Social Question

dalepetrie's avatar

Have you ever had the opportunity to cheat on your spouse or SO and turned it down?

Asked by dalepetrie (18002points) December 19th, 2009

You ask 100 people if they would EVER cheat on their spouses and at least 99 would say no, never, I would never do that. But we know that in reality more than 1% of people do cheat. Not sure what the numbers are exactly, but I wonder how many people who say they would never cheat really wouldn’t if push came to shove. I believe I wouldn’t, but I’ve never had that opportunity, and don’t really expect I ever will, so it’s kind of a moot point for me.

But I wonder, for those who believed they’d never cheat, who then had the opportunity to do so, and I mean with someone who they’d have slept with in a microsecond if they weren’t attached, someone incredibly tempting, how many have honestly been able to resist the temptation. Because I seriously think there are a lot of people who really, really love their spouses or SOs, who have zero intention of cheating, who honestly believe they would never, ever do something like that, who if the right person, in the right circumstance were to come along, and were to say and do exactly the right things to tempt them, and the risk of getting caught was virtually non-existent, who would not have the will power to resist the temptation.

I’d like to believe I would have the will power, but I even have to admit to myself that I’m human and I can never say “never”. The only reason I can feel 100% sure it would never happen anyway is because I know I’m not the type of person who would attract that type of attention. Basically I’m middle aged, 200 pounds overweight, married and broke (and currently unemployed) with an uninteresting career (an accountant) and a number of health problems, the treatments for which leave me with a diminished libido. Plus I’m socially retarded and even when I was looking for a date, I was too clueless to pick up on non verbal cues to know if someone was interested. I suspect winning the lottery would be easier for me than obtaining side action, let’s just put it that way.

But let’s say in some bizarro universe, the woman who pushes every one of my buttons throws herself at me, say she’s got 15 minutes to live and wants to get laid one last time, we’re in a locked room with no one else around for miles, and my wife is on a different continent, and I’ve just been injected with shark testosterone and a megadose of Viagra. I can have the most thrilling sexual experience of my life and I’ll be the only person who knows about it and she knows all my turn ons and is using everyone of them to convince me. Can I honestly say in that hypothetical that I wouldn’t compromise my integrity? Could you? I think it’s impossible for even the best intentioned person to say.

So it leads me to the question of if anyone has ever HAD the opportunity to do so, and no matter how tempting it was, managed to do the right thing? If so, tell me about it. Of course, if you were tempted and succumbed to the temptation, I’d love to hear about that too, but I suspect anyone who has cheated, probably isn’t too keen on talking about it. So, can you walk the talk?

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56 Answers

ucme's avatar

Many times. Resisted temptation even though only slight. Too complicated can’t do with fallout no need to stray anyway

Axemusica's avatar

The crazy ex I’ve mentioned numerous times on fluther had been unfaithful quite a few times. I had the chance to ”get back at her” with a beautiful girl one time, who couldn’t have made it more obvious that she wanted me. I turned her down. I think back now, about how many more times my ex fucked me over time and time again and I should have did it. Could have been a life changing point for the better, but ya never know.

dpworkin's avatar

Many, many times. It just doesn’t interest me.

downtide's avatar

Many times. Just wasn’t interested at all.

le_inferno's avatar

Being a college student in a long distance relationship, it’s tough to not cheat. I did once, amidst a period of uncertainty in the relationship. That wasn’t good. Since then, I’ve been in situations where I was intensely pressured to cheat, by very attractive boys at frat houses, but I resisted. I decided to discontinue my visits to frats. It’s just not a good environment for me to be in with a boyfriend hundreds of miles away.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

In the past, I have had more than one opportunity to cheat on a boyfriend. It’s so easy to do and it would be so easy to get away with. However, yes, I am the type of person who turns down these offers. If I wouldn’t want a boyfriend to do it, then I shouldn’t do it, either.

smashbox's avatar

No, I’ve never put myself in a compromising postion, to ever find out.

Pandora's avatar

I’ve been married 28 years, and yes I’ve been hit on several times over the years. Funny enough mostly by married guys and one single guy. But I was always quick to make them understand that whatever their problem, they can put it back in their pants. Some were very attractive but I need substance. And I already have that with my hubby. :)

dalepetrie's avatar

For those who say it just “doesn’t interest” you, are you speaking in general, that infidelity in general doesn’t interest you (which is my point, I’m not interested in infidelity, but I think it’s possible for just about anyone to be met with a level of temptation this is hard to resist), or do you just mean that the opportunities you’ve had specifically just weren’t of interest?

dpworkin's avatar

Oh, sex with someone new and attractive is always of interest to me. But the sequellae are never ever worth it to me. I am far too happy with my sweetie to want to endanger the relationship, or even to hurt her feelings.

