Cheers Sexy People,
I am resurfacing here with our online community and my poly blog after a very trying week and a half that I did not see coming. Honestly, I don’t have the heart, the energy or the fortitude to get into it just now with you, my readers. Also, I didn’t start this blog so that my life could be my own reality show for everyone to see, point fingers at, and for me to throw around my dirty laundry. If I’m trying to solve a problem, and I am comfortable talking about it, sure – but not this, and not now. I am still in the thick of it I’m afraid, and not at the point where I want to get into the nitty gritty. At some point, when I am ready, I will share with you all this particular slice of my life, and of course, what I learned from the situation and the aftermath.
For now, I will tackle two questions in this post, and in my next post, I will answer one of my readers and good friend’s question about talking more about my partner’s partners (my metamours) – their existence, how they affect me, how many are currently in the picture, etc.
So let’s begin. In what is now my top rated post of all time here at Loving Without Boundaries, I mused about the question, “Why Do We Cheat.” I talked about my own reasons for cheating in the past (because I consider myself a “Cheater In Recovery” and then I polled you, my wonderful readers. I gathered all of your answers and then put them into what I thought were coherent categories. And then I discussed them in my presentation that I gave in Berkeley, California at my first poly conference.
Here is my current list of why people tend to cheat, in general:
- The Thrill Of It – NRE – It’s exciting! There’s something called New Relationship Energy when we are with someone new. It can be intoxicating, like a “drug fix”.
- Emotional Needs Not Being Met – Maybe your partner is emotionally distant or isn’t supportive of you and your goals the way you’d like them to be. Maybe you feel loneliness, or are dealing with grief, and your partner just doesn’t know how to support you properly.
- Physical Needs Not Being Met – Maybe your partner or spouse works for months at at time away from home. Maybe they don’t like kinky sex and whips and chains but you do!
- Irresistable Opportunity – Many people claim that they just couldn’t help themselves! If we use the metaphor of eating, it’s like eating all the way to the bottom of the Pringles can of chips – EVEN THOUGH you know it’s awful for you, and you’re going to feel sick after. Who hasn’t done that? It’s not thrilling – and you may not even be hungry, but they are there for the taking and you are going to do it anyway. (thank you, Alphred)
- Revenge – The classic! We’ve all heard of the Revenge Fuck. You hurt me, so I’m going to hurt you back. It ain’t pretty, but it happens everyday.
- Laziness – There’s also simply a bit of laziness or lack of the desire to communicate honestly. We view it as just too much damn work to talk through difficult or charged topics – we assume having a tough conversation is going to be awful, but we still feel unfulfilled or unsatisfied. So it’s just EASIER to cheat to get our needs met, than to try to fix whatever disconnect is going on.
- Only Choice – Lastly, if asked, some feel “cheating” is their ONLY choice. Perhaps a “disconnect” between a couple occurs, we’re dissatisfied, maybe we even TRIED to fix it, but we can’t resolve the issue. However we don’t want to divorce or breakup either. So we cheat! In other words, maybe needs go unattended and we get tired of sacrificing ourselves for the sake of being monogamous but, again, divorce isn’t an option. There’s a saying: “If you can’t take care of your man/woman, someone else can and will.” That’s a cold hard truth – but a lot of people don’t believe it or believe that such a thing should ever happen… but it does happen in reality. (thank you, kdaddy23)
Yesterday, I was speaking with a life coach that has sometimes helped me at different points of my life and career in recent months. In the poly community, we all know that explaining to professionals such as therapists, life coaches and the like what polyamory is just so that we can work with them without them judging us for something that they don’t readily and easily understand, can be taxing. I noticed that he had used the term as we were talking “quote-un-quote ‘cheating’ in an open relationship.” After I got off of the call, it dawned on me that even though I think of a life coach and someone that I’ve explained my lifestyle to in the past “enlightened,” there is probably still confusion about how you can “cheat” in an open relationship.
Let’s put this to bed (pardon the pun) and / or get this conversation going right now. Please feel free to chime in with your comments to add anything or offer your thoughts on anything I say here.
Here are examples of how one can CHEAT (no quotes around the word, if you notice!) in a polyamorous or ethical non-monogamous relationship.
- Break An Agreement – Honestly, it doesn’t even matter WHAT the agreement is. If partners come up with a set of agreements that all parties agree to, and then one partner goes and breaks / goes against one of those agreements, that is cheating.
- Lie – Ethical non-monogamy is based on truth, honesty and consensual multiple relationships. Therefore, lying has no business in an ethical non-monogamous relationship. Thus lying is cheating.
- Withholding Pertinent Information – This crosses streams with lying, but I think it is important to mention as there is a grey area here. On the positive and ethical side of the fence, keeping privacy and one of your partner’s trust is cool and awesome. But on the negative side, withholding PERTINENT information (for example, an entire relationship, thus it is NON-consensual if that is your agreement), or that you had sex with someone – if transparency and knowledge of other or new sexual partners is part of your agreement – is all cheating on your partner.
- Hiding An Affair – I say “affair” here to point out that the relationship is hidden and not ethical. Thus there is no transparency and honesty = cheating.
- Playing Games – What I mean here is there is no room for “game playing” in an ethical, honest, non-monogamous relationship. It indeed does take extra effort to do this. Extra communication. Extra integrity. Extra hardcore honesty. Perhaps extra bravery depending on your background. There is no room in an ethical non-monogamous relationship for “little white lies” or “half-truths” or “I tell you this, but I tell her that.” Does that make sense? Or does anyone have a better way to say this?
One of the reasons that I am personally not a fan of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” type of relationships is: To me,“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” circles the drain of being un-ethical or at the very least, there are too many grey areas that can overlap the above items that I listed for “cheating in an open relationship.” That ain’t for this sweet sister! All open, ethical, transparent and honest for —–> Kitty!
To help with this discussion, here are what I like to call the Pillars Of Polyamory that I discussed in my recent presentation:
- Trust & Respect
- Negotiating Boundaries
What are your thoughts on any of this, particularly your thoughts on cheating in polyamory and / or your experiences with that? I very much would like to hear. In the meantime, rock on peeps, and be good to one another!
Wishing you peace, love and happiness,
(and thrilling, fun sex too!)