Shaggy said it best:
But she caught me on the counter (It wasn’t me)
Saw me bangin’ on the sofa (It wasn’t me)
I even had her in the shower (It wasn’t me)
She even caught me on camera (It wasn’t me)
These song lyrics, inspired by a comedy routine from Eddie Murphy’s Raw, make light of the fact that whenever a cheater is caught, they have one rule, and that is to deny everything. According to a study by M. Gary Neuman, author of Why Men Cheat, fifteen percent of cheating husbands will deny an affair up until the moment they are caught red handed. Beyond this statistic, there are a good number of cheaters that will continue to deny their actions. Why do they do it? Let’s look at the facts.
Why Do Cheaters Deny Their Actions?
According to a study published in the Journal of Psychological Science, cheaters in powerful positions in society feel that they are above moral rule. They will chastise others for their immoral behavior, but when it comes to their own discrepancies, they think they are somehow special. This thinking has also been noted in a survey by DDB Worldwide Communications, which reports that most cheaters are likely to steal money from their kid’s piggy bank (28 percent, compared to only 3 percent of the average population). Furthermore, they won’t feel guilty, because they think they deserve special consideration.
While most of these studies have been focused on established adults, studies on teenagers suggest an alarming attitude that lying and cheating is an acceptable means of getting ahead. Out of one study reported in the Washington Post, 38 percent of teens believed they needed to break the rules in order to be happy and successful. From a job study in Time magazine, 40 percent of young adults (age 18 to 34) would lie to improve their situation at work. Four percent would flirt/cheat with their boss, and over two percent would take credit for someone else’s work to get an advantage.
Other cheaters cook up elaborate narratives in their mind to protect their own sense of identity. A partner who is guilty of an affair is most likely not proud of what they’ve done. Most of us want to believe we are essentially moral people. To make themselves feel better, they create a new ending that maintains them as the good guy (or gal) in their story. They will realize a false story is not exactly grounds for Partner of the Year, and they will eventually believe their lie as if it were the truth, even in the face of undeniable evidence.
Some of this attitude we can blame on tabloid media, with high profile figures such as golfer Tiger Woods, Governor Mark Sanford, and executive Allen Stanford, setting the stage for this double standard. Maybe the average Joe or Jolene shouldn’t lie or cheat to fulfill their jollies, but in most people’s eyes, their not average. So if your partner has been caught, yet denies any fault, you can assume they’re among the crowd that feels they are above the rules of a monogamous relationship.
What Can You Do?
If your partner has already cheated and lied, it’s going to be up to you to decide whether or not your love relationship is salvageable. What I can offer is one important tip based on scientific research that may help curb the chance of infidelity in the future. Some psychologists suggest one of the reason’s cheating and lying is becoming more prevalent in society, is because we are being reinforced by its success.
When a partner lies about where they were or why they couldn’t answer the phone, they generally find themselves off the hook. If you suspect your partner is lying, check up on them, and if you find proof, call them out on it. It may already be too late, but every time we let someone get away with a lie, it only strengthens their inclination to do it again. It’s time for cheaters to see themselves as they really are. If they don’t like what they see, they should change themselves for the better, rather than continue to live in fairyland.