Originally Posted by DarayTala
Cheating is just plain wrong in my book though, and I will stay as far away from it as I possibly can.
I think this is a good general rule, and certainly a good mindset to start from, but I no longer see cheating as such a black-and-white thing as I did, say, 10 years ago. I still think there are usually better options than cheating, but not everyone who cheats is automatically a bad person. There are so many shades of gray.
For instance, a good friend cheated on her husband. Yes, you can say it was wrong, and she certainly doesn't feel good about it, but ultimately it opened both her and her husband's eyes to how troubled their relationship really was. They spent a couple years working on things, going to counseling, etc. and then decided to get divorced. If she hadn't cheated, I wonder how much more time would have been spent (wasted!) with them both being miserable but unable to see what was happening in their marriage.
And then you have the married man (and good friend) I played with online at one point. At the time, he justified it as "no worse than porn" (which his wife isn't okay with either). Some people would say I shouldn't have agreed to be his "release" since his wife would NOT have been happy if she found out, but I didn't feel like that was my call to make. Playing with me online ultimately led him to realize how much he still loved his wife, recommit to his relationship with her and end that aspect of our relationship. I was fine with that. I certainly wasn't trying to steal him from her. Would it have been better if he could/would have talked to her directly? Probably, but again, not my call to make. Ultimately a trusted friend, who he knows will never use that time of uncertainty against him, helped him through a little bit of a midlife crisis. As far as the mistakes we make in life go, I think his (and possibly mine- it's not like I'd volunteer for the same situation again!) was pretty minor, and don't vilify either of us for it.
So while cheating isn't something to aspire to, I think it's less about the act of cheating itself and more about how you handle it afterward. If you're continually lying to a partner and hurting them, yes, that's bad. But slipping up and DEALING WITH IT proves you're human enough to make mistakes and mature enough to accept the consequences of your actions.