HighShaman's avatar

Yes; opportunity has been there before when I was in a relationship etc… BUT; I am NOT a cheat , never have been .. never will be….

I personally believe that a CHEAT is one of the lowest life forms on this earth and aren’t even worthy of wiping my shoes on….

stemnyjones's avatar

Back before I came out as a lesbian, when I was dating men still, I cheated on every boyfriend I had, because I was never satisfied with the relationship and always felt that something was missing.

Since I’ve started dating women, I have never cheated and nor would I ever cheat… even in the worst of situations. I was with a woman for two years and I can count the number of times we had sex on my fingers and toes, but we fought so much that I probably couldn’t count all the times even if I went back and relived it all. A girl I worked with always hit on me and invited me over to her house, etc… and I never once even considered accepting her advances.

AnnieB's avatar

I’ve had several chances….I’d only be letting myself down.

dalepetrie's avatar

Thanks everyone, these are really great, fascinating answers. I’m thrilled with the overall integrity level!

definitive's avatar

Lol a lot of thought went into that question. The social ‘norm’ and general consensus seems to be that we have to live a monogamous life. But I do believe you should never say never because emotions and feelings are not static and who knows what’s going to hit you in the face tomorrow.

Admittedly I’ve had a very brief sexual encounter about a month before I Ieft my estranged husband. I’m so not proud of myself…we were in talks about separating at the time and I was really unsure what choice to make. Anyway my very bad choice at that time made me feel such a bitch and I made my mind up to leave him as he definitely didn’t deserve to be cheated on. The sexual encounter was what it was just sex.

So after gabbling all that I feel that we can’t say for sure we’re not going to cheat…but to continue with an affair and being deceitful is not the answer…respect the one your with I say or if you can’t get out!!

TominLasVegas's avatar

Yes a few times. It isnt worth it.

IBERnineD's avatar

I was in a long distance relationship, and went to hang out with my friend in Pittsburgh. His roommate was a Slovakian hockey player who moved to Pittsburgh to go to grad school and teach Molecular biology. Not only did he have an accent but he was adorable and ripped. Basically a dream guy, (for me at least: I have a thing for accents and hockey players) anywho Jurai was laying it on thick, handing me drinks, and saying things like “Boyfriend not here, he don’t have to know.” And although very tempting, I didn’t let anything happen. It was hard but I was proud of myself in the end.

In the end, the guy I didn’t cheat on ended up cheating on me. What are the odds?

daemonelson's avatar

I’ve had a great many opportunities, never taken them. One which comes to mind was about 3 years ago, rather painful temptation too. The relationship was going nowhere and around 20 opportunities arose all at the same time.

Looking back on that, I don’t think I want to have cheated. But I would have much preferred the situation had I broken up with my then-S/O prior to the occasion.

Oh, well.

Roby's avatar

Actually I have never been propositioned and they are a good chance I wont ever be. So my answer will be no.

StephK's avatar

Like @le_inferno, I too am a college student in a long distance relationship. I’ve been asked a handful of times to go out with other guys (all of them with the complete knowledge that I am in a committed relationship) and have refused each invitation.

At one point I and one of these guys were at a mutual friends’ place watching a movie. Me and the guy were friends at this time. The mutual friend left the room to talk on the phone for a second and the guy bent over and, out of the blue, tried to kiss me. Yes, he was attractive, and yes, there was no way my boyfriend would have found out if we had gone further. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it; I couldn’t even consider the possibility. And frankly, I dropped that friend like a cinderblock. I figured that if he couldn’t respect my relationship, he didn’t respect me as a person.

As a result of this incident I have pretty much stopped hanging out with guys alone. I figure removing myself from situtations that this could happen in is the best course of action. I trust myself, but I don’t trust my judgment in people.

valdasta's avatar

There was a woman working at the same company as I who had her sights fixed on me. She was a model for those truck and car magazines, so she was attractive. She was pretty bold about what she wanted saying stuff like, “I want something, but I can’t have it…because he is married”.

I called my wife from work one day and told her that a woman at work was giving me a problem. My wife said she would pray for me. Two days later, the girl got fired.

maybe my wife met her out back with a tire iron

dpworkin's avatar

Ah, modelicide! The power of prayer!

