Monday, February 27, 2012
Just the tip...
It use to be simple. Someone would hook up with someone else, there was contact, saliva and possibly other fluids were exchanged and it was cheating. Done. Boom. Cue the tears and freak out. Your friends would all rush to your aid, ben and jerry's would be bought and there would be lots of liquor involved to get you through the heart ache. This is what use to happen the last time I had a boyfriend a little over six years ago, but now a days things aren't so clear.
I'll give you an example of this that has recently happened to a woman incredibly close to me. She is 24 years old. She has two children, she has a live in boyfriend and is someone who has worked herself ragged to be able to take care of her family. One day, she opened up her Facebook page to find messages from a woman she'd never met. They all included screen shots of conversations of my friend's boyfriend and his FB mistress. It was clear that there had been no physical contact, but the conversations were very intimate and sexual. In addition, there were some not so nice things said about my friend and her issues loosing some of the baby weight. I was outraged! I was ready to help her move all of her things out and surely find some distant cousin who may be in a gang. How could he do this to her? She agreed and felt that it was worse than cheating.
However, I was surprised to learn that not everyone agrees. A guy friend of mine explained to me that with technology now a days its a safe way of exploring some of your unexpressed feelings in a perceived safe environment. He claimed that this was actually a way to prevent physical cheating and that this sort of cyber cheating is a term made up by insecure women who don't see that their guys are actually, proactively preventing extra curricular sex.
My friend K and I talk about this all the time because we are firm believers that the person you're with doesn't need to be your everything. There are things I discuss with her that I would never discuss with a lover, that I don't NEED to discuss with a lover. There are insecurities that I would only discuss with my friend Nicole that no future boyfriend of mine really needs to hear or will every understand. So if people serve different purposes in your life why do we begrudge someone a conversation? What is the harm in a conversation? Is it intent that marks the betrayal or is it actual words that you wrote to someone else that you love them or that you think about them when you're with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Is it the "gateway" concept that scares us? Is it the possibility that this will lead to something else? Or is it the fact that the "act" in it self is something you're not willing to forgive? In this new cyber world of emoticons that create tonality and punctuation less instant long distance correspondence, what constitutes the cheating line? And more importantly, how the hell do you know when you've crossed it? Who polices the content and would you have preferred someone told you about this or that if it was a short lived "cyber relationship" that you never knew?
I guess this answer here is really that you don't know and why trust and communication are still the barter and trade. So how does someone who has a need to control everything to avoid getting hurt survive in this new tech savvy relationship world? My therapist would probably throw out the words, "mutually agreed upon" and "conversation" while the only word I can think of to describe the situation my friend was recently put in is "screwed". or "Not Screwed" :-) I guess it's all a matter of perspective.
For those of you curious as to how the story ends, he's moving out.