THIS JUST IN — WOMEN CHEAT TOO!! **clutch the pearls!**

Women cheat too.

Take as long as you need to deal with that bombshell

No need to rush…I’ll wait. Please take your time, because I want you to be ready when I continue.

Ready? You sure? Cool.

Women cheat too. No trust me, they really do. I have known many women over the years, of all races, ages, marital statuses and socio-economic statuses, and without exception all of them cheated in committed relationships they were involved in at least once. As I am faced with this barrage of stuff from the media about men cheating on their wives or girlfriends, I always find myself screaming at the television, or the magazine, or the radio, or at the computer monitor “but WOMEN cheat too! I know they do! Doesn’t anyone care about THAT?”

The way  women’s cheating tends to be excused and explained away troubles me. It is one of the primary reasons why men and women will continue to flounder in their attempts to deal with each other successfully – men are constantly demonized in these kinds of discussions, while women continue to find ways to not own up to their own deceitfulness. But I’m not allowing it. I am a woman and I know how much women really cheat. The myth that all the men who cheat are doing it with these completely single unattached women is complete and utter bulls**t. It is as much of a myth as that stripper who is paying her way through college. Many of these women are ignoring the committed relationships they’re supposed to be in the same as the men are. And relationship drama will never be successfully dealt with if all parties don’t own up to their wrongdoing. And because I believe in setting an example, I am going to start with me. I will lay myself on the altar in the hope that this will generate truly honest discussion.

I have been unfaithful in several relationships I have been in where I had given my word to be monogamous. This did not happen because the man was mistreating or neglecting me in any significant way. I make a choice to not keep my word, and to violate his trust in one of the most heinous ways imaginable. But in order to stop doing that I had to own it. I had to look at why I was doing it.

For me, I often found I cheated when I thought I was about to be rejected by the man. If we had a big argument or huge fight, one that I thought might do irreparable damage to us or cause us to part company, or if he had said something that deeply hurt me, I would usually call up some guy I know, typically an ex-boyfriend or some dude who I knew had a thing for me and was just waiting for an opportunity. We’d go out for a drink or two, and the next thing you know, there I was, cheating.

Now in most cases, the arguments were things we could have worked out. But I was so fearful of rejection, fearful that the man I was seeing didn’t love me enough to work with me to work our problems out, fearful that he would go out and cheat on me, I just figured I’d beat him to the punch. So there! In the instances when I was truly deeply hurt or wounded, I didn’t feel compelled to bring my issues to him openly and honestly. I didn’t want him to know he had hurt me, had the power to hurt me.

Sometimes I would cheat if I was angry at my boyfriend, or just felt that he had been dishonest with me about this or that. Proof was never necessary either. Often I didn’t even bother to tell my significant other, and had no intention of telling him. I just wanted the internal satisfaction of knowing that even if he thought he’d gotten away with whatever, I really had the upper hand, whether he knew it or not. And with that mindset, I was unfaithful to several of my exes, most of whom were just doing the best they could to deal with the person they thought I was, and didn’t deserve to be treated that way.

But once I matured a bit, I began to discover the value of monogamy. I began to learn that this type of violation of trust usually does permanent damage to whatever two people have built together as a couple. Even if you manage to recover and rebuild the relationship to a functional level, it just isn’t quite the same as it was before the loss of the trust. In situations where I cheated and me and my boyfriend attempted to continue the relationship, I found it all but impossible to forgive myself for behaving so badly, and things just got worse and worse, usually to the point where the relationship could not continue. I always punished myself much worse than the men who wanted to continue on with me ever did, or could. Ultimately I learned the hard way that if you care about someone its really not worth it, no matter how you feel in a moment of anger, lust or passion. I also learned to be stronger, I learned to be more honest and forthcoming about my feelings. I learned not to be afraid of arguing with my man because I made sure what we had as a couple was solid enough to address difficulties, differences of opinion, hurt feelings and the like. I taught him how to treat me, even when he is mad at me, and made sure I learned how to treat him when I was mad. I let go of the idea of just trying to gain the upper hand in some weird kind of way by secretly hurting him and secretly saying no to the promises I made to him. I learned to withstand disagreements and arguments without feeling the need to run off and be with someone else. And with much hard work and sensitivity to these things, I have managed to be monogamous in my last few serious relationships. And I am very much looking forward to being monogamous again. I love the level of intimacy it builds. I really do get it now – I get that its not all about me. It is about us. I am very proud of my growth in that respect.