AnonymousWoman's avatar

@valdasta This is probably bad, but your answer made me laugh. Thank you!

phil196662's avatar

My Wife is OK with those kinds of things However before US I have had been dating several woman at once and had one tell me she never cheated- I said we had not agreed to be exclusive and could not answer.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Back when I was in a monogamous marriage with my first husband, I was about a second away from penetration with and I said no at the last moment…I have regretted that decision since…

phillis's avatar

I’ve never been a cheater, not even during my dating years. Since I got married I have had 4 situations where offers were made that I have not acted upon, because I can’t bear the thought of hurting my husband that badly. His love and trust come from a very vulnerable place inside him, a place that he carved just for me by allowing himself to trust and love so openly. To hurt him like that (not to mention tearing my children’s family apart, destroying them in the process) would make me a monster in his eyes, which I would deserve.

phillis's avatar

Thank you, Phil! It brings tears to my eyes, just to think about it. That kind of pain leaves permanent scars that, in turn, ripple out into society. I can’t hurt anybody that badly.

phil196662's avatar

You situation works for you and preservation is Important- the Wife and I have an Open Marriage with a teen daughter that know all about how to handle it so she’s not in the dark.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Many times I had the opportunity and I was able to say no for around 10 years. As difficult as it was to say no.. it would have been worth it to continue.

Dr_C's avatar

I’ve had more opportunities than i’d like to admit… but I’ve never done it.

MrsDufresne's avatar

I have had several opportunities, but I would never cheat because my Husband is the one I fantasize about. I love him so much it’s insane. lol.

fireinthepriory's avatar

I’ve had one extremely overt opportunity that comes to mind immediately. The guy who was coming on to me (very strongly) also had a girlfriend. For me, it was honestly extremely hard to turn the guy down. The girl I was in a relationship with at the time was quite sexually repressed so I’d been kind of… antsy, shall we say, for a few months prior. It’s not that I didn’t love my girlfriend, because I really did. And I don’t know how upset she even would have been if I had cheated, since I think I was much more invested in the relationship than she was. But I did turn him down.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m not sure I’d be alive if I hadn’t cheated. When I confessed, my wife understood there had to be something wrong with me, and she got me to a psychiatrist, and onto medications. It wasn’t working, and I was spiraling down, and my wife suggested I call the other woman, since she understood depression (whereas my wife did not). The other woman, I believe, saved my life one night. Both of us were this close to suicide. But we talked and the more we talked, the more absurd the notion got. She says I saved her life that night. I think it was the other way around.

But who knows? Cause and effect? Hard to sort out. Turns out there were many other problems I had; and I’m still working on them, and there is a self-destructive streak in me that seems to be related to never having been loved, unconditionally, as a child.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@daloon Wow, that’s some story! You must have an amazing wife to be so understanding!

cold_cut's avatar

i cant even imagine being with someone else in a million yrs forget about sex. Honesty, loyalty and commitment are the most important things to me.

Violet's avatar

I feel stuck up saying this, but yes. Many many times

dalepetrie's avatar

Y’all never cease to amaze me with the quality (and quantity) of your answers. And it just keeps getting better.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater- I just hope @daloon‘s wife wasn’t treated badly over this. I had a boyfriend who cheated on me and I stayed with him and I endured a lot of emotional abuse from other people because of it. There are times when being “so understanding” has its consequences. This is one of those times. The backlash I got from other people for it felt like an insult to not only me, but also to my character and to my judgment. I hope @daloon‘s wife didn’t go through the same thing and had support through it if she did. Even if she didn’t, I still hope she had support. The pain of being cheated on is extremely great, even if the person chooses to stay.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@AnonymousGirl Yes, it is difficult. Lucky for me my wife cheated right back on me so…. it’s actually kind of amazing that we’re still together.

wundayatta's avatar

@AnonymousGirl I don’t believe anyone else knows. Except a few thousand of my closest friends on fluther. She understood it to be a symptom of mental illness, which, while her pain was still enormous, helped her feel, I believe, a little less responsible for it.

I think you raise an interesting point. It’s as if people shun the person who was cheated on as much as the shun the cheater. I’m not sure what the woman is being blamed for here. Was she blamed because she couldn’t hold onto her man? Was it because she didn’t have the moral fiber to ditch the guy after he cheated?

