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Why He Settled For The 20: Entering the Mind of a Cheater

Why He Settled For The 20: Entering the Mind of a Cheater

Life is hard and relationships make it harder. If life tends to feel as if we were walking through Jurassic Park, relationships get downright horrid and nightmarish. But I firmly trust that going past through this only goes in two ways, the good road and the bad road. And cheating only fits into one category.

I never knew what it feels like to be cheated on although I have had a taste of platonic betrayal. Being the forgiving person that I am, I always thought that this was something too petty for me to prolong accepting an apology. Especially when it comes from someone close to me. I cannot speak for everyone else who experienced the most painful forms of betrayals in their lives. This I cannot even imagine what it feels like. As a result, people would try to appease and cheer up the grieving party.

But who would dare to sympathize with the cheater?

Granted there are hundreds of reasons people give to justify their decisions to cheat. According to a friend who not only saw cheating within her family but experienced to be cheated on first-hand, these reasons are anchored by a purpose. For her, there is no reason in this world to justify cheating. It is a breach of contract, trust if you may. It is an invalidation of one’s willingness to give out confidence in another. A relationship was supposed to be a safe zone for her. And it is a great disappointment if someone who was once her sanctuary, betrayed her. If her sentiments could be summed up into an analogy, it would go like this:

Cheating : Unforgivable :: Cheater : Irredeemable.

While people might say that cheaters already know when they are on the verge of cheating, it was a whole different story from his perspective. He emphasized that his actions were unplanned. He implied that if the third party did not come into the picture, he would not even think of betraying his partner.

It was something that was beyond his control, he said. He knew that it was wrong. But he was longing for something more from the relationship, more than just sex, contrary to popular belief. In his defense, his relationship made him hold back his true self. He tried to pretend to be someone he’s not. Unfortunately for him, he felt somewhat emasculated at the thought of having someone so perfect would end up with him. Thus, he went on to continue the relationship with having second thoughts, self-doubt, and decreased self-esteem. All these factors were the driving force to what would become his greatest downfall.

The 80/20 Theory

The 80/20 theory much likely describes this whole narrative. It is said, mostly discussed on internet forums, that most cheating occurs based on the 80/20 theory. The 80 percent of the equation represents the ideals of a person present in his partner. While it is close to being almost perfect, the person will still seek for the remaining 20 percent, and most of the time, this 20 percent belongs to another person. The love he felt for the 80 was too weak to overcome the great longing he felt for the 20, so that is why he chose the latter.

He is aware that society sees people like him in a bad light. Although he understands, he thinks that people must first make an effort to know what the reasons behind this action are. According to him, people might not even bother to know that it is equally painful for him as it is for his partner. Sacrifices were made, opportunities were wasted, relationships with external parties were put at risk, and reputations were tainted. It was a losing situation for everybody. Cheating is like a building on fire without a fire exit, everyone takes the long way out. And most often, you lose people in the process.

Obviously, like any other conscientious human being, guilt was a part of this process. Even before all hell broke loose (when the cheating rumors about him spread like wildfire), shame played a huge role in his succeeding life events.

A hope for redemption

After three broken hearts and wounds wide open gushing like a fire hydrant, he decided to seek refuge in Cebu, almost 500 kilometers away from Naga, his hometown, away from the crime scene, and far from the judging looks he received everywhere he went.

Debunking what people assumed, he clarified that what he did was not an act of cowardice but an act of giving time and space to heal for everybody. He did mention that he and his ex-girlfriend talked briefly before they separated, slipping in whispered apologies. Even he thought that it was still not the whole, grandiose apology she deserved.

He believes in salvation for sinners like him, that nothing in life is beyond redemption, for every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. And he hopes that his future holds a life worth giving up the 20 to settle for the 80.

Note: Names of the sources are withheld for obvious reasons. The story in this article is real. And this is a not-so-gentle reminder that cheating is not and will not ever be tolerated in this time and age.

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