I grew up in a loving home – both parents, older sister, older brother. I went to good schools my entire life and was educated by great teachers and peers. I’ve been in good and bad relationships, all of which I’ve learned from. You might say I have my head on straight.
I vividly remember the day my college roommate, stomped into my dorm room and in a fit of tears yelled, “_(nameless)__ is cheating on me! I’m through. My mother was right. All guys cheat. You can’t trust any of them. They’ll betray you every time.”
The avid girlfriend supporter and boyfriend hater-when-I-needed-to-be wanted to go with her to car keys and post up outside of locker rooms. But instead, the calmer, rational-thinking, tea-sipping psychologist surfaced, put away her ideologies on the behavior of men, threw on her glasses, and got to work.
Whoa. All guys cheat? That’s a pretty broad statement. Not to mention it was a statement that bred a future of bitterness, frown lines, and high cholesterol. I sat her down.
“He’s wrong for that. But just because your mother believes one thing doesn’t mean you have too. You’re not a mirror of your mother. Repeat after me: ‘I am not my mother. Not all men are the same.’ Maybe you should try to work it out.”
Ironically, I had given her this advice while I was in a relationship of my own, and shamelessly cheating. Looking back now I know I didn’t grasp the concept of “we are who our parents are”. And it wasn’t until that moment that I realized that although I had gotten a full set of good traits from mine, I had an equal amount of bad ones that I wasn’t aware of.
My father is a great dad; Like really cool. He could rival any man for a dad of the decade award. When I was younger, I had a t-shirt that read, “When I grow up, I want to be like my daddy.” The influence he had on me was clear. As I got older, I heeded his insight and monitored his actions. Overtime, something had changed.
I would see my father on Friday mornings before I left for school, and then I wouldn’t see him again until it was time for football on Sunday. He would take trips out of town for a few days (sans my mother), and wouldn’t tell us where he was going or who he was with. That kind of thing. And it’s important to note: my father is an adult – not a boy, not a young man. When this occurred he was a full-fledged 50 plus grownup.
I ignored it. After all there are just certain subjects you don’t broach. But, I began to wonder about what I fondly call… the cheating gene. A gene that seems to present itself in nearly everyone I know with the exception of a devout few. It might as well be as common as the X and Y chromosome.
Many girls who are witnesses to their parents’ “cheating genes” determine that they are going to do one of two things. They are going to go above limits to make their personal relationships work. Or, they will accept the fact that men cheat and will always cheat and well…that’s how it’s going to be.
I was different. I was going to be just like my daddy.
I strutted around with my nose in the air and my heart tucked safely away from my sleeve. My mantra became: No man will cheat on me. I will cheat on them.
It was a full proof plan. I cheated, churning good brothers into bad boys, all the while leaving some new woman to pick up the pieces of my insecurities. Halfway through my relationships, I would send ole’ boy packing for some new man and then repeat the process. Inevitably those bad boys, who held their ego in high esteem, morphed into players and cheated on their women.
It’s quite possible that one of those women was my roommate.
I was the one who let the guy go for fear of them cheating on me. If my father, who was well in his golden years, was doing it, then it was bound to happen to me too… right? It was the age old narrative, play or get played.
So, a message to cheating fathers on their daughters. The cycle continues. Take care of what you do and who you do it with. Society still coins the phrase, “Boys will be boys.” But in an era where women are eagerly flashing their independent woman lapels, recognize that girls will be girls.
Writer and philosopher, Elbert Hubbard once said, you have to “live truth instead of professing it.” Trust me, we are far more affected by the decisions that you make than you realize.