Social Question

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Why is being cheated on so unacceptable?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38963points) March 2nd, 2010

Hear me out…I’m not saying it’s acceptable…it isn’t…but do you think that people can’t get beyond cheating whereas they can get beyond other offenses? Is it more acceptable to leave someone because of the mere mention of cheating without trying to understand why? Do you think financial disputes, lies of other sorts, domestic violence are more or less tragic, in a relationship? Is it because of trust that cheating is so damaging or because of jealousy you feel or because it threatens you? Is this the worst that can happen in a relationship? When you think of people who have stayed with those that have cheated on them, what comes to mind? Are they weak, co-dependent, pathetic, to you? Have you ever worked through a break of trust with someone? Have you ever cheated and wished that it wasn’t this tragedy that it was made to seem because the moment was such a mistake? Do you think we place more value on not being cheated on rather than not being lied to?

A lot of questions, I know – the topic interests me. I’ve cheated on partners before – couldn’t lie about it after so I’ve always told (or it came out some other unfortunate way) but when we talked about it I remember thinking ‘yes, okay, the cheating occurred but don’t you care why…or what we both did in our relationship to lead to this place’ do you think it matters to you why or is it unforgivable? Basically, when someone cheated on you, were you also to blame/complicit? Is being cheated on everyone’s favorite excuse to feel like the absolute righteous victim?

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85 Answers

DeanV's avatar

It’s a breach of trust. Simple as that.

dpworkin's avatar

It is an affront to our amour propre, but it is also an ancient, primal fear. For the woman it is the fear of losing her provisioner, for the man it is fear of parental doubt. I’m not at all saying these are conscious fears. I am saying that we have evolved to have these fears deep in our unconscious, because they were adaptive for many hundreds of thousands of years.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@dverhey Okay and is that an unforgivable deal breaker to you? Have you ever breached trust but it didn’t have to do with another love – would you want them to respond in the way people do when it does involve another human being?

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

That fact that it totally destroys people’s confidence in themselves and their partner should be enough.
Then there’s STD’s.
If people can’t commit to a relationship, then relationships arent for them.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@dpworkin the fear exists regardless of whether or not the cheating occurs or people wouldn’t be so obsessed with wondering/worrying, don’t you think?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy Yes, I agree – that is interesting, to me – however do you think everyone responds that way? Do you think some people think (instead of losing confidence) ‘hell, how dare he cheat on someone like me? i’m awesome’? In that do you think “i’m not enough” or “what’s wrong with you, how could I not be enough?”. And finally, don’t you think that many people think ‘I’m not good enough for him’ anyway regardless of whether or not their partner cheats?

syzygy2600's avatar

Everyone is different, so what I’m about to say will not apply to everyone.

In my view, cheating is the worst because its both a breach of trust and an indication that you’re partners sexual needs are not being satisfied by you. If you want to sleep around, don’t be in a relationship. For me its as simple as that, and I make that very clear to anyone I’m in a serious relationship with. I’ve never been cheated on, but if I was, there is nothing the person could say that would make me stay with them.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@syzygy2600 Is cheating always about not being sexually satisfied? Or not being emotionally satisfied? And what if, at the beginning of the relationship, they weren’t planning on sleeping around but things change, no? as per your personal situation, I guess we never know how we’d deal with the concept if we never experienced it

dpworkin's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Absolutely. The fear haunts us all the time. I believe it is the evolutionary foundation of sexual jealousy, and the reason that 80% of homicides of woman over the age of 18 are at the hands of a significant other.

Aethelwine's avatar

Everyone deserves a second chance, as long as both are willing to learn from the mistake and work at the relationship.

