Every few weeks, some celebrity, politician, or pastor is caught cheating on their spouses. Every single time, this stirs up a shit storm of stunned gasps, loud proclamations of virtue, and blame laying aplenty. It’s like we’re all a society of Puritans who are still living out modern variations of The Scarlet Letter
Given my history, you’d think I’d hate infidelity. I’ve been cheated on so often, it wasn’t even funny. But taking that mindset is assuming that I was completely blameless, and that just isn’t true. As a partner, I had to come off as aloof, or as emotionally distant. The alternative was being more open, and then women left me, “for real men.” This too makes them seem petty in a snap judgment, but hey, if you aren’t a lesbian, dating a chick with a penis isn’t going to work no matter how much you try to convince yourself that having a dick equals being a dude.
But my point here is, the women who cheated on me were only one part of a complex equation, one which can be summed up as “human emotions are fickle.” We fall in and out of love. We develop obsessions and fast burning attractions for other people. This is human nature. It is what we are: flawed and imperfect creatures whose insecurities sometimes lead us to temptations that we cannot say no to.
Now, if it were just the far religious right making a big deal out of infidelity, that would be one thing. But I see a lot of supposedly moderate and liberal people who also jump in on “cheaters” with equal vitriol. We as a society pin scarlet letters on men and women, and we browbeat people for being human.