Is cheating ever forgivable? If so, when?

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Now this is going to be a sensitive topic. If you can't handle people having opposing opinions, this thread (or this entire forum section, for that matter) is not for you.

 

Okay, so like the title says. Is cheating on your partner/spouse ever forgivable? It naturally is never okay, but is it ever okay to be forgiven? If so, under what conditions?

 

Now I've seen a lot of people on social media saying that it is never ever forgivable and no second chances should be given.

 

 

My friends and I were discussing along with my girlfriend and we have a common opinion:

 

There are two types of cheating. First is when you have a make-out or one night stand with someone else in the heat of the moment or under the influence of alcohol/drugs/etc. Second is when you continuously date someone else outside of your relationship in secret.

 

We had agreed that the first, while bad, is still forgivable. We all make mistakes and do stupid stuff in the heat of a moment, especially when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Even my girlfriend admitted that under the influence of alcohol, she completely loses her prude self and make stupid decisions.

 

However, the second scenario is completely unforgivable. When one continuously sees someone else in secret, it is a complete lack of conscience, shame, and respect for his/her own partner. Not to mention he/she has to be in a clear state mind, impossible to be drunk/high throughout the entire cheating duration. That is when it's clear he/she no longer loves his/her partner and doesn't care, and so it's unforgivable and the relationship should be ended once and for all.

 

 

 

And that's my opinion! Now I would like to hear all of yours. Open discussion, but please keep it civilized and no flaming or insulting! :ph34r:

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Forgivable, but not forgettable, in my opinion. 

Also, it would depend on whether or not it was recurring. The first time, it'd be hard, and I'd really look to see if she was sorry for it. If there was any doubt that she regretted the decision, I'd probably break it off.  

And yeah, I agree with the distinction between a drunken fling and a consciously extramarital/extrarelational affair.

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Here's the thing though. Why would an individual put themselves into a situation like that to begin with? Sure, I understand, we are all human and make mistakes. But if you're drinking and you are with the opposite sex, 1 on 1, that's is practically begging for something like that to happened.

A person will still need to take responsibility of their actions, regardless if they had intention or not. It's like saying a drunk driver shouldn't be punished for hitting someone because they were intoxicated. Or someone not being trialed for murder because they were in a rage. It doesn't quite work.

 

I agree with you can forgive, but not forget. Forgiveness is two-fold, but mainly it's about not letting what was done to you stop you from living your life. Whether the person takes one back is on an individual basis.
 

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Unforgivable I had a girlfriend cheat on me with her ex. I could not ever think about forgiving her. I love her even to this day but I will never EVER forgive her.

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There's also situational context. I was cheated on by an ex who was in love with someone else for like 2-3 months before she left me. There was no physical contact between the two, but the feelings were mutual, acknowledged, I love you's were exchanged between the two, etc. But I forgive her wholeheartedly, as the delay in our breakup was well-meaning..A mutual friend had told her I was very emotionally sensitive and invested in the relationship, and a breakup out of nowhere would damn near kill me. So she tried to ween me off to prevent me from being hurt too bad.

 

While I don't doubt there's probably better ways to achieve what she was trying to do, and I was hurt about it, I recognize she was scared for my well being and just trying to operate things in a way that would work out well as well as she could in the stressful position she was in. So I do forgive her. While misguided, it was actually sweet in a really screwed up way. We're still very close friends. Like sisters. :)

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I don't believe humans are meant to be monogamous, and while I might want to selfishly have my SO all to myself, as long as they aren't being emotionally neglectful towards me, I can't think of any valid objection to them having other lovers, especially if they only see those other lovers when I'm unavailable. Finding out my SO was having an affair behind my back would probably hurt, but more from the fact that my SO felt the need to hide it rather than the fact that my SO has other lovers.

Granted, the closest I've come to being in such a situation is the woman I love breaking up with me and thend learning she has a new boyfriend, but my current feelings on that situation are that I'd take her back in a heartbeat even if I was of lower rank than the new boyfriend.

Have no idea how I would deal with two or more girls who want me all to themselves who are unwilling to share, but that doesn't seem likely since only one female in the last decade has shown any romantic interest in me.

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If you're married to an asshole or dating one, i'd say it's perfectly acceptable, otherwise no.

