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Ask ShanTellem: Should I Cheat?

Dear ShanTellem,

Sometimes I just want to join the cheaters club. I’ve always held a degree of moral conviction in relationships and never found it okay to cheat. Lately, it feels like everyone around me is a cheater. I want to understand this hype.

Often, people who don’t cheat are characterized as naive, juvenile or uncool. I’m smart enough to know none of this is true. However, I can’t help but wonder if I’m missing something. Why are so many so comfortable with cheating? Granted, most of the cheaters I know are unmarried, but not all. Is everyone mad?

I’m finding it hard not to buy into the idea that everyone cheats and joining the club. Sometimes it seems easier than waiting for an upstanding person to come along. Should I stick to my guns or join in on the fun?

Signed,

Should I Cheat? 

Dear Should I Cheat,

Let me start by saying this: if you watch Jerry Springer, Cheaters and The Bill Cunningham Show enough, you’d think there are no faithful people in the world, and that you’re destined to be with a simple-minded, unfaithful, abusive person. I say that to say that who you surround yourself with consistently paints your perception of reality.

As for your question of why people cheat, while I cannot speak on everyone’s behalf, I will say that it goes well beyond the fact that they can. I used to be the type who saw things very black or white. I thought everyone who cheated was a terrible, selfish person, but life certainly has a way of humbling you, if you catch my drift.

Some folks cheat because they are promiscuous, but most of the time, there’s a lack of fulfillment in their current relationship. It doesn’t make it right, but that is the reality for many people. People also tend to cheat out of insecurity, neglect, fear of getting hurt, and for control. And in many cases, they cheat because they really do not want to be in the relationship, and certain circumstances (marriage, no prenups, children, alimony) seem too difficult to navigate.

Those are just some of the reasons why people cheat. Ask a chronic cheater and his/her answers might be different.

As for your question of whether or not you should join in on the fun, I encourage you to ask why you are considering breaking your commitment. Is cheating the right solution to a greater issue? If not, find a more morally satisfying reason.

You should never allow other individuals’ relationships to dictate how you operate in your own. In doing so, you allow them to set and define your standards. Never give anyone that power.

Good luck and I wish you the best.

YOUR TURN: Got a question for ShanTellem? Email her at digitalpitches@ebony.com or simply comment in the section below! 

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Shantell E. Jamison is a digital editor for EBONY.com and JETmag.com. She’s also a radio personality, and cultural critic. Her debut book, “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self” is available now at Amazon.com.