Why Are We Still So Scandalized by Cheating?

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photo: Getty Images

Are people always more concerned with other people’s relationships, or are they now more easily caught cheating?

Last week, when a group of YouTube creators called Try Guys publicly parted ways with one of its four members, Ned Fulmer, for having what he did. Is called In a “consensual workplace relationship” with an employee, his reckless actions were quickly put into context online by shocked and frustrated fans. The moderator of r/TheTryGuys, explaining the personality Fulmer performed in the group to thousands of curious new Reddit guests, summed up his “whole thing” like this: “He loves his wife and children, he is the father of our internet. Having built his brand as a rather boring but sane and devoted husband and father, it doesn’t look like Fulmer will soon be felt betrayed by his longtime subscribers by his infidelity. . “It feels like losing a family member,” one person wrote on Reddit.

If you’ve heard of the Try Guys, you may remember them from their roots at BuzzFeed in the mid-2010s, where they became one of the digital media company’s biggest hits for videos like ” Guys Try on Ladies ‘Underwear for the First Time’ and ‘The Try Guys 14 Hours of Labor Simulation’. (Disclosure: I used to work at BuzzFeed News.) The guys started their own company, where they continued to create videos for their predominantly Gen-Z audience.

It makes sense that these young people, newer than the mediocrity of someone you once considered doing something stupid, would be annoyed by Fulmer’s reassessments. What makes less sense is why this story, about the right characters on social media, has such a strong viral momentum. It was the most trending topic on Twitter in the country. TMZ even got into trouble when he ambushed Fulmer and his wife, Ariel, on their way to pick up their children last week; The couple told the cinematographer they were “working to resolve the issue.”

Everyone cheats. Finding accurate statistics on the number of people working is difficult, because not everyone defines infidelity in the same way – in one study, nearly 6% of people said buying food for others opposite sex would be eligible (Mike Pence big) – and not everyone is willing to evaluate researchers. The official numbers tend to be very different. According to a survey in 2021, more than 46% of all respondents in monogamous relationships admit to cheating; Higher estimates suggest that up to 68% of women and 75% of men have cheated. More recent studies show that men and women do so at similar rates.

Adultery is as old as marriage. For the October 2017 issue of Atlantic, psychologist and couples counselor Esther Perel has explored why even a good marriage won’t necessarily save your partnership from infidelity. “Never had our expectations of marriage been of such epic proportions,” she wrote. “Contained within the wedding band’s small circle are vastly contrasting ideals. We wanted the one we chose to be stable, secure, predictable and reliable. And we wanted that person to provide the wonder, mystery, adventure and adventure… We created a new Olympus where love will remain unconditional, passionate intimacy and sexuality oh how exciting, for one person, in the long run. And the long distance keeps getting longer. “

Many people don’t even bother anymore. The US marriage rate is at an all-time low. In the 1950s, the vast majority – 80% – of American households consisted of married couples and their families; By 2020, they will only account for 49%. Meanwhile, millennials and Generation Z have given rise to the practice of the “ethical of unmarried marriage,” in which couples agree to the terms of an open relationship. The Queers, who had not followed the institution of marriage for most of its history, had long written down their own rules of love and commitment; a 2021 study found that completely a third of gay men are not monogamous, while previous studies reported that up to 50% of gay men allow sex outside of their sexual relationship. It seems that now all matters are directed towards the liberating possibilities of sex and love beyond the confines of ordinary marriage.

But the slow integration of multi-story and other non-traditional forms of romance doesn’t seem to do much to help the fate of cheating, which 90% of people still consider unacceptable. Why is it that as our understanding of the vast complexity of human sexuality continues to grow, so do expectations of monogamy not grow much with it?

If something were to happen, in our age of 24/7 social media surveillance, those who morally oppose cheating seem to only become more punitive. A 19-second video posted to a few hundred followers is all it takes to make ordinary people internet villains because there are can can cheating – as was the case with last year’s TikTok “couch guy,” who was accused by many of being unfaithful to his girlfriend because he didn’t seem happy enough to see her on a surprise visit. Earlier this year, a similar fate befell serial vampire West Elm Caleb, another random man turned TikTok star unwilling for the crime of casual dating. Apps have described anonymous strangers all over the world as Relationship Police, eager to capture and analyze even a hint of a violation (extramarriage or otherwise) from no one. and famous people.