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I would have to be inclined to say it entirely depends on the people and the situation. I don't think attributing monikers like "forgivable" or "unforgivable" to actions for use in all situations without taking into consideration any of the events, people, or feelings involved is silly. Ultimately it's up to the person who was cheated on to determine if in their particular situation, the person who cheated on them should be forgiven or not, and as love and forgiveness are by nature subjective and typically run counter to things we'd consider logical, I don't think for a minute it's fair for someone to say "You're being unfair" or "you're being to lenient". To do so would be asserting that your feelings on the matter are more important then the person who was most effected by the situation, which is simply untrue.

 

All that being said, my personal feelings on the matter (as someone who, through luck or simply the lack of relationships I've had in my life, have never been cheated on myself) are something that aligns well with the "general consensus" of this thread. That is, spur of the moment one-night affairs and the like are less serious offenses than a long-term behind-the-back secondary relationship. This is strictly personal and, coming from someone who has never been affected by an affair, is not in any way indicative of how I'd react in a situation where I was. Ultimately, it's up to a person to decide whether to forgive their significant other in that situation, and no matter what we say that person's decision is ultimately the only one that matters.

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Simple answer...no. All there is to it, this is my only input in the matter.

You cheat, you go. Simple as.

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No. I made the mistake of online dating, she abandoned me for 4 months, it was never officially over until I found out she'd replaced me. In that time I had a girlfriend closer to home for a week. She found out and even though she's forgiven me, it still hurts to think I was that awful, to use her to fill a void. 

 

Some may say I was justified, four months is a long time, eventually you move on. Not good enough, I got weak and did something I'll regret until I'm dead.

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Forgive eventually, but that relationship is over for good. Cheating is the act of your partner breaking off a deal you made with them, without telling you first. How are you supposed to go further with a person like that? What other contracts would they break? Could you trust them with a family, or shared assets, or shared life goals? I wouldn't.

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Do you want to forgive your partner?

 

If you forgive him/her now, will anything change?

 

The answer tends to be "no". An honest "yes" is highly uncommon. If he/she cheats on you for whatever reason, you didn't matter for that person. Heat of the moment? That can happen again. Ask yourself the questions again.

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I don't believe humans are meant to be monogamous, and while I might want to selfishly have my SO all to myself, as long as they aren't being emotionally neglectful towards me, I can't think of any valid objection to them having other lovers, especially if they only see those other lovers when I'm unavailable. Finding out my SO was having an affair behind my back would probably hurt, but more from the fact that my SO felt the need to hide it rather than the fact that my SO has other lovers.

 

This is about how I feel. I think part of the issue with "cheating" is that most people tend to go "NOT ACCEPTABLE EVER. NO FORGIVENESS" without realizing that most people who cheat do so because they genuinely feel like a part of what they need is missing in their current relationships. Don't get me wrong - some people cheat because they're just assholes - but most people do because they feel like something is missing - excitement, energy, intimacy, etc. 

 

Figuring out WHY the person cheated is really what would make the difference for me. Was it because they weren't getting enough sex at home and had tried to address it but I hadn't listened? That's my own fault for ignoring the signs. Were they trying to connect with me on an emotional level or go to exciting events with me but I was too busy with work? Again, my own fault. There's really no "excuse" for cheating - but there are lots of reasons, and for most people, the cheating isn't the "first line" of attempts they've made to fix the issue.

 

Yes, cheating on someone is a dick move, but when people have needs . When they try to meet them within the confines of their relationship and things don't work, it's not entirely unreasonable that they'd try to meet that need elsewhere - especially if the primary relationship has all of the other things they want out of their partner and things are otherwise happy. BUT something like that should be done openly and with everyone's knowledge. This is why open communication is so important. I'd rather my partner come to me and tell me they want to go outside a monogamous relationship than be concerned about someone cheating. 

 

So, if it was something solvable in the primary relationship that I could pay more attention to to keep it from happening again? Then yes, it'd take time, but it'd be possible to get over it. If it's not something I think I can commit myself to providing in our relationship, then we either need to talk about becoming poly or ending it.

 

Then again, I'm in a poly set-up, so if anyone in my set-up "cheats", there's literally no excuse, and that'll be the end of that relationship.

