Cheating in Fiction

I don’t like cheating in real life. I don’t think people should have affairs, especially if they’re married. I don’t think it’s good even if you’re just dating. I just feel that instead of cheating on your boyfriend or girlfriend, just break up with them!! I know it’s hard, but I just feel that cheating makes things even worse. I have friends who have been cheated on, so I’ve seen the aftermath and it’s awful. Cheating = bad!! I know not everyone feels the same as me, and that’s fine. No worries, no judgment.


 Feeling the way I do about cheating in real life, makes it hard for me sometimes to read about cheating in fiction. Not the books where the main character is or has been cheated on and the story is about them picking themselves up and moving on with their life. I don’t have a problem with those. It’s the other books where they make it seem like cheating is okay.

I’ve recently read several books lately where there was that type of cheating aspect. One in particular was really a struggle for me to finish! Don’t want to spoil things, so I won’t be naming the books that I discuss. In this particular book, the main character (female) found out that her husband had to work and wouldn’t be able to go on their family vacation to the happiest place on earth. He just couldn’t get away from work for this vacation that they planned in advance. So, since most everything was non-refundable, she & their 2 small children went on the vacation. She suspects that he may be cheating because apparently he had already before and they’ve been trying to work it out ever since.  Anyway, upon arriving at their vacation spot, she runs into her old college sweetheart & his 2 small children vacationing there as well. His wife is a workaholic too, so she was unable to make the trip. They decide to do all the fun family things together – the kids love having new friends. Suddenly the 2 old sweethearts realize that they still have feelings for each other. And their both in bad marriages. And their kids get along so well. They should just be together & become a family of 6. So, then they have adult fun time after the kids go to bed. The book continues on as if that is okay.



 I really struggled to finish that book!! I don’t believe in cheating, so it made it hard for me to connect with the characters. I just wanted to yell at them. And maybe slap them, LOL! The book continued on like cheating is okay, and since it was a romance, it had a happy ever after ending. I don’t feel like cheating is okay, and I don’t like that the book made it seem that way. What about you, do mind reading about cheating in fiction?


 In other similar books that I’ve read recently, the cheating characters aren’t married, but one or both is in a relationship with someone else. The main characters start off as friends and gradually become closer. And closer. It’s that slow progressing love that we all love so much (Faye @ The Social Potato has a great post about that here). You fall in love too and want them to be together – at least until you remember that one or both of them is already in a relationship!!! Then I find myself talking to the characters in the book – “No, no, no, you can’t do that. You have to break up with ______ first!!” I get all conflicted and I don’t like it! Remember, cheating = bad!! But these characters are sooooo right for each other!! Ugh!! Too many feels!!!


be good either. However, in the books where the characters weren’t married, I didn’t struggle as much as I did with the book where the characters were married. I still think it’s wrong, but those other books just had more feeling! Aah, so conflicted!!!



So, what about you – does cheating in fiction bother you?



  1. says

    I typically don’t mind it if it’s done right. *ducks for cover* And what I mean by that is…the characters need to be complex, flawed and there needs to be a compelling reason for the cheating. I’m not sure that there is a compelling reason buuuuuut I would like the author to at least try. Does cheating always work for me in books? Not always and recently, over the summer I think, I read Love In English by Karina Halle. While the writing was good, I didn’t feel anything for the Mateo, the husband who cheated. I hate it when the author makes the wife a villain. I would have felt more for his plight had the husband and wife simply fell out of love and didn’t know how to make it work any longer. I don’t know. *shrugs* I’ve evolved as a reader, as a woman and my likes and dislikes have changed…I’m no longer drawn to that kinda drama but I don’t think it means that I would necessarily pass on a book that has cheating. Not sure what that says about me…oh well.

    BRILLIANT post Tricia! ♥

    • Tricia says

      It really does depend on the writing, I think. The book I talked about with the married vacationers, part of the “cheating” was in revenge & I didn’t like it. With Anna and the French Kiss, while I wasn’t happy about the cheating aspect, they weren’t married & it started out as friendship that blossomed. I soooo wanted them together!!! And I still adored that book, so it definitely depends on the writing! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. says

    Yezzzzzzz. That is why I won’t read The Best of Me. Ew. Also it depends on the plot as a whole. Outlander did not bother me because it was time travel and Claire struggled with it too and the morality of it until she spoke with a monk. But in The Best of Me, it is Nicolas Sparks and he sets so many young women up for non realistic relationship needs. I feel like he is giving cheating in real world situations a green light and that disgusts me.
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    • Tricia says

      Outlander bothered me a little at first, but since Claire struggled with it too, it was easier to accept & understand. I love Nicholas Sparks books (but I have to be in the right mood), but I struggled with The Best of Me because of the cheating — too many feels that made it feel like cheating is ok!! However, it ended a lot different than I thought, & that kind of saved it for me. For me, I struggle less with the cheating if the characters are just in relationships & neither is married. Seems like a common theme lately though! Thanks for stopping by!!

  3. says

    (umm i’ll be mentioning stephanie perkins’ books in my comment, i’m not sure if you’ve read them all, really really sorry don’t read this if you haven’t I HOPE I DON’T SPOIL YOU)

    oh YES thank you so much for writing this post!! i struggled with the question of cheating in books a lot, especially more frequently these days (maybe because they tend to happen in contemporaries and 2014 is the Year of Contemporaries). i do not condone cheating in real life, i think it is a horrible thing to do to everyone involved. however, they can fall into certain grey areas that i need some time to weigh on!

    i am generally open if the characters themselves struggle with cheating; They feel really painful about it but are not sure how to make a choice. we have all found ourselves in a position of dilemma- not knowing what exactly we want- and THAT, if written well, i can sympathize and accept.

    then there are the times when the character knows clearly who he/she loves more. i think stephanie perkins’ Anna and Lola both deal with this yet i find that i can accept Lola more than Etienne? idk i was really mad when Etienne lashed out at Anna outside the club when Anna demanded why he is still dating that other girl (what is her name??). he was obviously in the wrong, HOW DARE YOU EVEN JUSTIFY YOUR ACTIONS. at the end of the day, i guess i don’t have a clear rule of when cheating is or is not acceptable, as long as the character remains morally accountable through it, i am willing to stand by his or her side.

    this is a really hard question you just posed, thank you so much! now i have something to think about =))
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    • Tricia says

      I know what you mean, I enjoyed Lola’s story more than Anna’s mostly because of Etienne. That scene where he lashed out made me mad too!! He was so frustrating & confusing, I couldn’t understand why he still had the girlfriend!! I do find it a little more accepting when the character (unmarried) is struggling with the cheating concept. Great points, thanks so much for sharing!! :-)

    • Tricia says

      It really is a tough subject to read about!! You don’t want to root for the cheaters, but it’s hard not to when they’re perfect for each other! I guess that’s what makes good authors — the ones that make us have the feelings we don’t want to have, LOL!! Thanks for stopping by!! :-)

  4. says

    Ugh, yes, it’s horrible!! I know what you mean, desperately wanting them to be together. But they can’t be! I won’t allow it until they’ve gotten out of their bad relationship
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    • Tricia says

      Yes, exactly! I’m a little more flexible if neither character is married, but I still prefer them all be single before starting things up. Thanks for stopping by! :-)


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