One Strike

Chris Rock Mocks Letterman Over Marriage, Intern Sex Scandal
Dave got his due - and if his wife is sticking around then that's their business. But it appears that around 1 in five married partners of either sex cheats. After browsing the internet, the statistics seem show (statistics are fickle, but you gotta start somewhere) that between 20% and 25% of married men cheat and between 15% and 19% of married women cheat, with the trends being that amongst men there is a downward trend and amongst women there is an upward trend. So, the "cheating gap" appears to be closing. What i think is missing from the discussion is that there are different degrees of cheating. While no one condones Dave's behaviour, it just feels like it's a lot less repulsive than Jesse James. Men and women who cheat because of some emotional distress in their marriage, for example the kind who find one lover who makes them feel in love again, is one thing - there isn't the arrogance there, just a lot of pain on all sides, and most of those cheaters probably did not set out with the intention of cheating. The ones who cheat just because they are horny and think they can get away with it, or feel entitled because they have lots of money or fame, is another thing - that's just plain arrogant, and betrays a complete absence love or consideration for their partner. Neither is to be condoned, but it seems like one should carry more condemnation that the other. [...]

Here's my point - A good person can make a bad choice and still be a good person, as long as they can see their mistake for what it is and try to make ammends and learn. But an asshole would only feel bad because they got caught, not because the had any remorse for what they did. And I feel like it's important to recognize the difference, otherwise people who make mistakes may be less inclined to care if they feel like it doesn't make any difference. Everyone makes mistakes, and our ability to forgive is what keeps people from continuing to make those mistakes - If you forgive someone, that person is more likely to feel an obligation to respect that act and become a better person. Granted, it doesn't always work out that way and we've all been burned, I'm sure, but I feel it's important as a society to try and recognize who is worth forgiving and who isn't. So to me, Dave's cheating is different -it doesn't seem to be borne out of pure selfishness, arrogance and thoughtlessness, but Jesse's does. Now, I am certainly willing to admit I could be wrong on both accounts, but for now I'm inclined to forgive Dave.

missdelite: No, sorry - James and Letterman are in the same boat. Neither one understands the concept of monogamy, both of them decided hurting their partner (both physically* and mentally) was worth the risk and both of them would have continued in the same vein if a third party hadn't exposed them. You do realize Letterman made it a habit of hooking up with young, attractive interns both before and after he was married, right? In fact, he hired them specifically for that reason. This isn't a man who made one "mistake" and learned from it. This is a self-entitled a-hole who used his position as a celebrity to get laid by women who'd never otherwise have given him a second glance if he were an accountant or mortician.

There's a long road to travel between feeling unhappy in a relationship and then coming to the conclusion that it's ok to philander. Cheating doesn't happen by accident. You don't just fall into another woman's vagina. It takes effort to gather contact info, make arrangements to meet and then continue to meet until the guilt kicks in, or the money runs out or you get caught. All the while, time passes and you convince yourself you have the right to do it and somehow manage to look your partner in the eye and lie about where you've been and what you've been up to over and over again. Don't you get the magnitude of this betrayal? How it makes a mockery of everything your relationship stands for? All of these steps aren't "mistakes". They're conscious acts a cheater feels justified in making. Let's face it, if there were no way in hell a cheater had a home to come back to should he be caught, he'd put more effort into working things out or get a divorce without having to cheat at all. But basically, cheating is a way to have your cake and eat it too. If relationships were governed by the "One Strike and You're Out" rule, then the concept of monogamy would be fully realized and not just some "pie-in-the-sky" notion we're taught to aspire to. End of story.

*Who knows if Letterman wore protection during any of his affairs; James most certainly didn't, according to his f-buddy McGee.

+Christian Bale vs. Tiger Woods (vid)