As a child I believed cheating in a relationship was wrong. Scandalously so! I swore up and down I would never cheat.
(I also swore I would never drink coffee or go to bed early and I think you all know where I am headed with this.)
Yes I cheated. And yes it came easier than I had thought it would. The guilt was there but the instant gratification was there too and instant gratification is one hell of a lure. Cheating also involved lying which was another thing I swore I’d never do. The line was crossed with no real connection to the severity with which I was straying from my old beliefs, and it all just snowballed from there.
But when I would sit down and bemoan the situation I had gotten myself into and anticipate the barrage of accusations and lectures my friends would give me, I was surprised to be greeted by their understanding and empathy. What was even more insane was that as time progressed I realized that most of the other people around me were cheating/had cheated.
I would even venture to say that more than half of my friends and acquaintances have strayed during a relationship and several others are chronic strayers with no thought of stopping.
And so the thought occurred to me one day as I sat in the mess I had created; maybe I wasn’t pure evil as I had previously thought. Maybe I was just growing up and losing my values as I went. And maybe this is just what happens.
Now I am not writing off my actions, no way no sir. What I did was horrible and wrong and if anyone ever did it to me I can’t image how I would feel. (Double standard?) I made my bed and I lay in it when everything came to a head. And I have come out a different person and am now lucky enough to be in a wonderful and committed relationship.
But what I was thinking about today and what I am suggesting to you right now is that maybe this is just something that happens. That we just inevitably lose something that we had. We lose a conviction.
What I can’t figure out is if we were more correct then or more correct now.
As a child was I just naive and that’s why I was able to really believe such an unwavering ideal?
Am I just so corrupted now that those same ideals seem silly and unimportant?
Do we see more clearly now or then? Are we capable of making a real genuine moral judgment as a blank slate? Or are we more qualified now, after a life of exposure? After all coffee is bad for you and staying up late is like totally cool. Was I a better judgement-maker at 5 then I am now at 23?
The other weekend I was at the Spotted Pig with Erica (roommate) and some of her old work friends. They were all in their thirties and most were married with kids. Several of those married men hit on us. One even went so far as to tell me that his wife and kids had died in a fire and that’s why he was ready to take me home. And I was caught up in a sudden wave of that same childlike blanket feeling; I would never cheat on my husband/these men cannot possibly represent the majority.
Thus the question continues. Who is wrong, me or them? Who is wiser?