Before you start attacking me or accusing me of oppressing female sexuality again, just hear me out for a second here.
I re-watched the first Sex and the City film the other night and one of the scenes got me thinking about a topic I’ve been meaning to write about: cheating. A topic we’ve been conditioned to regard as being black and white with no grey area at all. Cheating is wrong and we should never excuse it, forgive it, or accept it, right?
Now for those of you who haven’t seen the film or just need to refreshen your memory, I’ll give you this particular storyline in a nutshell: Miranda, a career-driven woman who comes across as being very guarded and emotionless and her husband Steve, an easy going man who appears to be more in touch with his emotions, hit a bump in the road in their marriage: they stop having sex.
Now I can’t imagine this being out of the ordinary for a married couple especially with the pressure of work, children and other responsibilities. But a combination of zero spark in the bedroom and Miranda’s neglectful attitude towards her husband’s emotional needs causes him to have sex with another woman. He wasn’t confronted about his infidelity, nor he wasn’t keeping it a secret from her. He outright confessed his wrong doing and clearly felt awful for what he did.
I don’t condone cheating at all but from watching the series I know that it was completely out of character for Steve to do something like that and for some reason, my initial reaction to watching his confession was ‘how is she even surprised that he cheated?’ Now the fact that I don’t like Miranda could have played a part in why I reacted this way when I first watched the film. But it also made raise a rather intriguing question: can cheating ever be justified? Are there ever instances where we can understand why it happens?
I mean in Miranda’s case, I do think she was a contribution to his behaviour. I’m not saying she deserved what happened nor am I saying her contribution to his dishonesty justifies it. But because my initial reaction to him confessing was ‘how is she not surprised that he cheated,’ I want to know if I am alone on this matter and think it is a grey area.
We’re human, we’re flawed, we have many imperfections and we are going to slip every single day. But is cheating the kind of ‘slip’ that can ever be justified? Is there ever room for justifying one of the worst betrayals in a relationship, especially when vows have been said? It’s a tricky one.
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