>>By Emily DeSpain, Guest Writer

We’re in a generation that makes its own rules. The white picket fence dream is no longer what people strive for, but have we gone too far and thrown all relationships out the window?

Does this mean absolutely everything is acceptable, even cheating?

According to statisticbrain.com, the percent age of relationships where one or both admit to cheating, either physically or emotionally, is 53 percent.

In the 1990s, it was 13 percent.

Back in the fifties days of letterman jackets and pearl earrings, high school sweethearts held strong.

It wasn’t unheard of to fall in love your freshman year and be married by 21.

That means only having an intimate relationship with one person your entire life.

Now, one person can find a new soulmate twice a year. Today’s relationships are greyer than those in a black and white movie.

Overlapping love stories are much more common, because boundaries and labels are endless.

It takes a long time for relationships to be established, and when couples “take a break,” lines get so blurred both members might as well be dating everyone they know.

Some see cheating as the ultimate betrayal in a relationship; to others, it’s the ultimate test.

The first thing that needs to be decided after the act is committed is: Was it physical or emotional?

The second thing: does it even matter that there’s a difference?

“I think cheating is wrong no matter what,” freshman Luke Culwell said. “As far as emotionally, a guy seeing a girl once and thinking, ‘Damn, this girl looks good,’ is just how guys are, but if you continuously lust after somebody, then yes, I would consider that a form of cheating.”

Cheating in your relationship is like cheating on your diet. Sometimes you need one cookie to get you through a week’s worth of salad for lunch, but that one cookie turns into an entire pie pretty quickly.

On the other hand, if you know you have the person you are meant to spend the rest of your life with, what’s one night away when you have forever?

Being with another person can reinforce the feelings about your significant other, who you may have been doubting, or confirm you were never supposed to be with them in the first place.

But don’t lose all hope just yet.

“I have never cheated on my fiancé,” said sophomore Ashlee Dover. “I would never, ever go through with it. I love him too much. But most of all, I respect him. He has never cheated on me, either. It’s just based on mutual respect for one another. Yes, I’ve seen plenty of hot men, but I wouldn’t dare touch them. I’m happily taken and loving it.”

So it is possible to have a completely monogamous, happy relationship while in your 20s these days.  It just takes faith, love and respect.

Junior John Grason said when he and his wife got married, “We knew that this was it. This wasn’t going to be a temporary thing. We had never been with anyone else before we got together, and I would never dream of being without that girl.”

When asked what kept his marriage going for so long Grayson said, “Sexual relations are between two people, not three or four. No exceptions. Communication is important. Marriage is forever.”

John and his wife will have been married for 59 years this October.

The consensus seems to be that, no matter your age, looking is one thing and acting is another.

There is a fine line between right and wrong when it comes to relationships.

One moment, you are happy with the person of your dreams, and then, all of a sudden, you’re caught between two people and forced to make a decision.

Maybe it was a drunken night, or maybe you had finally just had enough nagging.

Maybe it was just one kiss, or maybe it was all the way many times. Maybe they’ll forgive you, and maybe they won’t.

That’s something you’ll have to risk if you want to have your cake and eat it too. TAS