Cheating in relationship, is it in the Jeans?
by Dr Anthony D. Cliffe
It’s been quite a while since I last wrote a blog that was solely dedicated to relationships or my usual non-existent love life. The last proper one was probably in 2015 An honest look at why I’m single or one of my favourite blogs of all time the one about the perfect girl which can be read here What would the perfect girl be if she existed?. They’re often some of my favourite ones because there is so much scope for in-depth discussion or plenty of avenues for humour and stories.
I’ve actually been meaning to do one of these for quite a while, and that’s due to different things that have happened over the past 6 months with friends, which often prompted me to get down and write about it. The main thing is, as much as I love my girl mates, they have made some truly bad decisions lately :P. Or at least from my part what I see as bad decisions. Decisions that I completely disagree with but as friends you fully support, albeit reluctantly at times. That topic is cheating in a relationship. I was going to dedicate an entire blog to the subject as I see it as far more common from my girl mates and never from my guy mates, so it got me thinking why that is. While I morally disagree with their actions, I fully understand their reasoning for doing so. Sadly their reasons are justifiable something I never thought I’d agree with and sadly, each one of them has the exact same reasons. Which, while not perfect from the girls, it means guys are not doing what they should be doing in relationships. Which is a worrying trend and precedent for relationships in general. Which is something I’ll outline in more depth in this blog.
A few years ago in a Valentine’s Day blog, I compared two different types of love with food (naturally love and food are the same thing with me!) Asda smart price vs M&S food. I’ve now updated such analogy with Primark Jeans and Levi’s. All will become clear, I assure you. However, I didn’t go ahead with writing a full blog on it because I wanted something a little lighter and happier slant on love than what that would be. As my parents have just celebrated 30 years since being married and my best guy friend is getting married this weekend, I thought it was a good time to mix the light and the dark side of relationships. Starting in the dark and working towards the light…then throwing my somewhere in between love life in there too! (Edit: But while planning this blog I realised that I may not have time to write about the wedding and the anniversary. Maybe next time!)
Disagree with the action, agree with the justification
So to the dark side first. Everything I’m about to say has been said to them so now I’m just getting my thoughts out there to a wider audience. One time it happens doesn’t need to be talked about but four times needs addressing ha-ha! So let me put my stall out and my stance on cheating before I go into anything in more depth. I fully and wholeheartedly disagree with it. I’ve been the unfortunate victim of cheating in a relationship and let me tell you it sucks. It’s one thing for someone to tell you that they don’t love you anymore, but at least they had the respect for you, to tell you. So while they may break your heart for a time, at least you’re not in a relationship in denial. When someone cheats on you, it’s basically someone saying you’re not even worth that respect. Sure, you could be the most horrible boyfriend in the world, but they still deserve a “this isn’t working” rather than cheating. If you’re unhappy in a relationship, then leave before you do something with another person. We’re humans and evolution has programmed us to procreate, so it’s natural to be attracted to other people at times in a relationship. You’re allowed to window shop, but it’s important that you don’t enter the said shop.
I get it though, it can be daunting breaking someone’s heart but ultimately if you’re not happy, then you’re only cheating both of you out of a love life that you deserve. If you’re the one doing the breaking up then sure it’s going to hurt, you’re going to be the bad guy for a time, but ultimately it’s the right decision for you and both of you. If you’re the one who has been broken up with, sure it’s going to absolutely kill you but once the heart has healed you see it as a blessing in disguise. I hold 100% respect to an ex who told me they didn’t love me anymore. That took an immense amount of courage to do that, so I respected her for that. Let’s face it too, people fall out of love. It happens. People get with each other and then circumstances change, they change, and that’s all part of growing up and moving forward. These things happen, it’s not a bad reflection on either of you. Sometimes relationships just fail, and that’s okay. Take away the lessons from it and move forward. It is a bad reflection on you; however, if you then cheat in that relationship while lying to each other that you love each other when you don’t. They deserve better and quite frankly you’re better than that.
So yeah, I’m fully against cheating in a relationship and at no point in any of the conversations I’ve had with these people do I agree with what they have done. Yet, I can 100% understand their reasoning’s and their attempts at justifying their position of why they have cheated. That’s where I’ve had the moral dilemma of disagreeing with the action but understanding the reasoning behind said action.
