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Thread: Cheating

  1. #21
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    Well technically everyone is capable of anything, but that's just arguing semantics. In reality, personal values, morals, self discipline, character, beliefs, plain old willpower, etc, etc, etc guide our actions and either stop us from engaging in bad acts or allow us to proceed with them.

    Cheaters invariably cry how it's not black and white, how you can be down and out, in a bad place in life, etc, etc, etc. Regardless, it's all just excuses for the fact that the cheater opted for the easy way out and the rest is just justification because...well....society judges cheaters harshly and they don't like that. Cheating is an active choice and starts early, long before anyone gets attached and it becomes "difficult" to part ways. What it really boils down to is that every cheater's ultimate argument is that being a decent human being is just too hard, pity me for I'm incapable. Sorry, but nobody ever said that life will be easy or that the right choice is the easy one. It's still a fundamental lack of character and complete entitlement, as in I'm entitled to make myself feel good at the expense of others mentality.

    In short, being capable of and acting are two completely different things. So if your friend was simply debating that in theory, everyone is capable, she is correct. In practical reality though, no, that's not how people actually operate.

  2. #22
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by DancingFool
    In short, being capable of and acting are two completely different things. So if your friend was simply debating that in theory, everyone is capable, she is correct. In practical reality though, no, that's not how people actually operate.
    I think this is basically what I was trying to say. And, well, now we know more: that this wasn't the semantics debate I was having, putting aside my own codes and painful experiences, but a deeply personal moment in your life, Clio, that has you unnerved.

    Your friend cheated or enabled cheating and is now doing what many people do—rationalizing it, dimming the lights so he or she can still look in the mirror without gasping. You're unimpressed and annoyed, as you should be. You're thinking about your friend differently, questioning your friend's character, maybe even your friendship, as you don't like the position you've been put in: a sounding board onto which he or she can test out some rationalizations and have them bounce back at facts.

    The choice to cheat—much like the choice to snoop through a phone or shoplift candy from a store—is a choice fueled by weak character. End scene. Personally—and where this can get interesting—I don't think one's "character" exists in a static state. It can be improved, it can be further degraded—depending, of course, on other choices.

    Do you say it's okay to shoplift a Snickers bar because the Snickers Corporation is filthy rich, the store is insured, and you had no money but were really craving some sugar? That rationalizes weak character and, by extension, validates, deepens, and further expands it. More shoplifting in the future, a path to criminality.

    Or do you admit that you were greedy, lazy, and so governed by your sweet tooth that you did something that is morally wrong and now you will rectify that, by owning what you did and never doing it again? That's strengthening weak character. No more shoplifting, a more wholesome path.

    Cheating is so emotional, and so devastating, that we struggle to think about it—even conceptually—with much nuance. "Once a cheater, always a cheater," we say, which is basically like putting someone behind bars and throwing away the key. Which, hey, is often the wisest move, and certainly the safest.

    But somewhere in this discussion—or perhaps somewhere in you, Clio, as you wrestle with your friend—I think there's the question of whether they key needs to be thrown away in every situation, the question of whether one's character can be improved, if someone without your "moral code" can adapt your code or if even one foray into immoral behavior is forever defining.

  3. #23
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    Once a cheater, always a cheater isn't really a simple notion or a throw away the key simplistic judgment. It actually speaks to a deep psychological issue in humans in that once a certain line is crossed, it becomes easier for that individual to cross it again and again. Goes back to the concept that the right choices, self discipline is difficult and making the wrong choices is easier and instantly self satisfying....and ....people are lazy. If they get away with something without consequence once.....they are liable to repeat and choose the easy way out again.

    It doesn't mean that people can't change or fix themselves, it's just that you are hoping for an extreme exception. Yes, they do exist, just don't hold your breath that you are dealing with one. Your big clue is what they say and how they act. Genuine remorse involves genuine shame and actions to fix what is messed up inside of them that they engaged in the actions that they did. No excuses or rationalizations. To heal themselves, they have to own that they were a piece of shaite without excuses AND take action to fix themselves so they don't fall into same temptation/behavior again. Much like an addict has to admit they are an addict first and foremost. Of course, admission is just the beginning.

    Overall, engaging in a long term affair is pathological behavior. This person may seem very nice and empathetic....buuut....their actions show otherwise. I'd be more wiling to give credit to someone who had a one night stand once and then felt devastated, ashamed, etc. Long term affairs require such a level of sophisticated, deliberate, conscious, ongoing deceit....that I just can't buy any excuses. Personally, I've had some friends/acquaintances go down that path...and dropped them cold. We just do not match anymore or maybe never did. You can't choose your family, but you can choose your friends, I don't need liars and pathological people in my life. So the decision is simple.