Habitual cheaters are a different story.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@dpworkin That, my friend, is quite a leap, don’t you think? You think that men are more likely to experience this fear (if I am to assume it’s inherent)? Why would that be when (given the past and evolutionary drives and what have you) men are the ones more likely to ‘want to spread the seed’ and do it with more people? P.S. the reasons for homicides vary, they aren’t all because of jealousy – they are about power and anger.

dpworkin's avatar

@dverhey Embezzlement is a breach of trust, but no one gets quite as emotional about it as he or she does about sexual misbehavior.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

I know personally I can’t get around it if the woman I was with was unfaithful to me. I or anyone deserves better.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@dpworkin exactly, that’s what I was trying to say.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Russell_D_SpacePoet what if you didn’t deserve better? well, not you specifically but what if you were a bad partner?

dpworkin's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Actually, it is now thought by most evolutionary psychologists that both genders were equally likely to engage in extra-pair copulation. The men to have more progeny, the women to have access to a superior germ line.

jrpowell's avatar

@dpworkin :: Get back to me when embezzlement can get you killed.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@jonsblond I agree with you. But what do you think when people say ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’?(in which I don’t believe, ps)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@dpworkin Okay, even better – why would then one gender be more likely to kill over being cheated on?
@johnpowell – well it does get some people killed and I’m still arguing whether or not all the homicides are because of being cheated on..and btw, no one should be killed for cheating

dpworkin's avatar

Yes, well I was trying to say that this is not as simple as a breach of trust, contrary to what @dverhey posted at the top of the page.

dpworkin's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Because infanticide is a typical male primate strategy to prevent the survival of a rival male’s genome.

cak's avatar

My first husband cheated on me. More than once. It had more to do with the lack of trust and his lack of wanting to change. He would still cheat – just continue to lie about it and I couldn’t take the long list of lies.

I’m not saying that I was perfect in our marriage, if anything I checked out, but didn’t act upon anything. I knew there was something not right, but I looked the other way. I am responsible for letting myself be treated like a doormat; however, I took the responsibility in saying it was over.

In our case, his cheating was all about not being happy with anyone or anything. My role was tolerating it, especially after I figured out it was happening again.

FishGutsDale's avatar

There is no reason to cheat. Your with someone because you want to be with them, if you no longer want them then cut the ties beforehand. Cheating often affects people long after the deed is done.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@cak !!!!! you’re here! yay!
@dpworkin so they’re committing infanticide via homicide of their possibly and potentially pregnant partners?

Aethelwine's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I feel the same as you. I know that some people that have cheated feel truly sorry for what they did and would never do it again.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@FishGutsDale why does it affect people so deeply?

janbb's avatar

@dpworkin How does knowing the evolutionary psychological explanation of emotions help people deal with feelings they are experiencing today?

FishGutsDale's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Because it is a betrayal by the one person you had the highest amount of trust in and who thought would always be there.

cak's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir – yep – until I give up for the evening – which is soon!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@FishGutsDale I’m just playing devils advocate here – is it worse than being abandoned by a parent? Do we ever really think our partners will always be there?
@cak It is a wonderful wonderful thing to see you here.

DeanV's avatar

@dpworkin Fair enough. I have never been cheated on, though, and I was taking it from the high school drama perspective, the only one I know.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

To all the people saying they have never been cheated on: How do you know?

FishGutsDale's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir i know your playing devils advocate :) im just explaining from first hand. If i have a girlfriend i don’t put an expiration date on the relationship, so i do think they will be there which is why it is/was so hard.

Im not sure about being abandoned by a parent as you can’t really choose your parents but you can choose your partners. And i have great parents.

DeanV's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Because I’ve only dated twice, and I am 99% certain nothing happened.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@dverhey I’m sure nothing happened – it’s just that we can really never be sure.

wtfrickinfrack's avatar

I had a girlfriend cheat on me and then try to “get back together“… so here’s my response:

I feel like I’m at my most vulnerable when I’m intimate with the person I love. So for me it isn’t just a breach of trust, it’s the ULTIMATE betrayal. Take my money and I’ll be mad and probably keep my wallet to myself… but indulge in intimacy with me only to belittle and misuse it by handing out your half of our relationship to someone else…then you’re toast.

And if they brought up an argument like – “why don’t you care about how our relationship got to this point?” – I would wonder why they didn’t bring up this major concern before jumping in the sack with someone else. That’s why I would have a hard time listening to any of their reasoning. If they cared about the relationship at all – why not just talk about what’s bothering you instead of crushing the other person emotionally?

