotionally.

    Why? Over hundreds of thousands of years, our evolution has been dependent on this pattern. When men cheat physically, it creates a more diverse gene pool. When women cheat emotionally, it increases the odds that she will have more resources to protect offspring.

    When men cheat emotionally, it lessens the chance that they will be able to reproduce with their mate. The same for when women cheat physically – few men accept the role of raising another man’s child.

  12. AF says:

    Personally, I think that, in an ideal world, not being monogamous would be seen as the norm. However, the problem seems to me to be that either one or the other partner is unable to be comfortable with that for any number of possible reasons, or we’re brought up to believe that sexual monogamy is synonymous with living together or otherwise social monogamy, which as I’ve discussed on my blog is relatively rarely so throughout nature – people cheat, animals cheat, birds even cheat.

    I agree with you, without the fear of blame and losing the friendship/love of someone you adore and want to be with, sexual promiscuity would be normal and widespread and probably no big deal. Above all, it would be HONEST!

  13. AF says:

    @sfsingleguy: I know what you’re saying, but I don’t see why, these days, the question of children even comes into the equation. I would have thought that, given for instance an otherwise “open” relationship, having a child would be the one thing that both partners would (eventually?) want to do with each other. To me the only question is honesty and I agree with Simone – don’t make rules most of us are probably going to break. That way we can all be honest. Of course, it currently takes some pretty special people to really make that work well.

  14. Jennifer-from-NY says:

    Honestly I think the idea that one partner could ‘drive’ another to cheat by lack of sex is quite childish. If you haven’t been having that in a relationship (presumably not for physical reasons which is a whole other discussion) than you should talk about the emotional issues that have come up. If you can’t talk about it then you are not in a healthy relationship, or ready for a real one. I don’t care about age, many ‘adults’ are not mature enough to take on anothers emotions. And please, can we try and remember what relationships are supposed to be about: love, caring, the fact that you want to help and improve the life of the person you love. If you can’t do that you should be able to step back and seperate.
    I just don’t see why you say that most people will cheat. I’ve never been inclined to, and yes, I am still young, but I have always been an extremely monogomous person. I guess it just saddens me that either you’re right and himan nature is like that and I will encounter people who do, or that you think that. I have a lot of respect for you Simone but I hope you’re wrong.

  15. AF says:

    @Jennifer-from-NY: We’re all different and what suits others may not suit you. Be comfortable and happy that you are the way you are, but please don’t judge others (even be sad for them) who find another way. Each of us is an individual and that above all is the most glorious thing about humanity.

  16. Simone Grant says:

    Thank you everyone for adding your opinions to the conversation. I’m so happy to have so many readers who are able to look at relationship issues and see complexity instead of black and white, all of the time.

    Jennifer, as to your question, why do you say most people will cheat? I did a poll a while back ( and the results showed pretty strongly that most of my readers felt that most people would cheat (if they could get away with it). And honestly, as someone who’s seen a lot of relationships (my friends, family, my own) come and go – including marriages, I’ve seen a heck of a lot of people cheat on their spouses. People you would never imagine doing so. Men, women, parents of small children, people with great jobs… For the record, I’ve never cheated when in a monogamous relationship, but I choose not to judge those that do.

  17. X caliber says:

    Jennifer, I agree. Before the cheating there should be talking. If talking is impossible or leads to more problems, than the situation is toxic and you should get out. I think like most, a person who cheats in a monogamous relationship is at fault, no equivocation. I’ll even take it one step further and say that cheating irreversibly changes a committed relationship. When two people make a commitment to each other there is a sense of “us against the world.” It’s a foundation that infidelity always undermines, sometimes fast, sometimes slow. Personally, I have never cheated in a committed relationship even when I was cheated on. (So much for that part of sfsingleguy’s theory.) It wasn’t so much a matter of moral commitment or fear of getting caught; it was a matter of selfishness. I know … I know … most would say that the act of cheating is selfish and fidelity is selfless but I stayed faithful to my ex-wife for sixteen years and it wasn’t difficult. All I did was ask myself a simple question every time the opportunity presented. — Is it worth it? Is the thrill and excitement of a new woman and a capricious fling worth losing what I had built after sixteen years of work? Make no mistake, marriage is work. — One day I asked myself the question and the answer was YES. That was the day I asked my wife for a divorce and just for the record Simone, the fling was worth it.

  18. Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles says:

    For the record, I don’t think most people would cheat if they thought they couldn’t get caught. I think we live in a world in which it’s already pretty easy to cheat without getting caught, so if that was the only barrier in place, everyone would be cheating. And yet, I know more people who’ve stayed faithful than those who have cheated, at least to my knowledge. Obviously, like X caliber indicated above, one’s value system comes into play a lot here.

    I marked “Other” in the poll because I think “blame” is very circumstantial. The cheater is always, in a sense, to blame if he/she made a promise and is breaking it. As others have said, whether or not monogamy is realistic, you need to play by the rules of your own relationship or else leave the relationship. However, any of the parties can share responsibility for the outcome based on individual circumstances.

    For instance, even though there’s this popular idea that it always takes two to make or break a relationship, I’ve seen relationships in which one person was clearly in love and doing everything in their power to create a happy home while the other was out banging someone else out of boredom, curiosity, thrill-seeking, lust, or just pure heartlessness. So I really do think there are times when the betrayed partner is doing everything right and it’s not their fault. On the other hand, sometimes one partner makes it really unbearable for the other, but the second partner is afraid to leave because of what might happen in divorce court. If the first partner has made it abundantly clear that he/she has only contempt for the second partner, then it seems much less horrible when the second partner looks for love outside the relationship. As for the “other man” or “other woman,” responsibility there would seem to depend on their intentions. Was this someone who set his/her sights on seducing an otherwise happy person away from a committed relationship, or was this someone who was unaware of the relationship, was told it was “over,” or was led astray with sob stories about how trapped the lover was in a loveless marriage? I don’t think anything makes cheating “right” because it involves deception and betrayal, and if you aid someone in deceit and betrayal, I don’t think that’s a great thing, either. But there are circumstances in which more or less of the blame should probabaly fall on one or more parties.