Is Cheating Justifiable?

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While most relationships end before getting to this stage, many couples find themselves facing the temptation of adultery. I believe everyone has had adulterous thoughts cross their mind at one time or another when faced with either a highly attractive coworker or someone who keeps up pursuit outside of the work place. But there are other situations that occur within your relationship that could provoke the compulsive behavior to go out looking for sex like a drug addict looking to score.

When I was 17 years old I had gotten myself into a long distance relationship where he lived in Northern California while I resided in Los Angeles. He would drive down every weekend to visit, so our sexual  needs were being met, and I never thought about cheating. He was very sweet and would compliment me about my physical and intellectual beauty time and time again. He also made it very clear how worried he was about that because I reminded him of several of his exes, all of whom cheated on him.

After dating for a while he started exhibiting the behaviors of someone who was cheating – visiting less and being overly protective about me and my male friends. It turned out that he was actually back on his drug of choice, heroin, and exhibiting the behaviors of an addict. At this point in time he didn’t know I knew he was using but he sure as hell could tell that I had become unhappy, so he threatened me with those thirteen ugly words, “If you break up with me I am going to start using again.” Those words buried themselves under my skin like the needles he was using for his own destruction.

Our relationship was a ticking time bomb and I felt psychologically cornered and trapped by what he said. I came to the conclusion that the only way out of the relationship was to make him break up with me, so I cheated on him, and less than 3 days later I was off the hook with the relationship.

Was I justified to cheat? Most would say no. Most would say that you can always just leave, but it’s never that simple dealing with high stress emotional games. In my opinion there are situations that justify cheating based on self-preservation. It is one thing to fall out of love with someone and stick around until the bitter end, but it is another to be threatened with a potential life or death situation and be faced with potentially severe consequences. There is a very big gray area when it comes to how relationships should be, especially with the media’s contradictory depictions of acceptable behavior. On one hand there are endless movies and television shows about cheating spouses who are punished for their actions, and on the other hand there is a voyeuristic glamorization of promiscuous behavior that can’t be denied.

The Science Of Cheating


With both lust and love, a highly addictive chemical called ‘Dopamine’ is released within the brain causing the receptor of the chemicals to look for more thrills. Similar effects can be produced from chocolate, and illegal drugs like heroin. Individuals with preexisting chemical imbalances may experience heightened social barriers at the same time as experiencing hyper-sexuality as the result of extra amounts of Dopamine being produced. Recently I have come to a realization that relationships won’t always have the ‘butterflies in your tummy’ vibe years down the road, once these chemicals have stopped releasing at the sight of that special someone. But a deeper bond is created that outlasts the Dopamine. I believe you should be with someone who can make you smile for the rest of your life, or at least for the duration of the relationship. If you aren’t happy, then there’s something to fix, or a reason to leave.

Is There A Good Time To Cheat?

While some people place a high value on monogamous commitment right from the beginning, others need to warm up to the idea of being with just one person, and allow themselves to cheat early on in the relationship. They justify their behavior by reasoning that they don’t feel the strong connection yet or the big “L” word. Others justify their actions with the levels of alcohol in their system.  Or sometimes a couple will agree to ‘keep their options open’ because they both feel things aren’t serious enough yet. The challenge in this complicated situation is to manage the emotional attachment that each person feels for the other. What happens when that ‘option’ sleeps over at your boyfriend’s house? Are you still okay with it?

In another scenario, a person might feel that a relationship is coming to an end, or that a particular fight has resulted in irreconcilable differences, yet this finality has yet to be articulated. That person may imagine that he or she is not cheating because the relationship has ended in their mind, but if the end hasn’t been spoken, is it cheating?  In order to avoid these potentially lethal occurrences from either your sex partner or significant other, it is important to keep communication open so that each of you are on the same page before misinformation poisons the fun.

Types Of Cheating

Emotional Cheating

The most common form of cheating is physical. You or your lover betray the sanctity of the commitment by choosing to have some sort of physical relations with another individual. But there is a less common version of cheating that is harder to detect – emotional cheating. Emotional cheating usually stems from the individual’s feeling of inadequacy in a relationship. It can manifest itself in simple ways like flirting, or more complicated ways like in-depth conversations online and / or gift exchanging.  Two major ways to recognize cheating behavior are noticing standoffish behavior in your partner when it comes to being intimate with you, or out of the blue accusations that you yourself are cheating. The latter is a common reaction to the guilt and tension caused by keeping secrets and hiding behavior.



Confronting a loved one about their cheating ways isn’t easy. The first step before you even consider confronting someone about their affair is to make sure all the evidence adds up to you being  100% sure they are being unfaithful. The next step is to make sure you have a clear and rational train of thought. This isn’t like the movies where you can blow your lid and burn down the house. This is real life and should be handled with care. Your emotional state of mind may be very fragile, so be sure to choose the timing accordingly, along with a secluded place out of the public eye where you can speak your mind instead of worrying about embarrassing both of you. Regardless of the evidence, you should always keep an open mind and listen to their defense. Keeping the lines of communication open this way will ensure that you can logically assess the situation at hand and come to a reasonable conclusion.

Depending on how long you have been together and what assets you hold together as a couple, you should be willing to consider a second chance if asked for, depending on the severity of the situation of course. Some people feel the need to have the stability of a relationship whether they are happy or not, or whether or not they can live with the knowledge that their partner cheated. This is not a solid basis from which to grow a stronger relationship after cheating. If you’re only staying together because you don’t want to be alone, that’s not good enough to support a successful future together.

Everyone is different, and trust can be rebuilt more easily by some than others. Whether you will reconcile or not is up to you to decide on an individual basis. You know what you can live with. If your significant other cheated on you, would you be able to turn the other cheek and forgive them? Would you accept the fact they cheated based on something that was at fault in your relationship? And if it was a fault with the relationship would you find their actions justified in any way, shape or form? You absolutely have to be truthful with yourself to make the right choice.

Boston based writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Founder & Editor in Chief of and