(deep breath)

Ok, I’m done!

dpworkin's avatar

@janbb It really doesn’t help at all, since these patterns of behavior were established so long ago, and are so removed from consciousness, but when people state a question that has to do with cause, I have a preference to begin with distal causes which are shared widely throughout humanity rather than with proximal causes that are unique to individuals, and @simone was asking about cause.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@wtfrickinfrack Agreed – any issues should be discussed upfront – truth is many people don’t do a good job of communicating with their partners.

Blackberry's avatar

I feel the same way so I can’t tell you exactly why people think cheating is 2012. I think one of the many factors is greed, personalization, exclusiveness, and self esteem. People have something and want it to be theirs and only theirs, its pretty childish I feel and isn’t mature.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Blackberry Very well put – one of your best answers. can I put your answer as my status on facebook if I attribute it to Blackberry from

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

….because most people don’t want the clap ;)

Blackberry's avatar

One of the better aspects of monagamy I agree is safety from STDs. Other than that’s is useless lol.

Disc2021's avatar

I am a pretty firm believer in the statement “There is no I in team” and in that I could kind of see your perspective, that when someone cheats it’s not that it’s their fault but reflective evidence that the relationship is failing. However, I also think that it’s both persons’ responsibility to live up to their end of the bargain and if they’re failing at that if they’ve decided to express themselves that way before ending it or communicating that something just isn’t working out. I could understand then – someone has repeatedly tried to fix things, talk about problems and attempts to fix them but the couple wasn’t successful in doing so and the problems go left unattended. I’m sure if much more justifiable in the “cheaters” mind if he or she is upset with his/her partner and overall relationship. It’s much easier to do wrong when wrong has already been done by someone else. Even then so, I dont see it as a means of solving a problem or helpful expression and therefore I dont think it’s ever acceptable – but people aren’t perfect.

I think the truth of the matter is that cheating isn’t the absolute worst thing that could happen. I would like to think every problem in a relationship is equally important and that both sides of the couple should work equally as hard to prevent or solve the issues. Realistically, any problem could mean a breach of trust, a severe disagreement, the ultimate insult or the end of a relationship.

I dont think anyone is weak, co-dependent or pathetic for giving their partner a second chance – simply because I believe that love surpasses all. This isn’t to be applied broadly over all relationship situations or saying that everyone and everything should be forgiven, but that in the end it truly depends on a person’s unique relationship with love.

tinyfaery's avatar

Okay, here it goes…

I have cheated on every person I have ever been with save 2 people—my wife and the boyfriend I had before I met her. Why? Because I used to treat men like shit and that just went along with it. I had daddy issues. I was into luring guys in, using them and throwing them away. I was young and stupid and had yet to really begin to understand myself. The 2 people who I did not cheat on amounts to the past 13 years, so I am no longer a cheater.

I have never been cheated on by someone who I wasn’t cheating on. There isn’t that same sense of betrayal that you jellies are all discussing. It hurt, but hey, there was always someone else to take their place.

The concept of cheating is nothing I need to concern myself with, because my marriage is not something that limits me, it allows me to be who I am and to grow. We have talked about this. We decided that if one of us feels attraction to another person we will come to each other and talk about it and decide what we want to do. Anything that could or might happen as a result, well, we will have to deal with it. Neither of us need to cheat.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

For most of us, a committed relationship is based on trust concerning sexual and emotional exclusivity. Cheating violates that fundamental trust.

In addition, cheating exposes your partner to any and all diseases to which the other party (the person with whom the cheater gets sexually involved) had been exposed from all their current or recent sexual partners.

Cheating is like an emotional assault on your relationship and a sexual assault on your partner if you continue to have sex with them.

If a person decides they will violate the trust on which their relationship is based, the minimum they must do is to tell their partner immediately if not before getting physically involved with anyone else.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence Okay, so I know STDs have been mentioned numerous times but have you really ever heard someone say ‘I’m so angry at you for cheating and it is so unforgivable because you could have given me an STD’?

