On cheating, identity, and the golden rule

Dear Coquette,

Is cheating on your partner wrong in every circumstance? How about cheating and not telling?

There’s quite a bit of room to define the scope of infidelity within the context of a given relationship, but cheating is wrong. Cheating is always wrong. That’s why it’s called cheating.

If you’re capable of asking this question with a straight face, then your problem is that you don’t feel guilt if you do something wrong. You only feel shame if you get caught doing wrong.

That’s evidence of a nasty little streak of narcissism, and it’s a serious character flaw.

Why are so many people afraid of gay marriage when it really as no effect on their own lives and how they choose to live them?

Gay marriage may not have any effect on the lives of its opponents, but in their pointy little heads, it has an effect on their way of life.

They’re defending a religious value system that is a part of their identity. Gay marriage is a threat to that identity, and you can always count on small-minded people going berserk when something threatens their identity.

A few nights ago I made out with a stranger and gave him my number. We’ve texted a few times since then and made vague plans to meet up again, but after sobering up I realized I’m not particularly attracted to the guy and would rather just forget it happened. Am I obligated to at least go out to dinner? Is there a simple way to say “sorry, not actually interested,” or should I just stop responding? If the tables were turned I wouldn’t want someone to just flake out on me, nor would I want to waste time on someone who’s definitely just there out of guilt.

Yeah, no. You’re not obligated to go to dinner with this dude. Since you’ve already spent an evening making out with him and scheduled vague plans, it’s a bit too late to politely reject him by saying that you’re simply not available.

Most girls in your position just start ignoring the guy, but the slightly more dignified thing to do is text him the following: “I’m sorry, but I need to break off our plans. I’m not comfortable dating right now. What we had was just a one-night thing. Thanks for understanding.”

You can stop responding after that, but it’s disrespectful to leave the dude hanging. This is basic golden rule stuff. Treat him how you would want to be treated if the tables were turned.


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