But what I find in my girlfriends that cheat is that they feel justified in doing it. They always have a reason, or several reasons, and usually that reason(s) have something to do with the guy’s bad behavior, real or imagined. “Well he’s cheating on me”, or “he doesn’t pay attention to me anymore”, or “he doesn’t care about my wants or needs“, “we’re moving in different directions and have grown apart” – that kind of thing. The funny thing is these are the EXACT SAME THINGS my male friends who have cheated say to me when I ask why they did it, but if you are a dude, you just try to use any of those excuses or any variations thereof and see how you get.

I hate the idea that adults think you’re supposed to go around making decisions about your behavior based on the bad behavior of others. It really pisses me off. People always talk about “doing me” and “keeping it real” with themselves, which to me means making decisions about how you act not because of what others do, but because of who you are and what you believe and how you want to live your life and the kind of person you want to be. But if someone hurts you, suddenly its okay to be out of character. Suddenly its okay to be all these things you say you aren’t. Bullshit. If it ain’t cool when things are good and going your way, it ain’t cool when things are bad and not going your way. Period.

When women cheat, they often genuinely feel they’ve done all they could to address the situation with their men that led to the cheating. They claim they’ve tried to “talk about it”.  Unfortunately their idea of addressing it isn’t talking. It is yelling, accusing, insulting, name calling, nagging, cussing, instigating, not listening to what he has to say, shutting him down if he dares to not agree with what she is saying, and other types of behaviors that are a woman’s attempt to CONTROL the situation, not address the situation. Now in all fairness men will do damn near anything to avoid arguing with their women, partly because it is impossible to win and secondarily because men’s ideas of fighting and women’s ideas of fighting are totally different (that’s a blog for another day). If a woman is having an issue with her man that he thinks might lead to drama, the man is not very likely to be good about addressing it in conversation. He’ll attempt to avoid the discussion, which just heightens the woman’s aggravation with him, which makes her more angry, resentful and more apt to nag him, which makes him avoid the discussion even more, and on and on. I really hate when men do that – my biggest gripe with men is that they have to stop avoiding conversations with their women just because they don’t want them to turn into fights. Because all those things you’re avoiding discussing that you think you are “letting go” – you ain’t. And eventually they will lead you right to another woman’s coochie. And when that happens don’t totally blame your woman for being so difficult to talk to; blame yourself for being a punk who wasn’t adult enough to have the kinds of difficult conversations necessary to make an adult relationship work.

But back to the ladies —  even when a man makes it hard to discuss things that are bothering you, that is not a good reason to be unfaithful.

Now I get why women are so dishonest about their cheating. They don’t like what it says about them, and as is often the case, society has more to say about women’s bad behavior than men’s. Cheating makes women appear unladylike at the very least, and whorish at the most. It shows too much of a similarity to stereotypical men’s behavior. So many women thrive on being better behaved than men, less like animals and more “human”, the admission that they too engage in “animalistic” behavior is one they aren’t going to make. Women tend to like to be right, and as long as they are not cheating, they are right and the man is wrong. It is a position of power, to be so utterly, completely, ten thousand percent right. They’re not trying to lose that upper hand by admitting to anything. And additionally, truth be told, men don’t make it easy for women to admit they have cheated, and it is harder for them to get over in most cases. A lot of people ask me why men tend to feel that way, and this is my theory on it: Sex by its very nature is an invasive process for a woman. It isn’t for a man. When a woman has sex with a man, she is  allowing him to place a part of his body into a part of hers – an intimate part at that. Men just have a lot of trouble dealing with the idea of another man putting a part of his body into a part of his woman’s body. The idea that another man was inside her, was inside her most intimate place, a place that only he was supposed to be, is just way more than the average man can handle. I think it’s the natural invasiveness of sex that, when violated by the presence of another man’s penis in her highly personal space that drives men crazy.

