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Cheat Codes (Of Conduct In A Relationship)

As I was scrolling through a million pics of KarJenner look-alikes on Tumblr one evening, I decided to sift through my drafts — these posts were most likely created at 3am on my bed in my college apartment, as I questioned my life, but most importantly, asked myself constantly, “Y DON’T BOYZ LYKE ME?”

Then, I found this:

“What are your feelings towards dating someone who has cheated on you in the past (not on you)? If you’ve cheated in a past relationship, is it your obligation to tell your new partner? What are your feelings towards dating someone new who knows that you’ve cheated in the past? What would you do or say (if anything) to your person about your past?

(don’t forget you have 2 people who answered this question in your inbox + potential blog post)”

(lol to this beautiful artwork that accompanies this throwback mix)

Having stumbled onto this post more than 2 years later, I reminisced, attempting to identify the life events that might have sparked this rather thick and loaded string of questions. I stopped myself though, because the negativity that incited this doesn’t really deserve attention from #vivalastina2k16, so instead, I decided to pose this question among my friends and followers today:

What is the Code of Conduct in regards to cheating? Are there rules on cheating/having been cheated on that follow you into your next relationship?

Here are the results:

“Like they say, “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” People who tend to cheat are more likely to do it again, until they meet someone who totally flips their world upside down. Of course, I’m gonna be extra cautious if I knew someone cheated before… I guess I would be driven to know more about the circumstances – what was going on in that relationship, how old they were, any relationships after that. Ppl can change but.. idk I hate cheaters, so they probably wouldn’t make it that far with me tbh.” –Tumblr Anon 1

“Sometimes the biggest wave barely touches the shore. Sometimes people change when they finally get to you. What may have been huge before may really be kinda small (TWSS lol). You either paddle out and catch a new wave of experiences or just sit and watch from the sand til you’re ready. It’s really up to you.”Tumblr Anon 2

“As someone who has been cheated on, I feel like I deserve to know, but it’s something I shouldn’t hold against my partner, but still be very conscious of!”IG Anon 1 

“I do think it’s an obligation required of a new partner in order to have a healthy relationship built on trust. This being said, I must tell you, Viva, I’ve cheated in the past and I’m sorry.”IG Anon 2

“Hmm honestly I wouldn’t tell them. If they asked, then yes, I would be honest. But if I just met someone, I wouldn’t want to scare them away. That is up to them to decide. But everyone makes mistakes. The difference is whether or not they learn.”IG Anon 3

Yes, I think people should. I did and things were ok real quick. I got drunk as f one night and hooked up with one of her friends. They didn’t have a good relationship before this all happened, but I had to tell my gf the truth because either way, the truth was going to get out. I told her in person, and she cried, but she still liked me enough to have break up sex. It was my roughest time in college.”FB Anon 1

It’s not your obligation to volunteer that information. It’s your obligation to be truthful if/when asked.”FB Anon 2 

“If that is info that must be shared, then people should also have to tell their SO’s if they’ve been cheated on before, because both pieces of information have their own connotations.”

Oooh, can you divulge a little more on each piece of info having their own connotations? What information can be important from sharing both sides of the cheating argument?

“Sure.

People who have been cheated on tend to hold that as baggage with them in the following relationships – they’re either less trusting or more in need of validation. Cheaters are seen as inconsiderate or “heartless” (I can’t find the adjective I’m looking for).

Regardless, I feel like both pieces of information force people to think a certain way about you, despite the story or explanation.

Personally, I don’t think you have an obligation to tell either piece of information. Your relationship history does not need to follow you into the next relationship.”@itscheyslife

“Is it an obligation? Depends whether the interest in each other is real. Genuine attraction leads to a more open and honest relationship. I’ve cheated on one ex and told her about it. It was during my young days. I’m approaching the age bracket where life suddenly matters, and where every choice made is heavily scrutinized by the self.”@karaheng

“As a female, I believe that a guy and girl should be 100% honest with each other about anything big in their past and present — it sucks to be the last to know, or to even hear about your significant other from someone else. I know some of my guy friends get offended when they start dating girls and the girls probe about their past dating lives — but why? Your past doesn’t define you, sure, but I think your past is a window for another person to look through and come to a deeper understanding on who you are. Your past decisions have inevitably shaped who you have become.”@stephsong_

 I think if they ask, you should tell them, but if it doesn’t come up and the relationship isn’t that serious yet, then no. In general though, I think your partner has the right to know.”@gabshamilton

“I say yes, it is an obligation because of honesty. Cheating conditions you to hide things really well, and the honesty and vulnerability behind exposing that quality to your partner often times strengthens the relationship. I believe in complete honesty and openness with one another.” @braindestroyer

What I noticed in almost all responses, including my own, was the strong emphasis on the past’s circumstances:

What led A to cheat on B?
Why did B get cheated on, in retrospect?
How long were A and B together?
Was A sorry? 
Was B sorry? 

And then there were questions on current circumstances with the new relationship at hand:

How long has C been with D?
Are C and D just dating for funsies?
Is this anything serious?

Circumstances are a way for us to humanize the situation; we’re trying our best to give others the benefit of the doubt, and that’s never a bad thing. Giving someone a chance to explain him/herself in any situation shows patience and maturity, but also keep in mind that some mother fuckers don’t deserve a second (or third) chance.

What I also noticed was that many who have not been cheated on (lucky you), can only empathize so much, and that empathy is driven by logic and reason. I felt the same way; of course it sounds illogical and immoral to cheat on someone, and to withhold that information in a new chapter of his/her life is cowardly and absurd. However, after experiencing your own pain, your own insecurities, and your own self doubt when actually set into the situation, you’ll begin to find it difficult to grasp for those feelings of logic and reason that were once so easily within reach.

Finally, I noticed the dichotomy between your past and whether it may or may not define your present. Some believed that the past is just the past, while others expressed the same notion as I; your past may not represent who you are today, but your past actions definitely influenced WHY you are who you are today. In this light though, we must realize that we can not blame our past pains for our present situations; just because you’ve been cheated on before does not mean that everyone will cheat on you – unless you date some really shitty people (which is totally possible).

In conclusion,

giphy

Let’s make this fun and difficult – black and white.
I’ll even make it a little more specific so you can’t cop out with the “circumstantial” thing.
IT’S LIFE OR DEATH.
YES OR NO.
READY?

 Do you agree with any of the comments above? Disagree? Hate that I didn’t give you more options in the poll? Love dipping fries in ice cream? Leave a comment below and tell me all about it.

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get vulnerable.