Emailing my euphemism last night, gmail showed me this ad:

Is He A Cheater?
1) Search His Email Address Fast.
2) See Hidden Pics & Profiles Now!

I’ve written an entire post about jealousy and any number of posts about attachment, including attachment styles, stages of attachment, and breaking up. But I’ve never written a post about infidelity. Indeed, I’ve only mentioned it once, in passing, while describing the nature of love and joy.

So when I saw the ad, I thought, “I should write a post about infidelity.”

But I find it difficult to feel invested in such a subject; I just can’t get on the moral outrage train that seems to be so popular, and a calm explanation of infidelity doesn’t meet the needs of people who are worried about it.

Like this: People cheat for a nearly infinite range of reasons, all of which boil down to the fact that monogamy is incredibly hard. Well-intentioned, loving people cheat; so do manipulative liars. The infidelity is not what matters; what matters is how you and your partner deal with such events, potential or real.

See? True, but so different from what you want to hear that it just CAN’T be of any use to you.

People want to know, “How do I find out if my partner is cheating?”

And I’m struck by the ad’s encouragement to STALK to your partner. Worried your partner might have violated your trust? Then violate their trust! Think your partner might be a fundamentally corrupt human being? Then engage in equally corrupt behavior from the moral high ground of The Betrayed Lover! It’s okay to sneak around behind your partner’s back if you think they might be sneaking around behind yours.

Eurgh.

There is still a post to be written about the paradoxical truth that one of the main things we give and receive in relationships is permission to be free from the relationship. I’ll write it soon. In the meantime, the answer to the question, “how do I found out if they’re cheating” is:

There is no foolproof ‘sign.’ And really, if you had something that felt like ‘evidence,’ what would you do then? Confront them with it? Because presenting them with this supposed evidence might increase the chance that they’d tell the truth about it? Dude, if you can’t trust that your partner will tell the truth without being presented with evidence, there is already something more important wrong with your relationship than a little extra-dyadic sex. Your relationship lacks trust and it lacks communication skills. Go read some of the posts above, especially the jealousy post.

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