Out of the four close girl mates that have done the cheating, each time I sat and listened to their story of events and their reasoning, it was as if the conversation was recorded and repeated. Just change the names and that would be it. The circumstances and reasons were exactly the same. These four girls are vastly different in personality, jobs, morals, and outlooks on life. Their only common factor is they’re friends with me. So, if they all have the same reasons for cheating, then that’s clearly an issue that needs to be addressed.
So what were their reasons I hear you ask? It was a variation on a lack of affection and support from their boyfriends. Now I’m not talking about someone missing an event or not backing them up in an argument. I’m talking about no flowers, no hugs, and no simple things like taking an interest in their family or how their partner’s day has been and just a general lack of being a good boyfriend. That’s the issue. Too many times have I seen guys who treat their girlfriends as if they were there guy mates, devoid of emotion or at least insensitive to such things. Sure, it’s good to be in a relationship which isn’t smothered by romance, and it’s healthy to have a laugh and goof around like best mates, and it’s vital you have your own pursuits outside of the relationship. Yet when no affection or support is offered, she will look elsewhere. That’s essentially what happened. Being in a relationship devoid of that and as soon as someone comes along who offers that person that love, support and affection, it’s not hard to see why it happened.
That frustrates me, a lot. It seems guys have forgotten the fundamentals of relationships and being a good boyfriend. Affection and intimacy is a big part of a relationship. Now I’m not saying you have to buy gifts and flowers every week for them, but once in awhile, so they know they’re appreciated, or even if you just tell them, that goes a long way. I’m not going to outline the fundamentals of good relationship etiquette, go google the millions of blogs and magazine articles which already outline the obvious. Yet, some things aren’t as obvious that I feel if guys did more, maybe their girlfriends would be less inclined to look elsewhere for affection.
Take an active interest in their lives:
Yeah, some of her hobbies may be about as exciting as watching paint dry and maybe she works in a field that you have absolutely no clue about. Does it hurt to ask about it or try to take an interest in it? For example my ex, I knew nothing about horses, nor do I really care about showjumping or take any interest in horses outside of betting on them on the Grand National weekend. I knew it was important to her and a big part of her life, so I tried to take an interest in it and let her explain things and occasionally go along to her events. Would I choose to sit on a cold field watching people jump horses, to which I’m always allergic to? No. Did I do it anyway because I wanted to support her? Absolutely. Likewise, she would humour me by asking about cycling or aviation. It’s about sharing in those new experiences. It’s important, especially if they work in a tough job or sector that even if you have no clue about it, just ask her anyway. 99% of what she says may go over your head, but she’ll appreciate you asking. After all, you’re there to support them.
You won’t always agree with somethings they said or do, and that’s fine because we’re not all the same and debate and argument in relationships is a healthy thing. However, they need to know that no matter what, you have their back. Like for example with those girl mates, I fully disagree with their actions, I told them that and the reasons why but ultimately I still said: “I stand by your decisions and I’m here to support you”. That’s just what a good friend and what a good boyfriend should do. You’re meant to be a team! You need to have each other’s back. I’d hate to be in a relationship and not feel like I had the backing of my girlfriend.
I’m not talking about serenading her with an 80’s power Ballard while sitting on a sit-on lawnmower outside her window (totally on the list to do one day :D) or writing a love poem to her. I am talking however about show her you care. Tell her you love her once in a while. I’m an emotional robot for a lot of things in life, and that’s why many people come to me for advice, especially in terms of relationships because I can easily switch off my emotions to give objective and logical advice. In a relationship, you just can’t be that person. I can control my emotions because I’m a deeply emotional vibrant person. I’m sure close friends and past girlfriends have witnessed how deep my love and affection goes. Even if you’re an emotional robot, you need to show some sort of feelings towards them; otherwise, you’re just friends or just two people who occupy the same space. Compliments are always a big boost too. Even the girls who say they hate them, they’re lying. Everyone loves a good boost in confidence. Yet, compliments from most guys on their girl’s appearance are quite shallow and usually only used in the bedroom. Women are so much more than just appearance. Maybe next time compliment her on her personality, how driven or caring she is, or how intelligent she is. Show her you love her for more than just her looks because we’re all so much more than that.
But I guess this all comes down from both sides as a lack of effort and back to that old analogy of Asda smart price food vs M&S. So let me update you with how I view relationships at the moment at least in this context.
