Why Are Cheating Confessions Fascinating?

A cheating man is almost caught

One of the guilty pleasures of relationship voyeurs is reading cheating confessions. Sometimes it's sympathy for the cheater; sometimes it's righteous indignation. Either way, cheating confessions fascinate people. Why?

"So Glad It's Not Me!"

Since recent statistics show that between 30% and 60% of all people in relationships have to deal with infidelity, it's not surprising that there would be a lot of interest in reading about it. From self-help books to daytime TV dramas, the temptation to cheat, the act of cheating, and the ramifications of cheating all consume a large part of our cultural attention. Even in the news, stories of people like Tiger Woods or David Letterman cheating tend to take up the headlines.

Why do people eat it up? There may be many reasons, but among them is certainly the relief: "That's not me!" Not only "My lover would never cheat!" but also the relief of someone who has been tempted but has managed to resist the temptation...or at least has managed to not get caught yet. There is a school of thought that people who cheat really want to confess - and reading about other people confessing their sins is a way to live vicariously and relieve some of the pressure of guilt.

Cheating Confessions Websites

It's no wonder that websites which allow completely anonymous confessions have become very popular - so popular, in fact, that entire fake ones have been set up to sell products! For example, the "Confessions of a Cheating Wife" on Blogspot claims to be a housewife blogging "...about how I continually cheat on my husband. I just can't seem to help myself..." However, the actual posts not only seem vastly unrealistic but they also seem rather suspect - referring to low-cut blouses as "shirts," for example. Every post also happens to have a link to an eBook for sale, as well - showing this to be nothing but a bit of social marketing.

However, it also shows the value of cheating confessions for entertainment. Other sites don't limit their confessions to cheating, but the "SEX" category contains many, many instances, and unlike the "Cheating Wife" blog many of them seem desperate and sad enough to be real. There are also plenty of very implausible tales as well, but in those cases the site becomes almost a form of literary performance, as people share their ideas and fantasies about cheating.

Post Secret: The Art of Confessions

One of the more interesting versions of anonymous posting that includes many cheating confessions is the "Post Secret" project. People turn their confessions into postcards which are then sent to an address. The art project became so popular that it has been turned into several books, including "The Secret Lives of Men and Women", filled with confessions of desire, lust, and infidelity - whether consummated or not. The PostSecret cards are not as simply entertaining as some of the other websites - in fact, they are often heartbreaking - but they also tend to cut more to the heart of relationships and the things that can make people cheat on them.

Whether it's schadenfreude or the joy of anonymous gossip, these kinds of websites provide a place for cheaters to fulfill their need to confess as well as the need for others to read about it. Made up stories mingle with the truth, and only the people who write them will ever know which is which.

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Why Are Cheating Confessions Fascinating?