Can you tell me what constitutes cheating? Seems like a simple question, but when one examines the question in different aspects all forms of grey begin to develop; like the depth of a photograph in a darkroom. Radio personality Kane of the Kane Show sticks with the rule “if fluids are exchanged, it’s cheating.” But, he admits, there are a lot of things he could do that his wife certainly would not be happy about. Still, he asserts, “it’s not actually cheating.”
In this e-world where relationships develop almost twice as fast thanks to the ability to communicate with someone a myriad of ways, 24 hours a day and where temptation is literally at our fingertips and in our pockets or purses, thanks to the smart phone, infidelity threatens to become a casual aspect of relationships. Borders of privacy from the baby boomer generation and earlier are crumbling with social networks like Twitter, where people share all aspects of their lives as they are happening, often with pictures. These disappearing boundaries and the growing obsession with being “heard” over the din of status updates encourages the X, Y and younger generations to push the boundaries of acquaintances and friendships into something more intimate, even if they already have a committed relationship they are satisfied with. Intimacy becomes a contest; like being the girl with the most attention at a party, we want to know how many people could be infatuated with us, but we do not want to let go of the safety-net of the relationship at the same time. Or maybe it is simply our growing habit of expecting that better deal; the upgrade. We might like the phone we have, but the new model just came out. We might like the partner we have, but what about that girl or guy at the bar/party/work?
Within these blurring boundaries of interpersonal interaction are we making allowances for infidelity because it suits our new outlook on life? Are we willing to accept cuddling now as a totally cool “friendly” act when a partner does it because we want to make sure we have the option for it as well; just in case we want to test out an upgrade? Where do we draw the line now? Is the line at fluid exchange, as Kane’s rule asserts; or should we consider emotional infidelity- dirty talk via chat- as well?
As society becomes more permissive of ignoring privacy, and more interested in sensationalized high profile relationships, the every-day person’s life becomes more permissive and sensationalized as well. Infidelity is almost a trend. As if everyone is doing it. The public clambers to “news” stories of cheating movie stars, pop stars, celebrities and politicians. There’s an excited buzz about who did what with whom; not so much shock anymore at the mere fact infidelity occurred. Indeed, it seems you find less people who have never once cheated on a partner these days; and here we’re working from the fluid exchange rule. What about that golden rule: Do unto others… If you wouldn’t want your partner behaving in that manner, you are probably doing something wrong; in the neighborhood of cheating. Kane’s “other things” his wife wouldn’t be happy about.
There is a certain amount of reverence for each other we lost when we gave up our privacy and discretion by engaging in this 24hr exchange of social media. Too focused on being the most sought after and obtaining the newest, best model, we no longer see what we have in front of us. Pulled to the rocks by the siren call of the ode to infidelity.