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He led me through the woods, along the secret path that led to the beach. We clasped hands, held our breaths, and vowed that this would be the summer of our lives. Love had unleashed a swarm of butterflies in my tender belly and for reasons beyond my comprehension; I knew that from that point on my life would never be the same. When we finally made it to the shore, he made a mark in the sand; a heart with our initials inside. Life couldn’t get any better than brushing a tuft of his shaggy blonde hair away from his cerulean eyes. That is, until I discovered him affectionately caressing the nape of her neck. To this day, I cannot forget the sly smirk hanging off her victorious lips. I was only 8 and already irreparably heart broken. Now, every time I contemplate taking the plunge, that indescribable feeling of betrayal comes back to haunt me. Immediately I pull back.

These days, I cannot seem to approach the newsstands without being confronted by a bold headline, heralding yet another celebrity couple split. Sex, lies, adultery, infidelity, you name it, and it is all out in the open. Just flip through the pages and Jude Law is shagging the festively plump babysitter behind his fiancée Sienna Miller’s back. Read on and Brad Pitt is dumping his wife of five years, Jennifer Aniston, for sex pot co-star Angelina Jolie. The list goes on and on, but unlike what some may think this is not a spanking new plague spreading through the bottled Evian water, big screen stars cannot seem to do without. Let’s face it, infidelity is not exclusive to men with fame, power, and money. Ordinary guys have been cheating on women since there have been women to cheat with.

I see the world of cheaters as a mega corporation with countless employees. Famous stars like Brad and Jude occupy the more visible positions in the hierarchy because they are handsome, capable, loaded, and famous. But these big shots have a whole pyramid of ‘career cheaters’ supporting and exalting them from the bottom up. Ladies, I present to you, the infamous ‘Cheaters Inc.’.

Studying the reasons behind infidelity could preoccupy social psychologists for the next millennia, but even then, I doubt that scientists would be able to come up with definitive answers. That said there are some logical theories as to why infidelity is so commonplace.

I believe it was the notorious Marquis de Sade who famously opined, “In an age that is utterly corrupt, the best policy is to do as others do.” In light of this truism, it is safe to say that many men cheat because so many others do. If in fact, the male sex is chromosomally imprinted with a pack mentality (think hunters vs. gatherers) then what could be more natural than following the lead of, let’s say, Brad Pitt.

The second plausible rationalization for serial womanizing is an ailment commonly referred to as ‘sex addiction’. It is widely argued that lads, who cannot satiate their veracious appetites for sex with one mate, tend to look for fulfillment in multiple partners. This is just a fancy way of saying men are very horny and their hunger for sex sometimes gets the better of them. Major honchos in this category are none other than old-hawks Michael Douglas, Warren Beatty, and Mikhail Baryshnikov (all allegedly reformed), followed by bad boys Collin Farrell, and Charlie Sheen.

Then, there is the thrill of the forbidden red-hot pursuit. According to some repeat offenders, the adrenalin rush triggered by getting away with something naughty can be as gratifying as the act itself. For instance, sweet faced Jude’s recent drama is a fine example of how itching for a brief thrill can prove to be utterly catastrophic.

Finally, the central role of the massive male ego in prompting unfaithful behavior is undeniable. All men want to feel desired and to prove that they ‘still got it’ (whatever ‘it’ may mean), they move in for the kill. Thus, female conquests become the living proof of their ‘irresistible’ manliness, appeal and power. (The same pattern of thinking could also be applied to the bizarre ritual of mounting formaldehyde-stuffed animal heads on the walls as trophies.) Incurable bachelors like Hugh Hefner and Tommy Lee are grade-A examples of this particular type. These guys are so well versed in the inner working of the cheating trade that they no longer see a need to hide their misbehavior.

Nonetheless, there are still certain aberrations even complicated theories cannot elucidate. For example, if there is anyone out there who can come up with a logical explanation as to why a hunk like Hugh Grant would ditch drop-dead-gorgeous Elizabeth Hurley for a quickie with Miss Divine (the word ‘irony’ does not quite cut it in this case) Brown let them please come forth! But admittedly, Hugh navigated his way out of this travesty of epic proportions with such skill that if Cheaters Inc. really did exist, he would hands down be appointed as the chairman of public relations.

So what exactly is cheating and can we really take it personally? Some define cheating as engaging in ‘sexual relations’ with someone other than their monogamous partner. But as long the debate on what qualifies as a ‘sexual act’ remains unresolved, it is nearly impossible to determine where messing around ends and full-throttle cheating begins. Indeed, after our charismatic and apparently sexually rambunctious president unabashedly lied to the entire country about his sexual indiscretions, pretty much anything goes. So if, as some argue, kissing or even oral sex isn’t that big of a deal, then what is?

Here is what I think; as soon as a man begins to yearn for another woman’s skin, smell, lips, touch (you get the picture) he has officially crossed over to the other side. A man first signs the death warrant of his relationship in his head and then proceeds to search for a coconspirator. Just recently, I was chatting with a stunning, smart, and, might I add, filthy rich gal pal from boarding school. During our conversation the poor thing sobbingly revealed a mind boggling story. Apparently, she had found out that her long term exclusive boyfriend of 3 years had posted a profile on a popular dating site. Now, that is what I call a bloody idiot. It is one thing for him to decide to go hunting for another notch on his bedpost, but why insist on staying in a monogamous relationship under false pretenses?

After getting over the initial shock, I advised my friend to get herself together. Certain relationship blunders just can’t be taken personally. Confront him and let him come into terms with his immature, selfish, and deplorable decisions. Once you get it all out, you can cut him cut loose and move on. Remember, his is the era of the comeback kid. Take Nicole Kidman for instance. After Tom decided that he no longer needed her Nicole went on to become Hollywood’s most sought after Academy Award nominated actress. As for Tom, he is still trying to convince Matt Lauer psychology is a pseudo-science.

Indeed, moving on and attempting new relationships after an unashamed betrayal is difficult. In fact, even the idea of being vulnerable can be overwhelming to a woman scorned. But our strength lies in our weaknesses. As the great Confucius said, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but rising every time we fall.” So get up and start over.






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