Primark Jeans v Levi’s Analogy
Primark Jeans are basically what ‘relationships’ have become lately. A quick, comfy convenience that doesn’t require much effort or thought, lasts a few weeks to a few months, and once it’s broken, it is easy to replace. Like, Primark Jeans are very common, relatively cheap and do their job but within a few weeks to a month they shrink or come apart at the sides. There is no point working to repair them because you can just pick up another pair and you were never invested in them anyway from the start. Contrast that to a £100 pair of Levi jeans. You invest a substantial amount of money into them and usually as you’re spending that much you’ll spend your time finding the right pair before committing to the purchase. Not only do they last far longer, if they were to become damaged, you’ll work to get them repaired. Does that make sense? I’m definitely a Levi jeans kind of’ guy. I’d rather invest more and have it for longer than go through 10 pairs of Primark jeans. I just wish more people would be Levi kinda’ of people.
I guess to conclude this part of the blog, while your reasons for your actions may be justifiable and if you feel yourself going there, end it with your boyfriend or girlfriend first before you go there. It’s not healthy for either of you, and if you continue to have your cake and eat it too, karma will come back to make you choke on it. Do the right thing. Likewise, guys, step up. If a girl loves you make an effort to support and love them back. This isn’t a one-way street, you’re a team and teams require teamwork and effort from both.
So I was going to now go into the light and talk about my Mum and Dad’s 30th wedding anniversary and my best guy friend’s wedding coming up at the weekend, but I realise that this blog has gone on much longer than I thought it would! I guess I had a lot to say, so I’ll save that for another blog. I will, however, now move into a more positive light and move towards talking about my still pretty much non-existent love life but why I hold great hope for the future. A bit lighter to end!
So ironically not a great deal has changed since those last blogs, and I’m still waiting for my ginger, cycling pilot baker girlfriend to appear. But alas it isn’t all that bad! I think I’m the happiest I have been since 2011/12, and I’m just enjoying life and travels and friendships. It’s only been maybe the past few months where I’ve actually considered and entertained the thought of being in a relationship again. Everything is now set up for one, and I know emotionally and physically, I can give time and effort into investing myself back into a relationship again. Of course, that’s easier said than done. You all know how I have that tick box system in my head and how despite having way too much self-confidence there is still the crippling fear of being hurt again and not living up to expectations in a relationship. I guess that’s normal, but I am ready to give up my selfish ways and compromise and share my life with someone in a way that is more than I do with friends. Maybe I have the courage to take that leap of faith again, but it has to be with the right person. The beauty of being single and loving yourself for who you are is that you know exactly what you want and what you need. I have felt really positive lately about the future outlook to my love life, which has been dormant for far too long! I feel like good things are on the way, and I’m excited about that adventure again as if the PhD and starting my own business wasn’t enough of an adventure already!
Someone for the first time since my ex which is what four maybe even five years ago now has passed the Tony test, not that they know that of course! I do like to keep things to myself and my cards close to my chest. That over-complicated tick box exercise, which is my defence mechanism. That’s a big thing for them and for me because it literally never hardly happens! Whether or not that will ever develop into anything in the future is not up to me to write, I’m sure the directors of the universe have plans to either develop it or not but I really don’t care. What will be will be and I’m not even giving it any thought!
However, in the meantime, I really am enjoying the PhD life and the friendships that come with that. It’s one thing to be single for a long time and while that’s great for exploring yourself and being 100% happy with who you are, it actually makes you really appreciate the journey you’re on and where you’ve been. You also really appreciate those in your life as friends, both old and new. Every day lately has been an absolute laugh, and that’s mostly down to old but also new friends, especially those from the PhD gang. Memes, gifs, puns and jokes galore along with the beauty of getting to know them in more depth! I’m loving it and I’m really grateful for where I am in my life right now.
Before I wrote this blog, I went through some of my old ones trying to find my last dedicated relationship blog and came across one of those blogs I wrote just after that breakup. It amazes me to see how far I’ve come since then and that it truly was a blessing in disguise. The things I’ve achieved and who I’ve become since then actually makes me proud to see who I am today. So, I guess to round this blog off on a positive note. If you are that girl, who is thinking about breaking it off with their boyfriend because they are either not affectionate, caring or you’ve just run out of love for them. Set them free. It’s their choice to be another Primark Jean for another woman, but maybe you might set them free to become a Levi. They may just thank you. Don’t try to wear two jeans at once because no one wins then. With that in mind, maybe you’ll realise that while shopping in Primark has its perks, you might dip into your pocket and invest in a pair of single Levi jeans. We do exist 😀
Until next time,