A few of my coworkers laughed at me when I told them I’ve never cheated on a girl and have never been cheated on before. They thought I was joking. It came as a shock to them that in a world inundated with infidelity and disloyalty, I’ve managed to avoid the drama that seems to plague a majority of my generation. In a time period when “hookup” culture appears to have completely replaced the classic idea of romance, I’ve realized that my inexperience with unfaithfulness might actually put me in the minority.
That’s a good thing, I guess… For me, at least.
But why does cheating seem so much more common today than it was back when my parents were growing up? The most obvious place to look is all of the technology we now enjoy that seemed like merely a pipe dream several decades ago. While all of these technological advancements help us stay in touch with one another, they can also be detrimental to the idea of romantic relationships all together. Modern technology makes it much easier to maintain a long-distance relationship, but it also makes it a hell of a lot easier to find that horny, newly-single chick within a five-mile radius who’s “down for anything.”
Like all things in life, technology has both its pros and cons. One of the major negatives just happens to be the temptation and ease it provides for people looking to make like a tree and branch out from their relationships. However, while technology makes it very easy to meet someone new or find someone else and sneak around, it also makes it extremely easy to get caught/catch our cheating partners in the act. Now, a lot of people are — for lack of a better term — pretty dumb. So, combine this general incompetence with a relentless sex drive and a smartphone, and we’ve got ourselves a cheater asking to be caught red-handed. This idea holds true for emotional cheating as well (especially if partners know each other’s cellphone and email passwords).
I’m not sure if this only became commonplace in the last decade or so, but I know that some individuals even use cheating to as a way out of their relationships. In other words, a person may physically cheat on his/her significant other to catalyze the end of their relationship — consciously or unconsciously causing the partner to break up with said individual, or at least leading to a talk resulting in a “mutual” breakup. I’m sure not everybody who cheats does it for this specific reason, but I have no respect for individuals who use infidelity to avoid having legitimate, honest conversations with people who care about them. (I have very little respect for people who cheat to begin with.)
But maybe I’m asking the wrong question here. Is cheating actually more common today? Perhaps cheating was just as common when my parents were growing up, and nowadays people just get caught more often.
This, again, can be attributed to the vast discrepancy in available technology between the two generations. Assuming people still found ways to cheat on their significant others back in the 70s and 80s, the absence of cellphones and social media made it a little more difficult to discover their unfaithfulness. And maybe a lot of these significant others didn’t even want to know about their partners’ misdeeds. After all, victims of infidelity in 2014 don’t always have the option of looking the other way — it’s sort of difficult not to catch a significant other who is cheating when people post everything they do onto Facebook and Twitter. So, maybe (and hopefully) my generation doesn’t lack the morals of my parents’ generation; maybe my parents’ generation simply lacked the technology we have today.
The aspect of this entire problem that worries me most is a matter of discretion. Does my generation care? Is the higher prominence of infidelity simply because of the technological revolution we’re living in, or is it a direct result of our lack of commitment to anything?
According to Forbes, sixty-percent of millennials change jobs every three years, and many Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers consider this statistic a major red flag when hiring. Similarly, if somebody has cheated on a significant other in the past, how can we be sure this person won’t do the same to us? (“Once a cheater, always a cheater.”) This is why I am so confused when Guy 1 cheats on Girl 1 for months with Girl 2 and then leaves Girl 1 for Girl 2, and Girl 2 is dumbfounded when it happens all over again and she catches him with Girl 3.
Though I don’t have any firsthand experience with any of this and consequently may not understand the concept of cheating all together, I can say with conviction that I care.
And when I say “I’ve never cheated on a girl and have never been cheated on,” I mean I’ve never cheated on a girl and have never been cheated on to my knowledge. As far as I know — again, all we “know” is what we think we know — every girl I’ve dated has remained faithful. And as much as I’d love to contact each girl and confirm this presumption, I’d rather keep in tact this illusion that I’m immune to the same disease that’s been the ruination of so many of my peers’ relationships. I guess the fact that I’d rather not know with 100% certainty helps demonstrate the notion that cheating can be prevalent without being conspicuous, and therefore we can’t necessarily assume it is more common today than it was several decades ago.