Can you respect a cheater?

It’s about trust and honesty. If you hold yourself out as someone that cannot be trusted, that will have an impact on my relationship with you.

If you feel the need to break that trust, then own it. If you aren’t content to stay faithful in a relationship, then own it and be honest with the other person. Majority of cheating in relationships comes to light eventually. By not being honest about it from the get go, just makes the individuals integrity a question.

I respect people of high integrity. If they do something that shows a lack of integrity, like cheating, I lose at least some respect for that person. It can be gained back , but it takes a long time. I won’t necessarily abandon a friendship, but will view the person differently.

If you’re not in the “cheater’s” marriage, you don’t know shit. Lots of reasons for cheating.

I tend to have little respect for cheaters in general even though I have been one myself. I try to take a little more open minded view than I did years ago. I can give several reasons a person might cheat that I would not hold it against them.

 If you are married to someone with deep emotional and mental issues you may feel trapped. One part of you has become a caretaker and even though we feel unloved and unwanted we somehow feel responsible to take care of this other person. I was like this in my first marriage. I never got emotionaly involved with anyone but I longed for that feeling of being wanted, a happy voice on the other end of the phone, someone who would look deep into your eyes and it was plain they wanted you. The sex was not the big deal, it was always about some kind of validation with me. I felt a lot of guilt about it but have since forgiven myself and never put myself back into that same situation.

For me it depends on whether or not the marriage is about sexual fidelity. If they are betraying their spouse’s trust with adultery I wouldn’t trust them in any way. On the other hand, if their spouse doesn’t care, I don’t, nor do I think there is anything particularly less trustworthy of them. P.S. not all marriages ceremonies have people promising before god (or gods) and witnesses that they will be sexually monogamous to each other forever.

spouse has not been informed: no

spouse has been informed: yes

someone who has an affair with a married person hasn’t broken any promises and it isn’t their moral responsibility to keep someone else’s promises; therefore sometimes yes (although not in each & every case)

has no additional impact; if married people want to divorce over violations of promises of exclusivity, one or more of them shouldn’t have made that promise; if married people end up divorcing over the lying and lack of honesty, that totally makes sense to me but that just kicks back to: if married people find themselves lying or otherwise ceasing to be honest with each other over the issue of violations of promises of exclusivity, one or more of them shouldn’t have made that promise.

This is the crux of it for me. You can never know what is going on inside a marriage. Obviously, I’d prefer for everyone to make their vows with a clean and honest heart and keep those vows to their graves. But that’s not how it works.

I think **Claverhouse **has it right: I don’t have to form a moral judgment about the people involved.

I’ve always maintained (a minority view, I can assure you) that in the classic movie On Any Sunday, Malcolm Smith is flat-out cheating for going outside the fenced-in course to avoid the water holes in the overhead shot of the Elsinore Grand Prix. He passes many riders and is able to go full-out on the dry ground. He ducks back onto the course through a gap in the fence and keeps going. That is CHEATING! Just like if you miss a check point. He should have been disqualified! And yet that movie made him a National Hero and he parlayed that status into a multi-million dollar empire, thriving to this very day!

What were we talking about?

People will stop having affairs when everyone learns how to be honest. People will learn to be honest when they’re not envious. People will learn to not be envious when they’re not afraid. People will know how to not be afraid when there’s finally nothing to be afraid of.

In the meantime, popcorn! And consensual sex.

I once ran into my cousin’s husband checking into a hotel as “Mr and Mrs” with a woman who was not my cousin. I didn’t say or do anything at the time, although I know he saw me as we both nodded slightly to one another and went our separate ways. I agonized whether to say anything to my cousin but ultimately did not. They are still married to this day and I have no idea whether she ever found out or if he’s still fooling around on her. I can’t say it doesn’t bother me, and I have lost all respect for the husband as a person, but as others have said, it isn’t my business how they sort out their marriage.

No, I don’t like cheating. I think cheating speaks in a loud voice about the character of the cheater. If you are willing to toss aside something as basic as your wedding vows for a little personal gratification, what else would you play fast and loose with?

Nah, generally not my business, and not for me to judge.

Now, if my friend Lily had a major history of cheating on her fellas, and my other friend Andre was interested in dating her, I would give him a heads-up before they got seriously involved. But that’s about it.

