The Epidemic of Dishonesty and Unfaithfulness
By Jessica Rieder
I’m going to spit some facts, and it’s not going to be pretty. According to statistics gathered in 2017 reported by dating and relationships expert Anita Chlipala, 25% of men and 14% of women will cheat on their significant other in their lifetime. Now, this means 25% and 14% of the population, respectively, not 25% and 14% of the time. Assuming there are 3.5 billion men and 3.5 billion women in the world, this means that 875 million men and 490 million women cheat. Psychology Today reported a study done by a team at the University of Denver, led by Kayla Knopp which found that a person who has cheated in a previous relationship is three times more likely to repeat the behavior, compared to somebody who has never cheated before. What’s the point of these statistics? Simple. People are cheating. Now, cheating is not a new phenomenon. With that being said, the high school culture definitely has an effect on individuals feeling pressure to cheat in order to prove themselves, or not valuing their relationships over the clout they could have. Especially at this age, teens feel the need to portray an image of themselves that involves being sexually appealing to many parties. In and of itself, that desire is not a problem, but committing to that lifestyle prevents finding real, healthy relationships. The media doesn’t help at all with the high school culture that makes cheating so prevalent. “We’re bombarded with images of infidelity in popular culture and the news, so it’s no surprise we think it’s a world of callous cads and desperate housewives,” Jane Weaver, a health editor for MSNBC, said. Many people feel pressure to cheat or at least be able to just because they think that’s the societal norm, and that somehow it makes them powerful over other parties. In reality, not being loyal isn’t a sign of strength; it’s often a sign of weakness. Now, without getting into it, it’s clear to most people that cheating is bad. There are many reasons behind that though. Lawrence Josephs, Ph.D. in psychology, reported that being cheated on in the past makes cheating more likely in a future relationship. This often takes form in what psychologists call “retaliatory cheating”, where you try to get even with your disloyal partner and give them a taste of their own medicine. By cheating on partners, we often create more cheaters. On top of creating more potential cheaters, people who have been cheated on have also shown PTSD-like symptoms from sexual betrayal. People even call it Post Infidelity Stress Disorder or Infidelity PTSD. While it’s not an actual psychological diagnosis, it’s based on similar symptoms. It includes self-blame, unstable emotions and disorientation, intrusive thoughts, trust issues and hopelessness. Being cheated on can have permanent negative effects on people, their mental health and their future relationships. At the end of the day, cheating is completely preventable. All it requires is making the active choice to prioritize being transparent with your partner as well as your own happiness. Not all relationships work out, and that’s just life. If we could all have the respect for each other to not stay in any relationship we won’t remain faithful in, everybody would be better off. We have the personal responsibility to treat those around us with respect, no matter the complications of those relationships, and that’s really not that much to ask for. Loyalty is the bare minimum for a healthy relationship, and if you can’t manage that, you probably shouldn’t be in a relationship at all. Stay faithful and stay truthful.