I wonder if this is a kind of subconscious understanding that, while we always lay 100% of the blame on the cheater, the cheatee actually bears a responsibility, too. You can’t cheat if everything is well with your marriage, I don’t believe. At least, I don’t think I could. Although it didn’t help that I was not thinking as I normally would have been,

Still, it alll makes me question myself a lot. I know, intellectually, the theory about what got me to that point. It’s what the therapists say and whatnot. I still am not sure I agree. I think that my views are different from most people’s or I’m deluded, or maybe I’m sociopathic. I feel very bad about hurting my wife, who I love. I don’t feel bad about what I did,.

dpworkin's avatar

@daloon The last thing you are is sociopathic. I think you have a tendency to overdiagnose yourself anyway, but here I will take a stand and argue that you are a deeply empathetic, feeling human being, and there is not a sociopathic bone in your body. Just sayin’.

wundayatta's avatar

Just saying it could be an explanation for this difference in my personality and/or behavior. I could be morally deficient. I mean, I don’t think I am, but there could be things I simply can’t see. My behavior still, I think, could do with an explanation. How could an otherwise caring and empathetic person do something that can hurt so much? Especially when it’s someone he cares about very much. Not to mention my kids, who are also affected and whom I also care about very much. Maybe it’s just garden variety selfishness.

I don’t think it’s any of those things. I think the world is not organized in a way that fits me. I think there is great sadness and great happiness to be experienced. I don’t think I’m exempt from any restrictions that our social nature puts on us, but I have done it, and I am willing to talk about it, and I guess I’m willing to take whatever opprobrium that might be sent in my direction due to this.

dpworkin's avatar

Honestly I think you punish yourself for behavior that is essentially normative. I was sexually unfaithful to two wives. Now that I am in love for the first time in my life, I no longer wish to be unfaithful. But I did a lot of damage previously, and I’m not taking any credit for the way things are now – I just got lucky.

chicadelplaya's avatar

@daloon I agree with @pdworkinyou ARE a deeply empathetic, feeling human being, and there is not a sociopathic bone in your body.

wundayatta's avatar

@chicadelplaya @pdworkin Thanks, you two. It’s nice to have some things to counter that chatter in my head with. ;-)

denidowi's avatar

Many times… too many stories to tell here.

Response moderated
AnonymousWoman's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater It’s nice to hear that it hasn’t broken up your marriage. I tried really hard to make things work with my boyfriend who did this, but we’re not even together anymore. It’s like all that effort was for nothing. I hope he’s happy. I understand why he cheated and that helped me make sense out of the situation. Now he just ignores me, but I wish we could at least still be friends.

@daloon I’m happy to hear that your wife is so understanding. It sounds like she really cares about you. :) It doesn’t make you a bad person if you cheated. You made a mistake. You’re human. While these things don’t change what you did, you can’t change your past. Therefore, it ends up mattering what you learned from it and how you treat the person you are with now and what’s going on there. Hopefully there’s open communication as well.

I think that not having open communication was one of the reasons my last ex-boyfriend cheated on me. He wasn’t really honest about his feelings to me. I felt really disconnected from him. He wasn’t “sharing” in the emotional aspect of the relationship. It made it hard to feel close to him, so it pushed me further away. He’d be closer to his friends, even though he said he loved me more. It was like I didn’t even belong. It was like I was just there, in the background. Meanwhile, he’s feeling like I don’t care about him and like I’m only with him because I want a boyfriend. He doesn’t tell me these things until it’s too late. I never even got the chance to comfort him about any of that before he cheated because he never voiced his concerns to me about those things until much, much later on.

