Hi, I’m Paul. Forgive me for intruding on this magnificent blog. Now onto things I haven’t been told to say…
This blog came about after a strange sequence of events. The details aren’t important, but Andie had been wanting a male perspective on cheating and I volunteered my services knowing that I probably wasn’t the best person for it. We like to thrash things out at work about all kinds of things, but this one continued over a number of days since some of our colleagues unfortunately had first hand experience of it. I say I’m not the best person to write this because much as Andie would disagree, my thoughts on this aren’t very different to hers.
I see it from both sides. During my time at university, I dated a lot of girls. If that sounds conceited, it’s only because I was. None were serious relationships and that’s how we all wanted it. Back then, if any other guy had hit on someone I was with, I’d have gotten territorial. I wasn’t afraid to show it either. It said nothing about how I felt about them. I was a dick, and I just didn’t want anyone else thinking they could have what was mine. I grew up, but many don’t.
Men say a lot of things in company and it’s mostly bravado. I go out with the lads and I see a different side to them than the one they present when women join us. I understand this all too well, having been one myself. The first thing that comes out of our mouths, tends to be the most honest, so it was interesting when we discussed it, that the men spoke of sexual infidelity and the women of emotional infidelity. Taking their cue from the women, the men agreed about the emotional cheating, but I don’t think it’s as important to them. You’ll never get them to admit it though. This may explain why when I was hesitant after my initial desire to write this, Andie cajoled/coaxed/threatened me to see it through, then argued with me about everything I’d written. God love her. I don’t know if I convinced her I wasn’t just trying to say the right thing, but it’s true.
It wasn’t until I did have a serious relationship, that I understood it wasn’t about protecting what was yours, but an insecurity in myself. I stopped seeing women as possessions and started seeing my girlfriend as an individual, but I still didn’t want any other guy touching her and I’d get jealous if anyone obviously flirted with her. Into my thirties and a few relationships down the line, it had just become a drama and I eased off. I felt better, I grew in confidence and I became more laid back.
For reasons I won’t go into, I took a break from relationships altogether a few years ago and it’s opened my eyes. I’ve reevaluated what’s important and what I want. Not being so self involved and wrapped up in myself has also made me more aware of people around me. I now find it funny to see my friends acting like I did when I was younger. I try not to lecture them, but I do try to point them in the right direction sometimes. It makes me feel older than my years. Their idea of infidelity is warped, because I know they would hate it if their girlfriends did half the things they do. There’s no doubt some of them are in love, but equality doesn’t apply to how they treat their partners. They’re good guys, they don’t sleep around, but there has been flirtations, the odd kiss and even an online romance that didn’t come to anything. They’d see none of these as cheating, but I’m sure the girls they’re seeing would beg to differ.
I used to be like them, so I understand it. I also understand it’s not me anymore. Just the thought of the woman I love kissing someone else is enough to make me feel physically sick, but it goes beyond that. It used to be territorial, almost like they were my possessions. Now it’s not about other men, it’s about her. Why would she want to kiss someone else? What would make her want to do that? Why would she feel like she has to hide it from me? There wouldn’t need to be another man. If there was anything she felt she couldn’t talk to me about, I’d be devastated. It’s not about her body, it’s ‘her,’ because cheating isn’t about sex, it’s about sharing something intimate. I only want her to share with me because I don’t just love her for her body. I love everything about her.
Andie jokingly tells me to man up at least once a day. I know she doesn’t mean it and she knows I know that, but I can relate to women more than men these days. Sure I project confidence which is partly to do with my job and partly because there are few people I really care about, but the more we talked about this, the more I agreed with the women. I understood exactly what they meant when they talked about emotional infidelity. That doesn’t mean I would think twice before knocking out any guy who tried to touch the woman I love. I can still have fun with the lads and to an extent, I’ll leave them to make their own mistakes because they’ll learn in their own time. Or maybe they won’t, but they do know where I stand on it.
This is my definition of cheating: To share with someone who isn’t your girlfriend, anything that you know would hurt her if she found out. It would vary from person to person, but if you know someone well enough to tell them you love them, you should know what those things are.
By Guest Blogger, Paul.