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editorials Updated: Dec 15, 2016 19:03 IST

Would you consider cheating if given a chance?


By Rohan Naahar

The most worrying part about this story is not that there are people out there who have no qualms in admitting that cheating in a relationship does not bother them (22%), but the stunning number of people who had the opportunity to say ‘no’ but instead said ‘can’t say’ (26%).

To be clear: None of the respondents in the HT-MaRS Youth Survey 2016 were under any sort of oath. They could have lied, if only for their own satisfaction. But for some incomprehensible reason, instead of crying out in disgust and dismissing the idea without second thought, they said they’d think about it, which, to any rational mind, is basically a ‘yes’.

There’s a temptation to include these men and women in the same pile of sub-human garbage that walks the earth pretending to be sentient, proudly boasting about the several partners they’re with at any given moment like it’s some sort of badge of honour, but then we must rise above this lot, mustn’t we?

Agreed, there is a thrill in committing a forbidden act, especially when consequences are removed from the table, but that’s fine as long as it remains victimless. But can you see the cruel irony in being honest about your nonchalant attitude towards cheating?

Perhaps it’s a result of the environment in which they fester, but these people aren’t looking for excuses, they aren’t looking for sympathy. They are instead, like so many sociopaths out there, looking for attention. It’s their lack of self-worth, their absent self-esteem, their pathetic, lonely existence that drives them to do this, and nothing else.

But betrayals come in many forms – cheating doesn’t have to be physical; it doesn’t have to be emotional either. With time, there comes jealousy, and there isn’t a force more destructive than it. It can drive the sanest minds into doing the most terrible things, often to balance an arbitrary, invisible status quo. In this game of one-upmanship, the weakest submit to their worst tendencies.

And every person knows that pushed far enough, they are capable of barbaric behaviour, but somehow, even in this morally bankrupt world that we live in, it’s somewhat of a miracle that there aren’t more people who don’t have complete meltdowns every day.

There are still people keeping it together. Hurray. Shall we pat ourselves on the back now? Shall we high-five each other for not being absolute jerks every minute of our waking lives? Are we supposed to applaud these ‘can’t say’ losers for their honesty?

If you have to think about it then you’re one of them.

(Rohan Naahar isn’t a behavioural psychologist. He is a graduate in English literature and post graduate in journalism)