When you’re learning to drive, you typically learn about all of the strange rules of the road. Things like who has the right of way when coming to a four-way intersection make most people scratch their heads. We just accept the rules as they are stated even though some seem illogical. These rules weren’t made to confuse you, they were made to help judges determine who is at fault for an accident quickly. When a driving rule is clear, there is barely a need for a court case. The rule takes the decision-making process away from people because it’s so clear.
Over the years, I’ve developed several rules regarding dating. The rules are there not to be petty or argumentative. Instead, the rules are there to remind me about what I deserve. It’s easy to forget what you deserve and how you deserve to be treated when in the heat of the moment. My rules are all very simple and very black-and-white. The most important rule: cheating means it’s over.
I always said that if a girl cheated on me, I would walk away and never look back. Then, one day, it happened. She said, “I’ve been seeing someone else.” My response? “Get out.” I know I deserve someone who won’t cheat on me because I would never cheat. I don’t want to hear stories about how it didn’t mean anything, or how she felt torn with feelings for both of us. At that point, it doesn’t matter. If I want you and only you, then I expect you want me and only me. Once that bubble has been burst, there’s nothing left.
What makes a good relationship is balance. When two people have equal standing in the relationship, the relationship is healthy. The relationship can quickly turn unhealthy when an imbalance exists. When one person in a relationship cheats, the balance of power has shifted. The cheating partner may want to come back, and the one who didn’t may accept that, but the relationship will never be the same. The partner who didn’t cheat now has all the power as the other works to “make it up to them.” The cheating partner puts more effort into the relationship and the non-cheating partner has to do less. If at some point in the future the cheating partner becomes upset with the other, it’s difficult to bring up the issue as it’s quite likely that the infidelity will be brought into the conversation. “At least I didn’t cheat.”
Thus my rule: cheating means it’s over. There is no excuse for cheating, no way to heal the hurt that it causes. I don’t want an unbalanced relationship. I don’t want a girlfriend that I can’t trust. For me, as soon as I find out she’s cheating, there is nothing left to say. By making the choice to cheat, you have told me in no uncertain terms that I don’t mean enough to you. I accept that. Now get out.