Caroline is a 31-year-old nursing student. She has been single for five years now.
“You always want to find out and if I had to find out on a T.V. show, I’d do it.”
It’s exactly this vulnerability that reality television shows like Cheaters prey on for ratings.
“Exercise your right to be informed” is the motto of Cheaters. This is a show that invites people who think their spouse is being unfaithful, to have private investigators follow them around to see if their suspicions are true.
The catch—you have to find out along with the rest of America.
Each half-hour episode begins with the “victimized” spouse explaining their suspicions. Usually it’s that they aren’t around that much anymore, they make excuses for missing dates, or they are no longer sexually interested.
Then, the private investigators of the show do a full on sting. They follow the suspected cheater to work, they tap their phone calls, and they will wait outside of a house or restaurant for hours to catch a glimpse of him/her in the act.
When they have all the proof they need, they get the spouse that originally contacted them and get them on location. They hide out in the producer’s car where they disclose all the information that they have gathered.
Then the moment that the cheater surfaces from the house or the restaurant where they have been canoodling with another—attack.
They quickly intercept the cheating spouse with cameras and lights and of course—the crying victim.
The show clearly defines the characters: A heroic television show that liberates the victim by bringing the cheater to justice.
But in real life, things often aren’t so black and white.
After years of figuring out why she keeps getting abandoned, Caroline believes that it’s “Because they ain’t getting what they need at home…we want different things, and resentment builds. Guys need appreciation and trust. Women need validation and intimacy.”