Reading Response of the Article "How Do I Stop Wanting to Cheat?" by Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond

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The article, “How Do I Stop Wanting to Cheat?”, written by Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, is a female reader’s anxiety about her sexual attractions or seduction with other men while she is still having a good relationship with her current boyfriend. Hence, this woman, who called herself the “Wanton Woman”, wanted to ask experts for advice, whether she should “suppress her feelings forever” or confess everything to her boyfriend. The article was published by “The New York Times” on July the 31(st), 2018, by Cheryl Strayed - an American memoirist, novelist, essayist and Steve Almond - an American short-story writer, essayist. Betrayal in love relationships is always a controversy in the society because it happens to almost every couples and everyone will has at least one time being attracted by a person while loving someone else. However, the behaviors after those misguided moments are much more important as they can decide the future of the relationship. Thanks to a certain circumstances, the authors shared their points of view and pieces of advice for the reader about her issue.

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Understanding yourself and the other is an advisable thing to do, especially through problems in relationships. Loving is easy, but loving in the right way is not. I chose this article because I want to know more about people in general and love relationships as I did not have many loving experiences. Moreover, betrayal and adultery are interesting topics to discuss and the title of the article is also absorbing. After reading the article, I felt that somehow every lover may once betrayed or being betrayed, which is a quite negative reality to me personally. As an outsider, I received a lesson of acceptance from the story of the woman in the article: it is normal when somebody has sexual attractions with other people while they are still in a relationship with the other because that is humankind’s instinct and all I have to do is accept them as a part of my lover. However, this thinking seems to conflict with the Asian mindset because in the society where moral principles are strict, the female reader’s deed would be condemned cruelly. Moreover, indeed, she also admitted herself to be “wanton”, which the author thinks it “has long been used to stigmatize (if not criminalize) feminine sexuality”. Hence, after the reading process, I have thought a lot more about my decisions in future relationships in order to make them become better. I appreciate the way that the authors gave her advice in a respectful and supportive way. Nevertheless, in my opinion, if there are plenty pieces of advice rather than just “confessing with the boyfriend”, the article would be better. Perhaps, due to the limited information provided by the female reader, the authors did not know all the details of the problem which the reader was facing so that they cannot give more specific and useful pieces of advice.

The article belongs to the “The Sweet Spot” series in the “Style” category of “The New York Times” press. This series is described as “A radically empathic advice column from Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond” by the writer, which means these two authors are experts in giving advice about relationship issues for readers. There are 38 articles in the series, established since the 18(th) of July, 2017, topics are abundant and all of them are real concerns of the newspaper’s readers. Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond are both writers, which means they have characteristics to understand people well and can reliably give advice. According to Wikipedia, “The New York Times” is an American prestigious newspaper “based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 125 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. “The New York Times” is ranked 17th in the world by circulation”, news are reported from more than 140 countries. The founders of the organization are Henry Jarvis Raymond and George Jones while the publisher is A.G. Sulzberger, they are all well-known journalists. Readers need to pay monthly to access “unlimited articles, anytime, anywhere”, this fee is the main funding of the newspaper. Overall, in my estimation, I consider “The New York Times” as the reliable newspaper which provides trustworthy information.

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