Have you been cheating? Have you been cheated on? Maybe a little bit of both?
Like the majority of relationships across many different sexualities, it’s a given that the usual format expected is that of monogamy: aka, it’s just you and that person, exclusively, and if one becomes involved with another person on the side, they are of course, the bad guy.
But Cosmopolitan writer Ali Drucker writes that Americans’ idea of infidelity as the deal breaker of a relationship is “misguided.”
Citing psychotherapist and relationship expert Esther Perel’s latest book, The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity, she opines that “cheating is never really a black and white occurrence.”
What! What could possibly be more black and white than a conscious decision to include another person in an exclusive relationship? You might think, but Drucker has thoughts on that too, based on Perel’s writings.
“The reason cheating seems like such a betrayal, especially in Western spheres, is because we assume a perhaps undue sense of ownership over our partners.”
She adds that having that mindset can almost certainly set you up for disappointment.
Take Keeping Up With The Kardashians star Khloe Kardashian for instance; who, just days before giving birth to daughter True, was caught up in boyfriend Tristan Thompson’s cheating ways.
Thompson, who plays ball for the Cavs, had been filmed cheating on her multiple times.
The media of course went nuts, and waited with bated breath on whether she would dump his cheating ass, especially since sister Kim Kardashian-West has said his actions were “f—- up” in answering a question on Ellen.
But instead, both parties have since released vague statements about moving on, with Thompson posting that he “wanted more children.”
It’s looking like Khloe is attempting to view his infidelity as an obstacle to work around, rather than a total end to their relationship, especially now that they’re parents to the adorable True, who just turned a month old.
Dr. Kathryn Smerling, Marriage and Family Therapist of Upper East Side Family Therapy, who talked with Cosmo adds: “It’s engrained in our culture to view cheating at the ultimate dealbreaker. Americans see cheating way differently than Europeans, for instance, where kissing and even having sex with someone who’s not your partner is not necessarily unacceptable.”
But still! People programmed toward monogamy should never be forced into an open relationship, adds Drucker.
It’s a challenge, but maybe infidelity can be worked through.
“The cheater needs to realize what factors drove them to cheating and take full ownership for their behavior, while the individual on the receiving end needs to be willing to have an open mind and practice forgiveness,” said Smerling.