And hey – for some people, monogamy is harder than others. I honestly think for some its all but impossible. (SIDEBAR – I have seen so many women who seem to have ended up with men who haven’t had enough time to process the concept of monogamy and determine it is what they want for themselves. Most times women know when they’ve stumbled upon this kind of man, the kind for whom monogamy is impossible, and instead of leaving him alone to figure those things out, they stick around and make themselves and their lives miserable.) Having difficulties with monogamy doesn’t make you the worst person in the world. That was the hardest lesson for me to learn when I was trying to get my behavior under control. Women in particular don’t like to be “bad people”. Acknowledging that I had problems being faithful was hard because I genuinely felt it made me this monstrous woman, the worst kind of woman – one not deserving of a good man. But I learned that it didn’t make me Super-Slut – it just meant I needed to take a long hard look at some other things in myself. I had to figure out if monogamy was right for me, and why, and fully commit to it. I find women think monogamy will just automaticlly happen for them because they are good, virtuous women. Of course they wouldn’t consider getting with another man because they’re ‘not that kind of girl’. “Of course I’ll be faithful, that’s the kind of woman I am!” If you’re one of these expecting monogamy to just be somehing you sail into by virtue of your purity, you’re gonna be in for a real shock. Long-term monogomany isn’t easy, and if you don’t consider how you feel about it and how you will maintain it, you’re  setting yourself up for failure. Trust me,  temptation knows EVERYONE’S address.

As I post this, I am bracing myself for the barrage of women who will contact me to say they have never cheated. If the only reason you’re contacting me is to call women who cheat sluts and hoes and the like and to get your rocks off by touting your virtue and putting your purity on display, please don’t bother reaching out. Because I won’t believe you. If nothing else you’ve done that “emotional cheating” that you’re so fond of pulling men up on – you know, when they get too close to a female platonic friend and end up confiding in her about way too much, even though he doesn’t sleep with her. Yeah ladies, you’ve done that too. And I’ve covering my ears before you start with “but I needed someone to talk to and he was there for me!”

Finally – for those of you who say “well of course more men cheat on women than vice versa. Look at how many women there are with these stories compared to men!” You need to understand this —  the reason society makes such a bigger deal out of men cheating is because WOMEN make a bigger deal out of it. Women demand attention be paid to them when they are wronged. And I’m not saying they shouldn’t, but men usually don’t do the same. They internalize it Men don’t express themselves in the same vocal way when they’re cheated on.  It’s not that they’re cheated on any less, and it’s not that they don’t care, but they don’t have the luxury of being highly emotional and expressive about how they may feel about it. Women can openly go out and cry and scream and feel intensely depressed about being cheated on and women, friends and strangers alike, will offer a shoulder to cry on. She can get books, videotapes, DVDs, medication, and turn on a wealth of radio and television talk shows that will be all about addressing her pain. Because a nation of women who have been cheated on back her up, make their voices heard. Men don’t get that and they know it. When their woman cheats, it is a commentary on their manhood, their ability to keep her happy, people aren’t going to automatically support him and help him through his pain, they’re going to ask “well, what did you do to make her cheat on you?” So they keep their mouths shut. Why wouldn’t they? Hell, I would.

I sincerely hope that women will get off their high horses on this topic. I know it’s a highly volatile, emotional one, and once women get their emotions caught up in things it can be difficult to let go. But relationships need logic and reason just as much as they need emotions and passion. So let’s try to bring balance to the discussion of infidelity. Let’s not demonize anyone, because in this matter both men and women have things we need to learn. Let’s  please bring civility and honestly as well, and most importantly, understanding and forgiveness.

Let the sniping begin!