  4. #24
    Platinum Member Clio's Avatar
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    bluecastle, no, this is not a "deeply personal moment in my life that has me unnerved". It was more than a decade ago and I only used it as an example trying to make a point that I think that the people who are more laid back about cheating have at some point in their lives been the other man/ woman or even a cheater i.e. they have $(7ewed someone over at some point in some capacity or can see themselves doing it in the future so of course, they become more "understanding". My friend actually had these views before that one-off event and I always found her capacity to absolve certain cheating scenarios frustrating. Nor do I believe that the key needs to be thrown away in every situation. I tend to be a black and white person, while she has always been lenient to the failings of human nature. This IS a semantics debate. Over the years, I have come to understand more about the mindset of people who get entangled in such situations yet I continue to believe that there is a choice involved. e.g. to mention a somewhat less glaring scenario, I find "other men/other women" 's lack of accountability/ remorse/ solidarity annoying because I feel that they did make a choice to help $c7ew over some other human being. Imo, lack of remorse is rather unlikely to lead to change of one's moral code.

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  6. #25
    Platinum Member reinventmyself's Avatar
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    There are a large percentage of people who firmly believe life `happens to them' and things are just out of their control.
    We see them all the time here on this forum.

  7. #26
    Platinum Member Clio's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Lester
    In the beginning, infidelity almost always involves a predator and weakened victim.
    The predator needs his/her victim to stay in a confused state.

    Over compensating in the relationship achieves this goal.
    This makes it very hard for the victim to see the predator as he/she is, and even harder to make the right decision.

    The process can change a victim into a voluntary cheater, but two cheater "minds" will have trouble tolerating each other.
    This is not always the case. Interestingly enough though, I know of two such cases, yet I do believe that the "victims" (both were women wildly pursued by married men) did make an informed choice. They both knew that this person was married hence, they had first hand evidence of his lack of integrity. If one knowingly enables a cheater at any point, imo, they lose the right to be called a "victim".
    Last edited by Clio; 05-28-2019 at 01:50 PM.

  8. #27
    Platinum Member Clio's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Matt0050
    Actually I’m surprised, there is a lot of differing opinions.
    If they haven't already been mentioned in this thread, could you provide some examples?

  9. #28
    Platinum Member Clio's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by reinventmyself
    There are a large percentage of people who firmly believe life `happens to them' and things are just out of their control.
    We see them all the time here on this forum.
    When it comes to participating in cheating, I have yet to understand that level of denial, hence why I sometimes wonder whether I am too harsh in thinking that there IS a choice involved.

    P.S. Everyone has contributed some very interesting points. I want to thank everyone for taking the time to share their thoughts and opinions!
    Last edited by Clio; 05-28-2019 at 02:28 PM.

  10. #29
    Platinum Member bluecastle's Avatar
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    Apologies for misreading.

    I agree with everything you're saying, particularly about there always being a choice involved when it comes to cheating. Always.

    But like reinvent said, I think it's less about the difference of being "black and white" vs "lenient to the failings of human nature," which makes it a kind of conservative vs liberal argument, than having an attitude about life as something that "happens to you" vs something you "make happen."

    Personally, I find few things as frustrating as the "it happens" attitude in general, with the peculiarities of where it can lead, from cheating to remaining in a stagnant relationship or job, aka cheating on yourself, to be little more than examples of where it can lead.

    In the vacuum of my head and heart I have a large capacity for "understanding," but in my day to day life I'm pretty merciless when it comes to surrounding myself—and sharing myself with—those who have a more active life philosophy than a passive one.

    Your point about denial is an interesting one. Denial is a coping mechanism, and a pretty universal one. I like to think of maturing as learning to get by while denying less, but a lot of people take a different approach to life and it can lead them down some awful paths, to make awful choices.

  11. #30
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    If the cheating behavior was actually out of that person's control it wouldn't be cheating. The person who was drugged, for example and then had sex outside of the marriage wouldn't be cheating -she or he would be a victim of whoever drugged him/her. Obviously you can reach back a few steps "why was that person hanging out at a club at 2am" but you can always do that. Cheating is always a choice whether or not there are shades of gray and whether to choose personal accountability or rationalization is also a choice.

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