Is it worse to be the ‘cheater’ or the ‘cheatee’?

A guy’s view by Thomas Gibson

In any relationship there is always the dominant and the submissive partner. Connotations aside, it seems one half of a couple appears to have a tighter grip on the reins, while the other tends to exist in the background, blinded by love and rationalising away any red flags that may appear. Meet the ‘cheatee’ – the unfortunate ‘yang’ segment to the relationship who will do nothing but deliver love and affection, only to be rewarded with a broken heart and a significant hole that will take a substantial period of time to fill.

According to a UK online survey, it is estimated that almost fifty percent of participants in a serious relationship will cheat on their partner at some point. As an individual who has been cheated on in the past, it seems a daunting prospect that when looking for my perfect person – a mission in itself – I am shadowed by a fifty-fifty chance of heading into a union that will end in deception, followed by a hefty platter of heartbreak, hurt and misery. Is it worse to be the ‘cheater’ or the ‘cheatee’? In my opinion, it’s a no-brainer – the cheatee.

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Whilst talking with friends I have been unpleasantly surprised by the ease in which people approach being unfaithful in a relationship. When questioned why, I have received vacant and inane answers like “he would have deserved it” or “he wouldn’t have cared”. Is there any real justification behind dishonesty and callousness? In a society that sees more people holding mobile phones than another’s hand, I think we should question what has happened to the twentieth century’s outlook on real love and relationships.

It doesn’t matter what your perception is on being a good samaritan; when somebody gives you their heart, I’m pretty sure they are doing so under the acknowledgment that you’re not going to break it. It’s true that the ‘cheater’ may not be able to hold their head up with shame, and I’m sure there will never be a valid reason behind cheating, but for anyone that has been deceived by a partner they will comprehend that it’s one of the worst feelings possible and that you hurt in ways that you didn’t even know were possible. Incurring sleepless nights, constant failed endeavours to make yourself feel significant again, often aided by heavy shopping or drinking, you blame yourself and wonder where you went wrong or how you may have pushed him or her away. For these reasons, I will adhere to my initial conclusion – the cheater may have lost their pride, but the cheatee will have lost their trust, self-esteem and faith in relationships.

Leopards can’t change their spots and neither can cheaters.

A girl’s view by Sharn Rayment

The answer is obvious isn’t it? The cheater, of course. Or is it? We all know what a ‘cheater’ is, but people often disregard the role of a ‘cheatee’ as a dangerous one. To be clear, a ‘cheatee’ is the person that someone cheats on their partner with. A close friend of mine, who has asked not to be named, is a self-confessed serial cheatee out of a mixture of choice and chance. When I posed the question to her, she agreed that being the cheater is the worse of the two roles, but being a cheatee can be just as bad. You’re lying to the person’s partner as much as they are, instantly making yourself a brand new enemy, whether you asked for one of not. And in the case that you know the person’s partner, which with my close friend has been a common occurrence, you’re outright deceiving them.

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But if you’re young, free and single then you should have the freedom to do whatever you want, partner or no partner. Theoretically the responsibility of remaining faithful lies with the person in the relationship; it’s up to them to not go looking to get their kicks elsewhere. The cheatee has no obligation to ensure their hook-ups are taken or not, but it does help. The cheatee usually doesn’t have to suffer the same dire consequences as a cheater, but they don’t always get an easy ride. Beware of the backlash from an angry boyfriend/girlfriend who has just been cheated on and has your name bookmarked as the offending party. In the case of my anonymous friend, this has ranged from threatening e-mails from a girl she’d never met to a full fist fight on the streets of London. Not a desirable outcome as I’m sure you will agree.

These sorts of situations always make me think of the Jeremy Kyle Show. Two butch women fighting over a scrawny man because one of them is accusing the other of ‘sexual contact’ with their boyfriend (only the lie detector can really tell), but why are they screaming at each other and not the guy who did the actual cheating?  Is it really the cheatee’s fault that someone’s boyfriend came running to her? Is she wrong for dangling her sexy single and available status in his face? Is he wrong for not holding back? The bottom line is: don’t cheat. You won’t be able to walk away as freely as your cheatee and you can’t guarantee they’ll be there waiting to greet you with open arms – you’ve got a lot more to lose.