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

It shows a fundamental lack of respect in the relationship. No one who truly loved and respected their partner would ever cheat on them, so cheating is a way of showing that the relationship isn’t good enough, but they feel too trapped to end it.

Domestic violence, financial problems etc. can also show lack of respect, but cheating and violence in particular show a lack of respect for the partner as a human rather than just lack of respect for them as a partner. Every person has the right to expect safety and fidelity from their partner.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Considering how many people eventually cheat, I’m starting to wonder if fidelity is a reasonable expectation anymore.
I expect it.

Supacase's avatar

Cheating is worse than any other kind of breach of trust, IMO. My husband and I are the foundation of our relationship. Lying about finances or secretly watching internet porn are on a secondary level. Take away money, porn and the computer and you still have my husband and me. When that trust is broken, when there is a wall of disrespect separating the two of us, it isn’t just chipping away at the relationship – it is a crack in the foundation.

ETA: Domestic abuse is even worse than cheating, IMO.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy well, just because there is a lot of wrong doesn’t mean there can’t be some right – people have always cheated – I don’t think there is any more cheating going on these days than ever before

Disc2021's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir In Dr.‘s defense, I actually know a person who was not only cheated on but his partner gave him an STD – which is how he found out his partner had been cheating.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Supacase nodding I see your point.

Blackberry's avatar

Lol…..awwwwwww, you guys sound so sensitive : (

davidbetterman's avatar

Are you married? Did you make vows? These are not merely promises, they are deeper. Cheating can kill the love and end the marriage. Is a bit of lust worth losing your mate, your family and all you have worked for?

If the cheating occurred outside of marriage, it is not so bad.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@davidbetterman are you asking this of me personally? I am married, you know my husband, we’re in an open marriage and it works for us.

Jeruba's avatar

I have always been a huge believer in the sacredness of vows—any vow, not just marital—and the importance of fidelity in a relationship. But of course “betrayal of trust” is a much bigger issue than cheating on a partner and extends to all kinds of relationship, from school friends to leaders of a populace. Cheating is a special case of the larger idea of an act of betrayal.

I just took an interesting one-day class on “Ethics and Character” from a Jungian perspective, with storytelling and archetypes used as the basis of the teaching. The story for this one was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C. S. Lewis. The lecturer paused over the part early in the story where Tumnus tells Lucy he has to turn her in to the secret police . The instructor said: “Betrayal is not an uncommon event. Is does not have to terminate a relationship. Often it’s just someone taking care of himself in a way that does not work out for you.”

That gave me a lot to think about because usually betrayal is taken as the signal to sever a tie. “Betrayal” is one of those words with magical power, like “discrimination” and “censorship,” that trigger something utterly irrational in us, a barrier to any meaningful discourse. But shouldn’t we be able to talk about it?

This is not to say that we should necessarily have to tolerate or forgive a betrayal, but it does suggest that a perceived betrayal isn’t something absolute. It may be very relative. And it may be up to us to interpret it well, or at least better than with automatic rejection.

davidbetterman's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I would then assume that your vows are different than most people’s vows. Yours would allow for extracurricular activities, and so playing around might not be considered simply isn’t cheating.

However, for most of the rest of the married couples in the world, playing around is cheating and cause for grievous action by the party who was cheated.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@davidbetterman Right, yes, I am aware of all of this. I wasn’t asking for myself (because cheating is possible in open relationships, even if I was)

Zajvhal's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy Uh Yeah! Totally an expectation for me too! I have never cheated, and I never’s not in my blood, and believe me this is not because I’m not a sexual person, because I am, very much so. For me it’s about respect. To me, it’s the lying that’s the worst of it though. If I was married to someone, and they cheated, but they owned up to it right away there would be a chance to regain trust, whereas if I found out about it otherwise it would definitely not end well.
@FishGutsDale I agree with you totally, except in the case of marriage. For me, marriage should be for life, and although I understand everyone is different, cheating would not be good enough reason to divorce.
@Simone_De_Beauvoir to answer another part of your question: I know an older couple in which the woman was cheated on in the younger years. She is one of the most loving, independent, strong-willed woman I know. In fact, I believe that is why they are still happily married today. It takes strength and selflessness to forgive and work through something like that.

