Can you respect a cheater?

Without going into details, can you respect or trust someone who cheats on their spouse or someone who has an affair with a married person? Especially if the affair leads to a divorce?

Personally, no, I cannot respect a person like that. I may like them, but I cannot respect them. In fact, I grew up thinking my mom was always my dad’s victim when it came to him cheating on her. She divorced and remarried and I grew up believing that he, too, was victimizing her by cheating on her. Years later, when I was in my early 20’s she confided in me that she “got even” and cheated in both relationships. Though I have never told my mom how I feel about it, that confession forever changed the way I look at my mom. I see her as no better than the men she chose to marry.

On a positive note, both of those marriages have helped me form the basis of a strong marriage with my wife and I am thankful to have learned valuable lessons from them.

Not my business.
There are many things I may not admire that I do not have to form a moral opinion on.

I try not to judge even though I tend to avoid cheaters as friends. In my first marriage that lasted 20 years I cheated. I was racked with guilt over this and secretly sought counseling but continued to cheat. I finally divorced her and cheating was never an issue in relationships after that. My first wife married me to support herself and her daughter and I knew it, I felt used and unloved. Sometimes we do what we have to do to survive.

I think to me is when you go to a wedding and the bride and groom look each other in the eye and make oaths before witnesses and to God they they will be faithful to each other till death, then they go out and break that vow, well I wonder what else would they cheat on or lie about?

^ This.


I think the reply by Gotlift eloquently explains why Claverhouse is right. The relationship with the mother is based only on what the child thinks is the truth. So reality doesn’t matter just the story you tell yourself and how you choose to react to it.

If it was my spouse, it would take a long time. Other than that, sure. Just because a person behaves (and gets caught) in one aspect of their lives doesn’t mean it translates across the board. Lots of people have skeletons, some get caught. Unless it directly affects me, I have no problem.

Depends on the circumstances. I really don’t understand how cheating became the ultimate evil. It’s not a great situation, but it also isn’t the worst thing a person can do–by far.

I don’t like being cheated on in a relationship, and will end it when it comes to light, but I find that I still respect them. Friends who cheat when married I have trouble respecting, though.

That said, I’ve been the “other man” a few times in my life, with women who are in a relationship but not married. So I do feel a bit hypocritical.

How you feel is your business, but try to look at it like this. Respect, like most things in life, is not an all or nothing feeling.

You can respect someone as a wonderful and fair businessman and boss and not respect him as a husband.

They can be both.

People have their own code of ethics and they don’t always jive up with the average person’s opinions.

And remember you don’t have to respect a person to like them or even love them.


Their vows to each other have nothing whatsoever to do with me.

That’s not to say I would trust a cheater no matter what. I really do see a difference between serial cheaters and a person who has cheated with one person. There’s also a difference between someone who cheated once in their distant past, and someone who’s actively cheating now.

My best friend slept with a married man for a significant number of years. This destroyed our friendship after a while. But the person who honestly suffered the most was her. Yeah, maybe she deserved it, and she brought it on herself, but it is still sad to see her, now in her late thirties, having wasted all of her twenties on this man who didn’t leave his wife.

In that circumstance I blame him far more than her. She didn’t make any vows, he did. I don’t approve of and don’t like what my friend did, but I don’t fall in love like that and never have, so clearly there’s a difference between us.

I can see gradations of people, especially in matters of the heart. I guess that’s the difference in a single affair and in multiple affairs of years. At least with a single affair you’re deluded that you’re in love. It’s still right and moral to break off your first relationship but…
One thing I absolutely cannot stand though is men - and it’s always men - who boast about their affairs. I have never heard a woman boast about her affair; just confess it in an embarrassed sort of way.

Who says its “the worst thing a person can do”? Obviously everyone knows there are worse crimes. The question is, is it appropriate for third parties to see relationship cheating as a ‘crime’ at all.

What I mostly see (and do not hold with), as in this thread, are arguments against caring.

It seems like, because the subject involves other people’s sex lives, there is a reluctance to take a stand–a reluctance not present when the transgression is of some other nature. People don’t generally say, the fact that she stole that money has nothing to do with me, I don’t need a moral opinion on that.


Do you apply this logic in all areas?

I react differently to people who steal from me than I do to people who I know have stolen. Similarly, people who break promises to me cause me to react differently than people who have broken promises to others. In the case of infidelity, in particular, I refrain from judgement because I am not privy to the intimate details of other people’s marriages.

Your spouse is the one person who is supposed to have your back no matter what. If you cheat, you are a person capable of fucking over your best friend for a little ejaculate. Of course I can’t respect someone like that.

Yes, but do you see a moral difference?

No, though there are different degrees. That’s not to say that that respect and trust cannot be earned again, but it seems to me that cheating comes down to the very idea of what respect and trust mean. If someone is married, they’ve made a vow, and if someone makes a vow and breaks it, it’s demonstrable proof that they’re not trustworthy or worthy of respect. Yes, that promise wasn’t to me, but if someone is willing to break a promise they made so publicly and, hopefully, sincerely, how can I trust them with a less serious promise.

That said, I don’t consider an open marriage to be cheating, as both parties have theoretically agreed to it, and I say theoretically because one might have agreed very reluctantly, but it’s not like it’s being done without their knowledge and they could just end the marriage at that point. I could also lump in a situation where there’s not necessarily an agreement, but it’s not exactly hidden and they’re more staying married for other reasons, perhaps finances or children. Similarly, I would consider long-term or serial cheating to be considerably worse than a situation where maybe one cheated in a moment of weakness.

And even long-term or serial cheating is something that can be recovered from. I have friends who have done that in their youth, but once they matured, their outlook changed and they’ve become respectable, trustworthy people. After all, I think all of us have done things unworthy of respect or breached the trust of our friends and family, maybe in less serious ways, but we’ve probably worked hard to earn that trust back.

And sure, it’s not my business, but that doesn’t mean I should misplace my trust or respect. It really isn’t any different than any other things we do that involve promises. If someone breaks a contract, they’re less trustworthy regardless of whether that deal was with me or with someone else. If someone is known as cheating on papers or exams, I’m not going to want to associate myself with them either, particularly when it comes to academics or the professional world. None of that is my business, but I’d be foolish to utterly ignore it when considering how I should associate with them.

And it really is simple why, too. If someone can’t keep a promise, don’t make it. And if they made one believing they could, and later realize they can’t, be honest and straightforward about it, not surreptitious and dishonest. One may or may not find someone who sleeps around respectable, but there’s a big difference between leading on someone else in believing they’re in a monogamous relationship, and being upfront with them that it’s not going to be exclusive or ending the relationship when they become more interested in someone else.