Do you have to have had the monogamy chat to be a cheater?+comment
I recently got into an argument with my friend Bill. Actually, knock down, drag out fight is a better description. He wanted me to tell him that he was a ‘good guy’. I wanted him to admit that, when it comes to women, he is Manthrax.
Bill is pretty much the textbook example of a Manslut. Though he is a fun guy to be around, and a good and loyal friend, the only reason I’m able to be friends with Bill is that I was in a committed relationship when we met, and thus wasn’t tempted by his charms. By the time I was single again, I’d seen behind the curtain. It was clear that when it came to women, Bill was a Zero.
I’ve known Bill for almost ten years, and in all that time he has never been in a committed relationship. He is a charming, good-looking guy who knows how to use his charm and good looks to attract women, and is usually seeing three or four at the same time. He likes to think of himself as a Clooney. Aside from the fact that he is in no way as good looking, talented, successful, famous or philanthropic as George Clooney, I also pointed out to him that George Clooney is actually quite a monogamist, having been in a relationship with a beautiful young woman for decades… just not the same beautiful young woman. Clooney may not ever marry any of his girlfriends, but, as far as we know, he only has one at a time.
Bill is so not a Clooney.
None of the women in Bill’s life (and bed) seem to know how crowded the field is. He doesn’t tell the women he is seeing/sleeping with that he is also dating other people, but he also doesn’t tell any of them that he’s not seeing other women. This is why he thinks he is a ‘good guy’. He doesn’t lie, at least not technically.
“I’ve never cheated on a girl in my life,” he argued.
This statement infuriated me for a number of reasons. For one, I hate it when people expect points for not doing something bad. No. Not doing something terrible does not make you a good person; not murdering people does not make you magnanimous and not stealing does not make you a paragon of virtue, even if other people around you are stealing. Being good requires the presence of a positive, not just an absence of negative.
Then there is the fact that only reason he hasn’t technically cheated is because he’s never made a commitment in the first place.
“Exactly.” He said. “You know how many guys pretend to be a stand-up guy but lie and cheat behind their girlfriend’s back? At least I’m honest.”
“Not lying isn’t the same as being honest,” I said. “How many of the girls you are currently seeing know you aren’t actually in a relationship?”
Bill thinks never having had the monogamy chat exempts him from monogamy. He thinks that it isn’t his fault if the women in his life assume there isn’t anyone else. I disagree. I think he intentionally cultivates the illusion of a relationship in order to keep the women around and available to him. If he did nothing to hide the various women in his life from each other, I might give him a pass, but that still wouldn’t make him a ‘good guy’. It would just make him less guilty of lying by omission. He doesn’t think lying by omission is a thing.
I reject his whole ‘I’ve never cheated’ thing, because I think his whole modus operandi is cheating. Though the women in his life may not think they are his official girlfriend, I do think they feel they are moving in that direction and act accordingly. Bill doesn’t just get sex from these quasi-relationships, he gets many of the benefits from a real relationship; companionship, affection, availability, and friendship. He gets all these things without earning them. That’s cheating in my book.
After a while it was clear that we were never going to agree. So I ask you? Am I being too hard on Bill?