Cruiser's avatar

Nah my favorite excuse to feel like a self righteous victim is when someone take my last piece of chocolate cake…there is nothing so egregious as that!

@lucillelucillelucille <<golf clap>> GA +6

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

I understand it as someone who outgrew jealousy – Maybe that gives me a different perspective, but it shouldn’t.

Likeradar's avatar

I’ve been thinking about this question since I read it earlier tonight. Here’s why I wouldn’t tolerate cheating:
I consider my partner in almost every decision, from “would he like these shoes?” to “Would he mind if I went out with the girls this weekend?” to serious future plans. He definitley doesn’t dictate what I do, but I am constantly considering his preferences, his thoughts, and his emotions. I expect the same. To make it clear- I don’t always put him before me, but I at least consider the relationship ramifications of my actions. Cheating would be a huge indicator that we are simply not on the same page and that I don’t penetrate his thought process the way he does mine. And that’s not ok with me in a relationship.

If someone views relationships differently and stays with a cheater, that’s fine. I don’t think of them any differently. But I do think of someone differently if they’re in a relationship where they’re always miserable out of fear of being alone.

mponochie's avatar

I think it is the word CHEATING itself that makes the act unforgivable. I don’t think an open relationship would be as frowned upon, however when you cheat you are removing one of the most important elements of any relationship… trust.

fireinthepriory's avatar

I don’t know why cheating is considered to be so unacceptable. There are many many other things that could go wrong in relationship that I would find far more troubling than being cheated on, especially if it were a one-time deal. If there were feelings involved, if it were a long affair I was unaware of, that would be different. A one-time thing? I’d be bothered, but it wouldn’t be something I would break up with someone for. If my partner was verbally or physically abusive to me or anyone else in our family, even once, I’d break up with them in a second, but cheating’s just not that high on the list of things that would set me off. I just don’t put high value on perfect fidelity. I don’t think it’s necessary for a long, healthy, loving relationship.

Please note: this isn’t to say I prefer open relationships, or that I am a cheater. I have been in both open and closed relationships and have never cheated (in fact I never even got around to taking advantage of the openness of my two open relationships). But in a long-term relationship, I do think leeway must be granted for the occasional slip-up in terms of fidelity. Because it just ain’t a big frigging deal.

faye's avatar

Very well said @wtfrickinfrack Just how I would have worded it.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Well, If you are with a bad partner, then the thing to do is break it off. Not resort to sneaking around and being unfaithful. I personally won’t put up with anything like that in a relationship. My relationships have to be based on trust and mutual respect. You have no respect for the other person if you are messing around. If they are bad enough that you want to stray, you should end it. My opinion. Everyone looks at it through different eyes.

Arisztid's avatar

Ok, I hold an unpopular viewpoint on this one. First, yes, I find cheating as annoying as the rest of people for the following reasons: 1) dishonesty, 2) diseases from HIV on down to the easily cured ones. At 47 years old, having had a very active sex life from early on, I have not had one STD. I have myself tested every 6 months like clockwork for HIV and HEPc (I also a phlebotomist by trade).

Many of my loves have had more than one lover, but only one ex cheated on me, I gave her the chance to make it right, she did not, and we parted ways. This was silly of her as I shall describe shortly. While I do not like cheating, it would not be an automatic deal breaker. I am not insecure about who I love, thinking that, if they are going to walk away from me… they are going to walk away from me whether or not they cheat. I am not insecure in my sexual performance or looks. I am not saying that I am the best thing that walked this earth because I am not. I am saying that I am not insecure.

Here is why what my ex did was so stupid and the unpopular opinion and behaviour of mine.

I am polyamorous, have been all of my life. I am now, being with two loves who know about each other and are great friends… one is my wife.

