“Woman Savers, ” “Don’t Date Him Girl, ” “Cheaters Hall of Shame, ” just to name a few. . . .
It seems like every time I look a new website appears with the goal of trying to identify a cheating spouse or lover. The intended mission of these websites is to create a database of cheaters in the hopes of preventing other people from becoming a victim of infidelity.
The main idea behind these websites goes something like this: You meet someone who captures your interest, so you decided to check his or her relational history, and depending on what you discover you either follow your heart or you abandon your romantic intentions and move on to someone else.
While the idea is simple enough, does it really work?
I have my doubts.
For starters, creating a database of cheaters is problematic simply because too many people cheat. If the estimates are correct, it’s safe to assume that half the population may cheat at one time or another. So, for a database to be somewhat accurate, it may have to list hundreds of millions of people. But, if most people are listed, how useful does that information become? As a general rule of thumb, information is most useful when it identifies a small and defined group of people. When information applies to too many people, it becomes less informative because it does not help people make decisions. If most of the people you are interested in dating have cheated at one time or another, how do you decide who to date? These databases would be much more useful if only a handful of people cheated and they could be accurately identified.
Related to the point above, not only do too many people cheat, but there are too many databases currently in existence. Given the hundreds of databases that exist, and that these databases do not share the names of cheaters with each other, to do a thorough search requires extensive time and effort. Just trying to identify all of the databases that exist can take the better part of a day. Not to mention the fact that registration is often required before a search for a cheater can even be done. When you think about it, who has all of the time and effort required to conduct even minimal check?
Another problem with these sites is the tone they take. For the most part, these sites come across as being vindictive in nature. Despite the fact that these sites claim that they are trying to prevent others from getting hurt, more often than not, these sites come across as little more than an opportunity for an ex-lover to settle a score. In other words, these websites strike a more vengeful than a preventative tone. And when people encounter comments and claims made out of spite, they tend to discount what’s said. After all, who has not been hurt by an ex-lover? And who really takes heed of what an ex-lover has to say? People assume that ex-lovers are biased and that they only present one side of the story. Most people know better than to believe everything that comes out of the mouth of an ex-lover, especially when their comments appear to be driven by revenge.
Finally, these sites don’t really take into account the most basic tenet of human nature: Love is based on faith, hope and promise, not facts. When romance is involved, people are blind to the truth. After all, even convicted serial murders receive marriage proposals. I suspect that websites designed to identify cheaters, will have little impact on people’s decision making when it comes to love and romance. Why? Love and romance will always trump information, logic and reason.
I don’t want to come across as being too critical of these websites. I believe that they serve a useful purpose; it’s just not the purpose they claim to serve. In their proper perspective, these sites can be entertaining to read and they can provide a place for an ex-lover to vent about things that went wrong. As long as liable is not being committed, I do not see any harm being done. I just do not see much value in them either.
I write about close relationships, focusing on the problem of lying and cheating. For more information please visit my blog at Lying and Cheating Blog .