Once, Twice, Both Times a Cheater
A friend of mine slept with your boyfriend. Twice. Sorry to break it to you, but she did. He was backpacking through Cairns at the time, as you know, so perhaps you should have put out a bit more on Skype.
Here's the thing. your boyfriend is clearly a prick because he betrayed your trust with no better intention than to get his penis wet. Where it gets morally dubious for me, however, is the position my friend was in. And by position I don't mean missionary, but my goodness isn’t the English language cheeky?
My friend’s name is Nicole (I changed her name for the sake of this article because her original one seems comedic. Seriously, who names their daughter Olga anymore?). Nicole didn't know this guy was in a relationship when they had sex... the first time. She claims she would have stopped flirting with him if she had found this out when they originally met. When she was told about his relationship the day after the sexing took place, her view was that the damage had already been done. At this point she didn't feel morally compelled to back off because the shiny glass of fidelity had already been shattered.
At first I wondered why she would want to hook up with him again after the confession. Then I remembered how influential my genitals can be on my own decision making. You know what hormones are like.
Still, I also thought she shouldn’t have done it because it only encouraged this guy. Sleeping with him again may have been bad taste, but was it morally wrong? From her perspective, this guy was unlikely to change his already poor attitude whether she went round two sexytime or not. If this were the case, her choice wouldn’t be making much moral difference to him.
What’s interesting here is Nicole’s idea that ‘the damage had already been done’. From her perspective she could justify getting herself a bit more action because this guy had already lost his innocence. She felt that once this had been done no further innocence could be lost; therefore she was not making the situation worse by sleeping with him again.
In one respect I can appreciate this rationale. No further harm is being done to the guy’s fidelity, so fair enough. However, this idea of fidelity is a complicated notion. Nicole didn’t lose her innocence in the situation until she found out that this guy was in a relationship. The idea of his girlfriend, in Nicole’s mind, is only betrayed once she willing makes the decision to participate in the cheating. For this reason I think Nicole made the wrong decision by knowingly hooking up with a taken guy, regardless of previous occurrences.
In this case morality is about what your actions say about your attitude to others, even if it doesn’t directly affect them. How we treat people ultimately defines how we perceive ourselves. That’s the take home message for me at least, so hopefully you can keep that in mind when you are deciding how exactly you are going to murder your cheating bastard of a boyfriend.
Check back weekly for Moral Melbourne with @MrSimonTaylor (Twitter)