Let’s All Get Outraged Over the Infidelity of Total Strangers!

Let’s All Get Outraged Over the Infidelity of Total Strangers!

A lot of people cheat on their spouse, we all know this to be true. What percentage of married people cheat? That’s a trickier question than you might think, it turns out.

In any event, married people cheating seems common enough to Calico that she doesn’t quite understand why people get so fired up about infidelity that doesn’t involve them, at all. We’re not talking about people who get mad at a friend for cheating on her husband — we’re talking about people getting out their social media pitchforks because one celebrity they’ll never meet has cheated on another celebrity they’ll never meet, mostly likely with a third celebrity they’ve never even heard of before.

None of it makes any sense to Calico, especially when the couple involved says they have an open relationship, which means none of it was “cheating” to begin with.

Can something really be considered “cheating” when you have spouse’s permission to do it? Even if you don’t have permission, if your spouse has affairs too, doesn’t that fall under the old saying “All’s fair in love, war and massively multiplayer online role-playing games”? How many space alien movies has Will Smith been in, anyway? Get the 411 — an possibly even the 412 — in Calico’s latest post, “Let’s All Get Outraged Over the Infidelity of Total Strangers!”

– Calico Rudasill, Sssh.com

woman looking suspicious infidelity

Read on…

Cheating on your spouse, I think it’s safe to say, is not a particularly uncommon thing for people to do. How common is it? Honestly, I have no idea – but it’s not for lack of trying to answer that question.

If you seek out data on how often married people cheat on their spouses, what you’ll find is wildly different numbers from different sources. The figure will vary depending on how the data was collected, by whom it was collected and how the people administering and taking surveys define key terms – including “cheat.”

Survey Says: Well… It’s Complicated

The number also changes a lot over based on the age range of the respondents. In 2012, the General Social Survey found (GSS) found that about 25% of American men aged 65 and older said they’d cheated, in contrast to less than 10% of women in the same age range. Among Americans who were 18-24 at the time, 12.9% of women admitted to cheating, compared to 15.9% of men.

To me, one of the key words above is “admitted” – because when you are asking people in a survey if they’ve done something that is generally looked down upon, I’ve got this crazy notion that they just might deny doing some things they have, in fact, done. (This reveals a shocking lack of faith in the honesty of my fellow humans, I admit.)

On the other end of the statistical spectrum, back in 1991 sex researcher Shere Hite concluded that 70% of women had cheated on their spouses, while a follow up study a couple years pegged the number at 72% for men. Maybe it was just something about the 90s? It was a decade of excess, after all. How much of this infidelity involved Indecent Proposal-style offers?

So Shocking, I Nearly Shrugged

I’m not saying that Hite’s numbers are more trustworthy than the GSS results. I’m just saying this isn’t a question for which there’s a clear, reliable answer.

No matter how you slice it though, cheating on your spouse isn’t something so rare as to make it an outlier in human experience, or something so shocking as to inspire revulsion. Except on some occasions, it does yield revulsion, blowback, thumbs-down icon use and negative virality.

If you’re Jada Pinkett Smith, for example, and everyone knows you had an affair with August Alsina, and you later have the temerity to speak openly about your sex life, you will be dragged hard in some quarters – and have a bunch of people misconstrue your words, possibly intentionally, to make it sound like you’re throwing Will Smith under the bus.

By the way, if someone did throw Will Smith under a bus, based on what I’ve seen in his movies, he’d somehow roll out behind the bus, spring to his feet slightly bruised and battered but otherwise none the worse for wear, then utter some cheesy one-liner like “That’s OK; that was my stop, anyway,” take a second to punch out an alien or something, then drive a sportscar into the sunset with Martin Lawrence riding in the passenger seat.

Unsurprisingly, The Infidelity Double-Standard Lives On

As Veronica Wells points out in her opinion piece linked above, during Jada’s recent appearance on Red Table Talk that has rekindled a measure of Jada-hate on social media, you get a very different impression of what she has to say than if you read the media’s coverage of her remarks.

“If you listen to the conversation, it’s clear Pinkett Smith is switching between talking about marriage as a whole and sex specifically,” Wells observes. “Most of the time, she’s not even speaking personally but of women generally.”

Wells also notes something that seems to have been missed by a lot of the folks who think Will should split with Jada: “In his interview with GQ, he explicitly states that Jada was not the only one who engaged in other sexual relationships. And while that tidbit made a few headlines, no one put on a cape to defend Jada’s honor or ask that she be set free. A man having sex with other women is commonplace, old hat, no need to be alarmed.”

Look, I’m not “Team Jada” or “Team Will” – honestly, I like to think I’m “Team Jada & Will.” For sure, I’m “Team This is None of My Damn Business.” 

The bottom line is I’m content to let other couples work through their shit without any input from me (unless they ask for some, of course), whether those couples are celebs like Jada and Will, or just a couple of married schmoes filling out a GSS survey.


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