I think it’s time we had a more productive conversation about cheating than the one we’ve had many times over. Most times when we talk about cheating it’s always a conversation about why men cheat. By this point, we have come up with a long list of reasons men cheat but it always comes back to the same central point: because they can. To be clear, not every man is predisposed to cheat just because he can. There are still plenty of men in relationships who don’t cheat at all.
Anyway, last week Amber Rose filed for divorce from Wiz Khalifa. (I always feel awkward typing those names because they are the stagiest of stage names, but I digress.) Surprisingly, Wiz isn’t fighting for his marriage. He’s already filed his response and is ready to move on. That’s when I said to myself, “Something’s up with this story.” And as we waited all week for details to come to the surface, eventually they started to trickle out.
Now if the rumor is true, Wiz moved out of the house weeks ago, got his own place and pretty much decided he didn’t want to be married to Amber anymore. Amber one night shows up at his new place and finds him in bed with another woman. A few days later she files for divorce citing irreconcilable differences — not adultery — but tweets that her ex-husband is a cheater.
But wait. Did Wiz really cheat? Eh, in my opinion I don’t think that’s a fair representation of the situation.
This drama got me thinking that there’s this roaming definition of cheating. After discussing this with a few guys, I think we all agreed that the definition is really up to interpretation. Can a man cheat on a woman if they’re not in an official relationship of any kind? I understand that if you’re his girlfriend or wife then any activities outside of the relationship should be considered cheating. How about when you’re friends-with-benefits, taking a break or separated? Is it still cheating?
I have to say that my personal opinion is that there is no such thing as cheating outside of a relationship. I do think there are two other things that are just as bad, lying and deceit. I think the reason women find themselves accusing men of cheating when they’re not in a relationship is because they were under the impression that their situation was exclusive. In those cases, it’s really not the cheating that bothers you; it’s the fact that he lied.
That’s why I think it’s clear to focus in on the real issues of lying and not cheating. I’m going out on a short limb here but most of the times when someone is labeled as a cheater it’s a man. Men hate this label because to them it almost always indefensible. It exists in the background of his reputation and he can rarely shake it even if it was never true. That’s not a fair representation of who he is. It’s almost akin to screenshotting a section of a conversation and posting it on Instagram when someone is in a compromising position. Anything can be misconstrued and purported as something if both sides don’t have a chance to defend themselves.
I’m not saying that women need to stop calling men out for cheating, they don’t. There are still people out here cheating on the regular and they shouldn’t be getting away with it. I’m just saying that the definition of cheating needs to be more finite and not a roaming definition based on if someone “feels” cheated on. It’s either we move towards a definition that can be relied on or people will start thinking that people who claim “cheating” are just upset and hurt.