I think that the “cheater” is more shunned and the person who was “cheated on” is more pitied. I didn’t need or want pity. I wanted so badly to understand why. I didn’t know who I could talk to, so I talked to whoever. I was so mad, I didn’t know who to trust. You see, I’d found out by myself. I’d noticed changes in his behaviour and I’d noticed that some of the people around me were acting really strange. I ended up coming up with the only thing that made sense to me. At least one person told me it’s my fault he cheated because I wasn’t giving him sex. (It’s true, I wasn’t). The girl he cheated with apparently went around telling people if I was really a good girlfriend, I would “please my man”. A lot of the people who “lost respect for me” or whatever, though, lost it because I didn’t dump him after I found out. Apparently that means I did not care about my “relationship with him”. Apparently that means I have a “low self-esteem” and felt that I “couldn’t do any better”. I’d be called “stupid”, “naive”, and so on. It was like I was someone who DESERVED to be felt sorry for. I reasoned it out in my head that yes, he may have cheated on me, but I already knew he was a highly sexual person. I wasn’t giving him what he needed in a relationship. He had waited over a year. But no. Apparently he’s still a “scumbag” who “doesn’t deserve me”. Even he told me I deserved better. That’s really sad. I loved him. I didn’t want to “do better” or “meet someone better”. It’s like people expect you to just trash your whole history as if none of it existed if you were cheated on, as if that person was just a piece of garbage to you from the start. What they don’t account for is the time invested in the relationship, the feelings for the person, and so on. They don’t seem to understand that it’s possible to be happy with someone who cheated on you and that you don’t truly know what you’d do in the situation until you’re in it yourself. Before? No question! Of course I’d dump someone who cheated on me! Then, it happened to me. Everything changed. He’s not this bad guy they made him out to be. He messed up, learned his lesson, and stopped it on his own, and didn’t tell me about it because he was “afraid to lose me”. This was his secret that he intended to take to the grave with him. When I look back, I’d noticed that he was trying extra hard to make our relationship work…and he seemed to be putting more effort into it than before. He also seemed to feel incredibly guilty about something (which I’d found out what that was about later). So yeah. I believed his apology. I was hanging out with him at a Tim Hortons once and he showed me how to use his laptop and phone and all that just in case I was ever suspicious. He also cut ties with the girl, even though he did not have to. Sometimes I wish he didn’t dump me for a final time as I really miss him, but maybe it’s for the best.

I felt that I did bear a responsibility because I didn’t give him what he needed in a relationship. I felt in a way like it was my fault he cheated on me, no matter how much he’d try to reassure me that it wasn’t…and that he was stupid…and that he was sorry. It didn’t help. I still felt I was to blame. It was easier to put the blame on myself then because I wanted to believe the girl he cheated with really was sorry (so I tried to be friends with her again more than once) and I wanted to believe he was a good guy. In his case, I actually do think he “learned his lesson”. I also learned a lot, too, from this experience. The “cheater” isn’t the only one who has a lesson to learn. That’s important to note. (I put quotes around the word “cheater” because I think it’s unfair to label people like this for life. I mean, what happens if the person really did stop cheating, and it’s 30 years down the road? Is he or she STILL a ‘cheater’? Do you call someone a liar just because he or she has lied once or twice? Why must we label people bad things? Is it to feel better about ourselves, so that we can convince ourselves that we’re not “that bad”?)

From the way you’re talking, I don’t think you’re sociopathic at all. It sounds more to me like you’re an honest person who is honest about your feelings.

Anyway, this may be long, but I hope it was at least worth reading.

Response moderated
liliesndaisies's avatar

I’m not married but i had a bf for a year and a half. When i was with him i had two chances with other men who asked me to be with them but of course i turned them down.

Only to find out at the end my ex cheated on me half of the time we were together.

wundayatta's avatar

That’s very interesting, @AnonymousGirl. I am finding it very difficult to stop my self-destructive behavior. I, too, tried extra hard to work on my marriage when I was also establishing relationships with people online. I’ve learned lately that this is a common pattern of behavior called love addiction. I was seeking the high that falling in love gave me because it seemed like it could fill a spot in me that I was desperate to fill.

It couldn’t, of course, fill that spot. I’m trying to stop seeking out that drug (love). But I’m taking it wundayatta time. Just today, I will not look for my high. Just for today, I will do my best to focus on my marriage. Just for today I will not get all anxious.

All addictions are about covering over some pain, and my pain is that I don’t believe anyone really loves me, nor that I am lovable. However, I am the only one who can change that idea. I am the only one who can feel the love from people who love me. But what is hardest is finding something that actually will fill that spot, and trying not to give in to the need that is so strong. I don’t know where that thing comes from, although I have felt it. It seems to magically arrive and depart.

john65pennington's avatar

Being in a police uniform for many years, i have had every opportunity in the world to cheat on my wife, BUT i never did and never have.

Aster's avatar

Pretty frequently 100 yrs ago.

Aster's avatar

But I did nothing. No Way.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

Well the other question said specifically spouse. I have never cheated on a spouse or a man I considered to be my spouse beyond just dating. IE Common law more than 5 years yadda yadda yadda.


If we’re talking S/O yes, I did cheat once… But I was very carefull to follow HIS rules for cheating. I started a bull$hit argument, about some random nonsense I really didn’t even care about, and waited for him to get so completely aggrevated with me that HE called a break… and then I went out with a really hot guy that was persuing me that my “Loyalty” forbid me from following through with.

And when I was done, I initiated the make-up.

He taught me everything he knew. Only difference is… I didn’t like it much because I actually have a soul.

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