Somewhere between my first heartbreak and the early noughties, I fell in love with a man named Joey Greco. He was everything you could ask for in a man...straight, sexy, smart but above all, on television. I remember how my eyes would light up every time Bongani Njoli rambunctiously announced the start of his weekly show. His sword was a hand-held camera and his shield, a bunch of burly film crew. I watched in amazement as he gallantly swept in on his moral high horse, publicly humiliating and busting the rat bastard men and women who cheat on their spouses and long-term partners. As scandalous as it may be, it had to be the most satisfying and entertaining reality TV show to anyone suffering from the effects of being in an unfaithful relationship.
Let's face it, long gone are the days where cheating meant skimming the answers off of some unsuspecting brainiac in order to pass a test that we were too lazy to study for. It has a far more sinister meaning when it comes to relationships, one that involves pain, dishonesty, manipulation and exploitation of trust. The game may have changed but the objective is still the same; to achieve a desired goal by some immoral means. And it seems to be a growing trend, one that has become as socially acceptable as Crocs or Justin Bieber with up to 60% of married individuals secretly engaged in extra-martial activities. That doesn't even account for the infidelity that goes on in long-term relationships and same-sex civil partnerships. Is fidelity on the verge of extinction?
It's a question as old as who killed Kennedy, a tragedy that no-one will ever fully comprehend. Why do people cheat when it causes such pain? Are we all sadists or is there some kind of thrill that comes with living a double, sometimes triple life? It's far easier to understand why men do it. They are after all genetically programmed to stick their dicks into anything that gives them the time of day anyway, right? But what about women who cheat? What's their motivation? Can women cheat like men do, for pure physical satisfaction or does there have to be some kind of emotional reason? I couldn't help but wonder...
Miranda and I were catching up over a much needed glass of wine recently when the topic of cheating came up. According to Miranda, the world is made up of two kinds of people: serial cheaters and right wing anti-cheaters. She proceeded to tell me about Nina, a family friend that had recently filed for divorce. Nina had been exposed to infidelity from an early age having witnessed her own mother's affair with a married man that happened to be her father's best friend. The affair eventually led to the subsequent failure of her parents marriage, an event that had left Nina emotionally and psychological shaken for a very long time. To make matters worse, she relived a similar situation a few years later when she came home to find her partner of five years in bed with another woman.
It took ages before Nina could trust anyone again but eventually she did and was now married to the father of her two beautiful children. Her marriage, like any other marriage, was far from perfect but for once she seemed to be in a happy, healthy relationship. It's hard to believe that Nina would one day follow in her mother's footsteps especially after all the psychological damage infidelity had caused her.
There were only a few people that knew the severity of Nina's cheating ways. Rumour has it that she had been cheating on her husband right from the get-go and had
recently struck up affair number four with a married co-worker. There were even questions surrounding the paternity of her second child, another surprise her soon-to-be-ex is yet to unravel. She was eventually caught out and had decided it best to end her ten year marriage before matters got worse. Was Nina just another serial cheater destined to cheat over and over again or were there deeper issues from her childhood that had never been dealt with that had fucked up her chances of ever being faithful?
We all have our reasons for cheating on a loved one. Sometimes it's a once-off mistake and sometimes it's an actual habit. Being a one time cheater and multiple cheatee myself, I can personally say that there is no act more cowardly and damaging than cheating on someone that loves you with their entire being. It's a no win situation especially when there are children involved. The guilt, the clap, the karma. It will eventually catch up with you, so unless you are willing to live with that for the rest of your life, it simply isn't worth it.
When it comes to fidelity, has our moral compass gone South?