If Prince Hamlet was asking himself “To be or not to be” at the beginning of William Shakespeare’s play, it is safe to say that the times have changed and the millennials are frequently asking themselves whether to cheat or not. When did it become socially acceptable to be unfaithful to your partner?
Of course, I am not that innocent to believe that cheating was invented by our generation, it happened before us and will continue to happen long after we are gone, but it still amazes me how loosely the concept of being faithful has become. I keep hearing all of this horror stories from friends, family members or simple acquaintances and it gives me goose bumps. Will this happen to me? Or it will be me who will do it?
Although it might seem that the unfaithful are the men in the relationships, the women are not that innocent either. That makes me think that it has a lot to do with how we see sex. We are now objectifying what should be part of an intimate experience, we can now see selfies after sex on social media, or people just bragging about their affairs. It can happen that someone speaks freely at the dinner table about his indiscretions and the “squad” to find it normal. But why? When did we become these animals that no longer linger for love?
In the last months, I heard about so many partnerships shredded to pieces because of this and of course it made me want to analyze what is going on in the world. A father trying to cheat on his wife while she is in the hospital with their kid, a mother that was caught cheating twice and now has to share custody of 2 under 10-year-old kids. A man that betrayed his 15 years girlfriend with his intern or a pregnant woman turning blue when her spouse’s phone lights up. These are only a few of the stories that I get to hear about these days. I was raised in a family where my father had many affairs with different women and I also have a stepbrother that I do not know, but what I am grateful is that he at least tried to hide it and to be there for his family (not making excuses for him, I know he was an a*shole that made me very aware and fearful of being cheated on, but that is a different story).
So what is it about our generation? Sex is no longer a taboo, it’s everywhere and everyone seems to use it to sell, advertise and promote mostly objects. You can even buy it legally in Amsterdam or get it for free in “the club”, but did this freedom of expression through sex came with good things or are we just frustrated and unhappy? To me this is, and probably will always be a sensitive spot, no matter how much would I love someone, if he would cheat on me, I will call it quits. My mental health is far more important than not being alone and personally, I would give this advice to anyone who is thinking about being unfaithful or anyone who has been cheated on.
We are living in a mad world where everything and everyone has a price, so there is no shock that the oldest job in the world, prostitution, is now an accepted reality, but there is no excuse for those who start affairs with committed people, or for anyone to start cheating on their partner. If you are no longer happy in your relationship, pack your bags and go, but don’t start a double life. I really believe in Karma, so prepare yourself to be treated the way you treat others.