All of my life I have held the belief that an open relationship is just fine for people like me and those I am with (though this is not right for most) but cheating can occur. Of course anyone even thinking of being interested in knows that I am poly right out front. How it is not cheating in my eyes: I have always told my loves to tell me when they are going to take another love or just have sex and, if I strongly object, we talk about it. The same “rule” applies to me. In protection of my disease free status, I teach anyone I am with about HIV and STDs, practicing what I preach. I am in two very stable relationships now on all sides so the only HIV risk is my work.

The ex who I ended it with went behind my back with a guy who was very disrespectful of me. She did this because, I am certain, she knew of his disrespect towards me and that would have been a deal breaker for me. She had the choice once he showed the disrespect I had expected: be with him or me.

She chose him and I wished her well. She decided that her love for him was more than her love from me, there was no way she could get this guy to show respect to me (he blew up at her when she tried), so we parted ways.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I think it’s societal, pure and simple. I’m sure a lot of people will come on and tell me that I’m wrong and that cheating is fundamentally wrong and that society has nothing to do with it. Well, those people are idiots.

Humans are hyper sexual beings. That sometimes means being sexual with multiple partners. This is not an inherently bad thing. In fact, if it weren’t for STD’s no one would even get physically hurt from sex with multiple partners. The fact is that a long time ago, someone decided that it was inappropriate to have more than one sexual partner let alone SO at the same time and everyone internalized that. I admit that I think cheating is one of the greatest but not necessarily the greatest sins in a relationship. I was cheated on once and I felt as if the world crumbled down around me. This wasn’t because the guy put his tongue in someone else’s mouth. The act was symbolic. It said, “Hey, Katawa, you are not important enough for me to follow the social code that we both have agreed to live by. Fuck you!”

In the case of @Simone_De_Beauvoir and @JeanPaulSartre, they have managed to break this particular social taboo which is great. To you two, having extra-marital sexual relations is not necessarily a sign of disrespect.

On a slightly different note, @Simone_De_Beauvoir, I’ve often wondered, do you and @JeanPaulSartre allow each other to have romantic relationships outside of your marriage that are not necessarily all about sex? Or is your marriage open in only a sexual sense?

Sophief's avatar

Cheating is painful and heartbreaking.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@KatawaGrey the marriage is open in any sense – we interact with people much more on an intellectual level if they’re to excite us – and if they’re to have sex with us, either of us or with us together, we must be intellectually stimulated…currently, neither of us are in a relationship, sexual or otherwise with anyone else but the possibility is always there…when we began our relationship, it was open from the beginning and it began with me having two distinct and equal relationships with two people and I loved them both…6 months into the arrangement, I broke up with one of them for a number of reasons…since then we’ve been more focused on my pregnancy, labor, post partum to really have the time or the energy…we love each other so much and we have amazing sex…in order for either of us to go outside, the person would have to meet so many criteria that many don’t…whenever someone initiates something…I will always have a conversation with them explaining how my marriage works and what would have to happen before we have sex or any romantic involvement…some have understood, some haven’t…it takes a very strong, independent person who understands our principles and isn’t out to ‘break us up’...when we have an interest, an active interest, we discuss the person with each other and we discuss the extent of the relationship that we want…we also know of couples and people we would love to sleep with once the chance comes around so if it ever does, Alex and I know to pursue the situation…I will say that because we have two kids and because our lives are so focused on spending time together or as a family, we don’t actively look for anyone to engage in sex with or anything else…just that it wouldn’t tear us apart if we did – there is a lot to learn about oneself through being in an open marriage.

Blackberry's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir That is…...bad…ass…... :)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Blackberry It takes a lot of communication and allowing each of us to be our own people that regard each other in highest esteem…we are each other’s soul mates and best friends…we know what we have and we do not consider our interactions with others as coming close to that (cue MC Hammer singing ‘can’t touch this’)

Blackberry's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Oh yes I understand, I’ve had something similar to this before, but it’s hard to find more people like this.

thriftymaid's avatar

It’s a betrayal, and that is the hardest thing to defend or forgive.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: Thank you for your answer! I’m glad you explained that to me. I feel much more enlightened now. :)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@KatawaGrey oh, don’t mention it, :)

Smashley's avatar

Somehow, monogamy became the default condition of a long term relationship in our culture.