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The way I see it, cheating is never something that "just happens" despite there people a large subset of people who absolutely love uttering that phrase in response to this situation. Cheating involves a series of steps that eventually lead to the final act that you can call cheating. First you have to be unfulfilled with your current person in some way, then you have to be attracted to someone else, then you need to build the mutual attraction with this other person by talking to them on a personal level, and then you have to create the kind of situation with this other person where the cheating CAN happen, Only when all that is done will a cheating event occur.

 

So in my mind, they have 4 opportunities in the evolution of infidelity where they could have intervened but didn't. Either they didn't want to stop it from happening at any of those points, or they were extremely ignorant to themselves and their own emotions throughout this whole process which, quite frankly, should have been blatantly obvious to any mature adult. Either way, that's not a person that I want to be with any longer.

Edited by AquaVitae

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^Good question. Wish I had a good answer, especially since, best I can tell, Christianity is one of the biggest proponents of monogamy despite how common polygamy is in the Bible(In Genesis alone, Abraham has two sons of note by two different wives(one of whom is his half-sister), Lot has sons by both of his daughters, and Jacob(later Israel) has 12 sons by 4 wives, and those aren't counting the people who get mentioned in the genealogies but aren't given any biography).

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I believe that it's more about expressing trust. Love, after all, is revealing yourself to the other person, entrusting to him/her and hoping that it won't destroy you, that it is reciprocal. And what sounds more romantic that compromising to one and one person alone?

 

Obviously, open relationships can happen, no problem. But talk it out first, or the "cheat" ensues.

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Cheating can be forgiven, but it doesn't mean you should return to a relationship with that person.

Why do humans want to be monogamous? 

Person with absolutely no relationship experience here: Romantically speaking, when I consider a person among my highest in my life, I only wish for them to feel the same towards me. I want my feelings to be reciprocated, and not feel like there's someone else the person I value the most to value over me.

 

Similarly, I know how it feels... to have a best friend, but not be my best friend's best friend. There is someone else my best friend feels closer to than how close I feel to them.

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i think it depends, if the guy was forced down and raped/ or situations where he is too drunk to know where he is and a girl takes advantage of the guy, then yea, but if he does it on purpose, i don't think its forgivable, i been cheating on twice in my life on christmas day and it was unforgivable. 

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I think it's forgivable. I have been cheated on and I cheated before, everybody can be corrupted in some ideal situation. I know how beautiful is the talk of "if someone really loves you they will never cheat", but with a few long term relationships I can assure you I loved the girl I cheated on wholehearted and I'm sure at least two of the girls who cheated on me loved me for real. All that love talk is actually inverted: how do you say you truly love someone if you can't even forgive them for cheating on you?

Even cheating shouldn't be dealt in absolutes, which would make people consider much more important rules than "no cheating", like not abandoning the mother/father of their child (or their child, of course), not being there when your SO needs you... the only absolute rule is: if you are cheating ALWAYS, ALWAYS use protection. It doesn't matter if you are wasted, where you are, who is the other person, there is no excuse for not protection yourself and the person you love. Not only unforgivable, cheating without protection should be a crime.

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I have a much more simple but Christian-inspired answer that is practically a self-made motto for my life.
Always forgive. Never forget.

If someone cheats on you, don't go brooding over it and/or seeking revenge, as it won't help anything or anyone. At the same time, don't be the fool who assumes everything is cured with one hug and sorry. If you cannot trust someone not to keep cheating on you, then terminate the relationship (but stay nearby if there is a child involved).

I think that the idea of people being taken advantage of by sexy people is incorrect however. Usually you choose to drink alcohol or take illegal substances, knowing full well they will adversely affect your judgement. If I chose to get drunk and then murdered somebody, I am still responsible! Additionally, bear in mind that if it can happen once, strongly consider what actions can be taken to make sure it doesn't happen several more times.

...

Please bear in mind that I am a virgin and have more than once been offered one night stands and other cheap sex by very pretty temptresses*, yet been able to say no. If it's easy enough to refuse sex when you don't even get any (despite hoping to do so), then surely someone who is regularly satisfied can say no to yet another mate on the side**!

 

*Never proper relationships, hence declining. The people I asked for proper relationships always said no.
**Assuming they don't dull their senses with controlled substances, which I covered in the second paragraph already.

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