For thrill-seekers with a particular taste for Schadenfreude, immense satisfaction can be gathered in exposing the ruthless hypocrisy of someone like Ned Fulmer, who has made it so. One’s wife even when he takes advantage of the power imbalance in the workplace to commit an affair like so many men before him. And hunting down adulterers on the internet can be more effective for any of us than waiting for the cheaters and abusers in our lives to face accountability. ; that could explain to HR advocates. But beyond the desire for justice to be done, most of the people who consider, I bet, are just engrossed in the internet. It’s fun to chat about strangers you’ve never met and never will, people you’ll never feel pain, compromises you’ll never know.

When fraud allegations came to Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine last month, a prelude to the failure of Try Guys, Levine’s extremely pregnant and potentially ill wife was probably not is the most important thing to most people because his affair has completed the rounds. You have to wonder if Levine would still be a trending topic for that long if he wasn’t so bad at flirting, which he’s even worse than what he did because he allegedly cheated himself. lie. (Levine denies infidelity but says he has “crossed the line.”)

Keeping the injured side in your eyes longer than necessary for a joke and moving on will start to get uncomfortable, because what if she were you? A mother of young children whose husband has publicly humiliated her on a grand scale. Now, the person is faced with the impossible choice of forgiving the miserable man and keeping their family together or ruining his own life to pieces.

Then it’s easier to just focus on the villain, the cheater, or maybe the con man, who in the public imagination has crossed the line that separates the Good from the Bad. But as Perel noted in her Atlantic story, “the complexities of love and lust do not lead to simple categorizations of good and evil, victim and perpetrator.”

In short, there is one thing to think about cheating as an obvious mistake. But it is completely different to consider it on a large scale, without a degree, as abusive and worthy of social, professional, and even physical consequences.

In 2011, in Cheryl Strayed’s advice column, Dear Sugar, the writer responded to a letter from a 29-year-old woman reeling from revelations that her sister and brother-in-law, had been married for 25 years and who wrote “the two have been in a relationship in the past. “My view on infidelity is that it is a killer,” the woman wrote. “My fiancé and I have agreed that if one of us cheats on the other, it will automatically end between us, no need to talk.” Does she still consider her sister and brother-in-law as a model couple? Should they walk her down the aisle at her wedding?

“There is perhaps nothing more painful and threatening than a partner breaking an agreed-upon monogamous relationship,” Strayed wrote in his response. “A preemptive ultimatum against that allows at least a sense of control. But that is a false feeling.” She writes openly and honestly about the beginning of her happy relationship when “Mr. Sugar” cheated on her, and it almost broke them apart before it didn’t. Finally, she wrote, “I’m not just grateful that I decided to stay. I am grateful that it happened. It took me years to allow that, but it’s true. The fact that Mr. Sugar cheated on me with the woman who sent him a postcard made us a better couple. It exposed a wound that Mr. Sugar ultimately, in his relationship with me, chose to heal. It opened up a conversation about sex and desire and commitment that we still have. And it gave us resources to draw on when we faced other challenges later on. “

Of course that’s not always the case. Problems destroy marriages every day. But the bad thing for a couple is that a unit can be completely transformative for one of the individuals in it. People whose lives have been shattered by love affairs may not have much grace to give soul-searching scammers – I get it! But for something that happens with amazing frequency, for every type of couple possible, it’s probably worth realizing that so many people explore sex and intimacy outside of relationships. Their long-term relationship is not trying to make up for what was lacking in their marriage but trying to discover something new about themselves.

Humans are complicated. Monogamy is complicated. But the allure of a culture of cheating captions has collapsed the backdrop of those complexities. Cheat is a handy shorthand. 3 years ago, when I left a long-term partnership because I loved someone else, my ex cheated on me only once and immediately admitted it and apologized for feeling it was a tool. strongest in me. my post-breakup messy arsenal – the perfect way for me to justify my bad and hurtful actions. The truth is that there are countless ways for people to break each other’s hearts.

Cheating is one of them: from a sloppy drunken spree at a work conference away from home to setting up a secret second family. Some people will feel terrible about their mistake and immediately worry; Others will again cheat, denigrate, and poke fun at their partners in the process. For those who are fooled, it can feel like a particularly nasty hangnail or a sledgehammer to the chest. Infidelity is just as varied as we are, human beings are deeply flawed – we all do our best to love and be loved.

https://www.thecut.com/2022/10/why-are-we-still-so-scandalized-by-cheating.html Why Are We Still So Scandalized by Cheating?

Russell Falcon

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