I pretty much agree with what Carryon said - there are many types of respect and not rating in one area doesn’t necessarily impinge on another. For instance I once had a good friend who for awhile was in the habit of stringing along multiple girlfriends. I regarded that behavior with mild contempt and told him as much, but it didn’t end the friendship ( which pre-dated either of us dating anybody ). He had plenty of other admirable qualities and ultimately outgrew his ‘wild oats’ stage.

That said…

…this notion, which I see a lot so not hammering AHunter3 here, kinda perplexes me. We’re social animals and I kinda do see it as a moral responsibility to help others keep their promises. Sleeping with someone else who is in a relationship is not necessarily morally neutral. Most of the time I see it as being a jerk, though obviously there can be mitigating circumstances in many individual cases. Sleeping with some married person and saying “hey, I didn’t make any promises to anybody” sort of comes off as selfish and self-centered from where I’m sitting. shrug

Without going into details, yes, I can both respect and trust someone who has cheated on their spouse, but it’s situational.

Relationships and interactions between people can be complex. I’ve known people who have been cheated on, forgiven, and moved on to have great relationships.

For the most part, it ain’t my business.

I don’t approve of cheating on one’s spouse, but I also can imagine situations where it’s . . . understandable, if not admirable.

A large part of whether I still trusted and respected someone I knew was cheating on their spouse would depend on surrounding circumstances.

For example - an otherwise trustworthy and respectable person married to a person who’d been in a car accident and permanently brain damaged, to whom they stayed married because a divorce would take their disabled spouse off their health insurance? If they had an extramarital relationship, I’d find it hard to think less of them.

Someone who got hammered at a party and had a one-night stand with an equally-intoxicated fellow party-goer and then felt like an asshole about it? Everyone screws up - an isolated incident does not a generally untrustworthy person make.

A college professor with a habit of cheating on their spouse with a series of students, who fails to grasp that this is problematic behavior? I’d think less of them.

in no small part it depends on whether I care about the person cheated on, how much I care about the cheater, and the motivations of the cheater.

This was once an actual issue in my life. A good friend of mine was unfaithful to her husband; it cost her the friendship of a mutual friend of ours. But I saw the infidelity coming a long way off (I could easily have been the other man) and I didn’t much like the husband and i loved the cheater, so I let it go.

ETA: But I could have gone the other way given the context. Also, this was before my own period of infidellity. I will never cheat again, incidentally,and I might feel differently about the situation if it happened now.

Yes, but I can compartmentalize. I have met fantastic spouses and parents, that just happen to be having sex with other people. I understand this sounds insane, but it’s true.

It’s not my place to judge and not my business.

Agreed, sort of, which is why I said "sometimes"and added additional disclaimer.

If someone promises never to drink alcohol or eat fish, I may help them abstain even though it’s not my promise. If someone promises never to be present at a banquet where anyone drinks alcohol or eats fish, and I want to drink beer and eat catfish, I may still feel some moral compunction to help them keep their promise, or I may not; but would I respect someone else who shrugged and went ahead and ate catfish and said “hey it wasn’t my promise”? Yeah. Is it a bad analogy? Maybe. So would I respect someone who had sex with someone else who had promised not to? Maybe. Did the promise-maker promise the preacher never to have sex until married? Did the promise-maker promise their boyfriend not to have sex with anyone except him? I’d have to consider each case on its own merits, I think.

I think even how the person took their vows says alot about them.

For example
If they married because they wanted a meal ticket.
If they married because their parents made them.
If they married because say a woman was jealous of her friends weddings and wanted one plus all the free gifts.
If a man only married a woman to have sex with her.

In all the above example it would respect them less because of the cheating but more because they married for the wrong reasons and yes, I’ve seen all of these.

PS. I guess I could add if they married on a whim in a 24 hour Vegas wedding chapel.

If someone I care about cheats on their loved one, it irreparably damages my respect for him or her. Although I would still love that person, I just won’t be able to look at him or her the same way.

I’d add these to the list:

If they married because it’s automatically what you do if you’re in love.
If they married because it’s automatically what you do before the end of your 20s. Or 30s.
If they married because it’s automatically what you do if your relationship seems to be lasting.
Likewise for promises of sexual exclusivity that aren’t enshrined as marriage, for that matter. There may be perfectly good and valid reasons for opting for exclusivist monogamy, but you shouldn’t dive into it on autopilot just because it’s what everyone else does.