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Old 01-15-2010, 11:32 PM
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CielDuMatin CielDuMatin is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Upstate New York, USA
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Originally Posted by Rarechild View Post
As a recovering cheater, I rarely chime in on the subject because I am frustrated by the dogmatic absolutes that people throw out about cheating. It's sort of like drug addiction. Of course it's terrible and harmful and no one should be a junkie, but it's a mistake to think it can't happen to you, to proceed as if you're immune. I've been a drug addict too. And my loved ones still value me, and I do my best to value myself.
I agree with you Rarechild, to a degree - in the spirit of full disclosure, I have cheated and I have been cheated upon. I have lied and I have been lied to. I still haven't really forgiven myself for the things I did to others that I care about and have vowed to do my absolute best to not let it happen again. I realise that we are not all perfect, but that doesn't mean that I can't have a goal.

I am capable of forgiving those who have lied or cheated, if I feel that they are truly sorry and are taking steps to not repeat it. When I encounter someone who is interested in me, and is cheating on their spouse to do that, then it shows me that they are not taking steps to prevent the cheating from repeating. I choose not to have someone with those values in my life. Others are, of course, free to do what they choose, and to deal with whatever consequences result from those choices.

The consequences of my choice are that there have been several people with whom I may have had an otherwise rewarding relationship that I had to say "no" to and that others judge me because of my choices. I live with those choices consciously.

Originally Posted by Rarechild View Post
It depends on so many factors what will happen when someone cheats. In my case, I confessed immediately and moved out of the house to re-evaluate myself because I knew I was spiraling out of control mentally and had been for awhile, - I needed to get my shit straight.
I also had a similar melt-down moment where a lot of self-hatred kicked in because of what I was doing. Actually it built up and ate away at me for quite a while.

Originally Posted by Rarechild View Post
Over a year later, that self-destructive move I made has been the catalyst that my husband and I have used to really commit to each other, love each other madly again, finally be honest with one another about so many things. I regret the pain I caused, but I know I am forgiven, and that took so much work. I don't regret the work.
I think that is wonderful - you have grown and learned from your choices. I'd like to think that I have as well. I certainly feel that I have. It wasn't an easy path, and regaining the trust of those I betrayed was a (rightly) long and difficult path for me, but one that I felt I needed to take. Others have forgiven me, but as I said, I'm still not sure that I have forgiven myself for what I did.

Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post
When you get down to it, all this debate & discussion around "cheating" and what defines that (which I've never seen addressed - only assumed) seems to end up back at sexual dalliance.
Although there are other indiscretions that occur within relationships, they are in such small proportion and much more easily resolved as to be inconsequential to the discussion.
I, like many here, have probably seen the debates on the relationship forums about what is, and what is not considered cheating. Usually the motivation behind the question a Clintonesque attempt to get something they did that they feel broke the rules of their relationship to not be considered cheating and to get "support" for that standpoint from anonymous people on a web forum or Yahoo group. I think that this is counter-productive and not in the spirit of healthy relationships.

I tend to look on cheating in relationships as the same as cheating in a game - of cards, or a board game (or D&D, even). It doesn't matter what is written in the rulebook, if the players, before the game starts, agree on adopting the rules in the rule book within certain exceptions, then those are the rules that are used for that game. Breaking those rules is cheating. Nobody would say that following one of the agreed-upon exceptions to the rules would be cheating.

Likewise in a relationship, there should be "rules of behaviour" that a couple agree on. This might be "don't have sex with anyone else", "don't fall in love with anyone else", "don't go to a stripclub", "don't look at internet porn" - it doesn't matter what the rules are, they are understood and agreed-upon between all involved parties.

But I think here is where the "standard relationship model" falls down - because that discussion - that agreeing on the rules - rarely happens. People assume and don't communicate. One person assumes that looking at porn is fine, the other that it's cheating - one thinks that a hand-job isn't sex and isn't cheating, the other thinks that it most definitely is.

Asking some higher power (or the internet) whether something is cheating is absolutely the wrong person to ask, in my opinion. If you're not sure - ask the person with whom you made the agreement. If you are contemplating doing something and are concerned with whether it could be cheating or not - what would your spouse/partner/lover think? If you are not sure, then you may well be cheating. There are no universal absolutes, here, and public opinion shouldn't matter a jot.

So for my take on this, it doesn't matter whether sex is, or isn't part of that, or porn, or time playing golf - it comes down to the old poly adage of effective communication and being open and honest about desires and boundaries and being more conscious about the nature of your relationships.

And that, in my opinion, should also be taught in schools, and should apply just as much to monogamous relationships as poly.

"Listen, or your tongue will make you deaf." - Native American Proverb

Last edited by CielDuMatin; 01-15-2010 at 11:44 PM. Reason: typo
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