But as a group, we’re really bad at it, and it doesn’t suit many of us.

Since deviation is so common, the established norm has to fight back by condemning it. Just look at the word: “cheating.” Cheating means breaking a rule. In this context, it means having sex with a different while in a committed relationship. The whole language has been structured towards monogamy. Apparently there is one rule about relationships, in our culture: don’t have sex with a person besides me. Abuse isn’t “breaking the rule”, apparently, even when it’s a far worse thing to do to a person. Even the word “commitment” has a connotation that it means “don’t have sex with others.”

I dunno. Sure there’s STI risk, but in terms of actual damage, having sex with another can be pretty inconsequential if done correctly. I think many people in our culture are just possessive and insecure.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Smashley “having sex with another can be pretty inconsequential if done correctly.”
How do you suppose it should be done, in order to be done correctly? I cannot think of any circumstances in which I would be able to regard it as ‘inconsequential’.

“I think many people in our culture are just possessive and insecure.”
Maybe so, but I don’t think that is necessarily applicable to any but a few who choose monogamy. I do not regard myself as possessive or insecure, but I can think of few things more painful than being cheated on. Although many do not share my opinion (and all points of view regarding sexuality are mere opinion), I have always associated sex with love. I would never have sex with a person that I did not profoundly love, because to my pattern of thinking it would be empty and pointless. Many people can have open relationships and/or casual sex, and if that is the way they are I wouldn’t think to judge them, but I don’t think being otherwise inclined is enough to qualify a person as “possessive and insecure”. I could not imagine being in love with more than one person at a time, so I cannot imagine desiring to have sex with more than one person during that period of time.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh I disagree that ‘being cheated on’ is synonymous with non-monogamy. What of people like us who aren’t monogamous but we don’t cheat – cheating is doing something with another in secret and there is nothing secret about my relations and my partner is happy for me.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: I agree with you to an extent. I have always thought of cheating as going outside the parameters of the relationship. I would think that it would be cheating if you or JPS had sex in secret or if either of you had sex with someone that the other had previously expressed a desire for you not to have sex with. Similarly, if one of you left the other for someone else, previous sexual relations might be considered cheating in retrospect.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I did not intend to make that connection. I agree with @KatawaGrey‘s definition – going outside the bounds of the relationship. My whole post was in my personal context as a monogamous person.

Smashley's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh – “inconsequential” meaning “free from consequence.” You have fun, no one’s feelings get hurt, and no one gets an STI. In my life, that means that I need to get pretty comfortable with a person beforehand, I need to have a good sense of their sexual practices and testings, and I need my partner to be aware, or preferably, involved. There are different bounds for different people, but the key is communication and honesty to oneself and everyone involved.

“Empty and pointless”? Hardly! Some of the best friendships are solidified with the kind of comfort and trust that you need to have to have sex with someone. Sure, sex is best with a passionate, emotional connection, but we’re still animals, and like all animals, we fuck because it feels good, but as thinking, feeling, people, sex is never empty. It may not be your life partner, but it is intimate and emotional. If we can get over certain cultural hang-ups (while still recognizing the reasons society developed them,) there’s a lot of fun to be had, and what’s wrong with that?

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Smashley I am aware of the definition of ‘inconsequential’. However I do not think I would personally be able to regard my partner having sex with someone else during our relationship as inconsequential. Its just not in me.

I’ll have to take your word on the sex-with-friends thing. I have never been in such a situation, so I don’t know if it would actually turn out to be like I imagine it would be. I’m naturally fairly reserved, so I don’t imagine sharing that degree of intimacy and emotion with anyone but my partner (not necessarily life partner, but at least long term).

broughtlow's avatar

Personally, cheating means that i am not “the one” i am, merely “another one” and therefore there is no longer anything special about me or the relationship.

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