These talk to the soul.
Infidelity. Adultery. Cheating. No one likes to talk about it. OK, writers like to, because things that hurt and torment, like it or not, are good material. So, yes, cheating comes up a lot, in words scorning, warning, regretful, but also at times, matter-of-fact and even jocular.
Whether you're suffering a two-timer or just want to appreciate your own partner's faithfulness, here are some of the best words penned on the subject of infidelity:
1. "F*ck you for cheating on me. F*ck you for reducing it to the word cheating. As if this were a card game, and you sneaked a look at my hand. Who came up with the term cheating, anyway? A cheater, I imagine. Someone who thought liar was too harsh. Someone who thought devastator was too emotional. The same person who thought, oops, he'd gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar. F*ck you. This isn't about slipping yourself an extra twenty dollars of Monopoly money. These are our lives. You went and broke our lives. You are so much worse than a cheater. You killed something. And you killed it when its back was turned."
2. "I think you still love me, but we can't escape the fact that I'm not enough for you. I knew this was going to happen. So I'm not blaming you for falling in love with another woman. I'm not angry, either. I should be, but I'm not. I just feel pain. A lot of pain. I thought I could imagine how much this would hurt, but I was wrong."
3. "Undressing her was an act of recklessness, a kind of vandalism, like releasing a zoo full of animals, or blowing up a dam."
"My own feeling is that if adultery is wickedness, then so is food. Both make me feel so much better afterward."
5. "Someone told me the delightful story of the crusader who put a chastity belt on his wife and gave the key to his best friend for safekeeping, in case of his death. He had ridden only a few miles away when his friend, riding hard, caught up with him, saying, 'You gave me the wrong key!'"
6. "If the marriage ceremony consisted in an oath and signed contract between the parties to cease loving from that day forward, in consideration of personal possession being given, and to avoid each other's society as much as possible in public, there would be more loving couples than there are now. Fancy the secret meetings between the perjuring husband and wife, the denials of having seen each other, the clambering in at bedroom windows, and the hiding in closets! There'd be little cooling then."
"No lover, if he be of good faith, and sincere, will deny he would prefer to see his mistress dead than unfaithful."
"A woman one loves rarely suffices for all our needs, so we deceive her with another whom we do not love."
9. "That's the catch about betrayal, of course: that it feels good, that there's something immensely pleasurable about moving from a complicated relationship which involves minor atrocities on both sides to a nice, neat, simple one where one person has done something so horrible and unforgivable that the other person is immediately absolved of all the low-grade sins of sloth, envy, gluttony, avarice and I forget the other three."
"There is nothing like a good dose of another woman to make a man appreciate his wife."
11. "A man when he is making up to anybody can be cordial and gallant and full of little attentions and altogether charming. But when a man is really in love he can't help looking like a sheep."
"Adultery is a most conventional way to rise above the conventional."
13. "To be the other woman
is to be a season
that is always about to end,
when the air is flowered
with jasmine and peach,
and the weather day after day
and the forecast
14. "You try every trick in the book to keep her. You write her letters. You drive her to work. You quote Neruda. You compose a mass e-mail disowning all your sucias. You block their e-mails. You change your phone number. You stop drinking. You stop smoking. You claim you're a sex addict and start attending meetings. You blame your father. You blame your mother. You blame the patriarchy. You blame Santo Domingo. You find a therapist. You cancel your Facebook. You give her the passwords to all your e-mail accounts. You start taking salsa classes like you always swore you would so that the two of you could dance together. You claim that you were sick, you claim that you were weak — It was the book! It was the pressure! — and every hour like clockwork you say that you're so so sorry. You try it all, but one day she will simply sit up in bed and say, 'No more,' and you will have to move from the Harlem apartment that you two have shared. You consider not going. You consider a squat protest. In fact, you say won't go. But in the end you do."
15. "I used to think marriage was a plate-glass window just begging for a brick."
"The first breath of adultery is the freest."
17. "All along she had expected to die, as surely as she expected that planes would crash if she boarded them in bad spirit, as unquestionably as she believed that loveless marriage ended in cancer of the cervix and equivocal adultery in fatal accidents to children. Maria did not particularly believe in rewards, only in punishments, swift and personal."
18. "'Here it is. Let's say you're married, you love your wife, but you're attracted by another woman.'
'Excuse me, but I absolutely cannot understand how after eating my fill here I could go past a bakery and steal a roll.'"
19. "What men call gallantry, and gods adultery, is much more common where the climate's sultry."
"Fidelity is for phonographs."
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