You don’t know right from wrong/well the love we had is gone/so blame it on your lying, cheating, cold dead-beating/Two-timing, double dealing/Mean mistreating, loving heart…
During any given night in East Lansing, many “committed” individuals decide to seal their fate, give into temptation and deceive their significant others. These people are known as cheaters.
Everyone has experienced a cheater, whether personally, through friends or in sappy ballads like the lovelorn Patti Loveless song, “Blame It on Your Heart.” Infidelity can have very painful effects, so why do people cheat on their lovers?
There is not a single answer to this question, but there are several common causes. At a university of over 40,000 people, we find ourselves in a large pool of young, vibrant singles. And, as English junior Jen Stimpson said, we are here to meet people. “In young love that doesn’t have a final commitment or responsibility, temptation often overtakes reason,” she said.[quo]
Deb Newhouse, a social worker and relationship therapist in Traverse City, said college students cheat for distinct reasons. “College students may cheat on their lover because they feel that they might miss out on something,” Newhouse said. “This is usually an illusion.” Reaching our full potential in our relationships and as individuals is a nice idea, but this thought can get confusing when we begin to believe a relationship will be better with a new love.
Newhouse also said cheating occurs, “because they think that something better is out there; society tells them that they shouldn’t settle.” Newhouse pointed out even if a young person has something good going with a boyfriend or girlfriend, he or she often thinks something “great” could develop with someone else.
William Gray, a Detroit psychologist and relationship therapist, explained another important reason young people may have an urge to cheat. “There is an emotional spark or ‘fever’ in the beginning of a relationship,” Gray said. “This emotional high usually lasts from three to 18 months. After the initial attraction and the emotional high are gone, some relationships move on to an unconditional love.” But cheaters often move on to another person to once again feel that “fever.”
[heart] Of course, we have all experienced the excitement of attraction. Cheaters choose to act on these emotions while truly committed individuals might be aware of the attraction, take note of it and move on.
Corey Thon, a communications senior, believes many people cheat because of impaired judgment. When alcohol or other substances are involved, committed individuals are easily tempted by physical attraction as their inhibitions dwindle. But being drunk is no excuse. “If a guy cheats then that’s it,” Thon said. “There should be no reconciliation, because no matter what, there was some part of him that really didn’t want a relationship.” The same goes for unfaithful women.
Media and society also play important roles in our decisions about committed relationships. Growing up, we may have learned one of the major reasons we come to a university is to get an education, reach our full potential and make something of ourselves. American society is often built around the notion that we should strive for the best things in life, thus college students are shooting for the ultimate car; the dream job and maybe, subconsciously, the perfect mate. Perhaps the person we’re with isn’t what we feel is perfect, so we begin looking elsewhere.
Some may see infidelity as an escape from dealing with problems. With divorce rates climbing higher each year, young people have fewer role models for healthy relationships. Instead of working through hard times with their significant others, individuals may see cheating as an easy way out, rather than putting the time and effort into making the relationship work.
But, of course, maturity levels play a key role, and most people between 18 and 23 are just now developing the internal value of commitment. With time and experience, most well-adjusted young people learn how to commit their lives to someone else.
So don’t worry if Patti’s song brings tears to your eyes today; there’s hope that you, and those you date, won’t be humming that tune for long. But until the music stops and you’re settled till death do you part, remember tonight’s actions will have consequences tomorrow.
Even in a college town, on any given night.

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