Originally Posted by opalescent
Did you and V explicitly agree to be monogamous with each other? Or is that just understood to be what people do in your area? If you didn't agree to be monogamous, I don't see how sexual contact with S is cheating. I would call that 'dating' actually. If you haven't made committments to anyone, then playing the field is totally ok, and not cheating. Of course if you and V agreed to see no one else (after a week!), then, yes, you did cheat and that is unfortunate.
I don't agree with this. If "your area" is anywhere outside Bountiful, BC or certain tribal villages, then it's implicitly understood that relationships are monogamous.
There's a reason we use the term "open and honest communication." Honest means not telling lies. Open means telling people things you think they'd want to know.
While I do agree there's a two-way responsibility for people to be clear about their relationship status and boundaries, it's fair for a person to assume that their girlfriend/boyfriend is not sleeping with other people. In our culture, that's the default meaning of "boyfriend/girlfriend" and unless you've discussed otherwise, you agree to monogamy by using that word.
I definitely agree that there's a phase at the beginning of a relationship where you assume they're dating around and playing the field, but eventually you cross a line where you start referring to them as "my boyfriend" and from that point on, if you haven't had the "poly talk" then it's implicitly mono.
This is why I think it's important to disclose your poly status as early as possible. A lot of people are mono and they just don't want to go through the process of learning to cope with a poly relationship. We, as poly, owe it to them to give them the chance to run away before their hearts get tied up. They deserve to make an informed and educated choice to get romantically tied up in something that could be harder than they would prefer.
At the end of the day, it doesn't matter whether you've talked about it or not. What matters is this: Will your actions cause pain to the people you care about, and do you have the ability to minimize that pain with open and honest communication? In the case of poly, it's a very weak excuse to say "well he never actually asked if I had other boyfriends" because if you know he's assuming you don't, and you keep that information to yourself, it's a sure bet that his feelings will be hurt when he finds out.