Putting 'cheating' in it's place
In many of the discussions that that take place when venturing into 'poly territory', there's one in particular that always draws a lot of strong emotional reactions.
It's the subject of "cheating".
Now, like so many other terms, it's helpful to have an agreed upon definition in order to have a productive discussion. For the sake of this post only I'm going to keep it within the framework of "emotional or sexual interaction with another outside of an existing marriage or committed relationship".
Because this is where much of the problem lies. In many marriages and relationships there is an ASSUMPTION of emotional and sexual fidelity that was in fact never truly agreed on ! In fact, in many cases it's hardly discussed. Therin lies the danger of assumptions ! It's a cultural norm at this point that once two people declare themselves "in relationship" that fidelity is a built in part of that term. It again is 'assumed' that if there is conflict with this that there will be a parting of ways.
Polyamory, as well as other forms of AGREED non-monogamy of course, refute that principal. Then of course there is actual discussion that takes place, agreements are (hopefully) reached on how other loves will flow into the existing relationship.
But that is another subject.
Right now I'm trying to dig into the terrible scars that are often (or claimed) to exist from this 'cheating' - i.e. lack of discussion & agreement prior. Because these scars and bad history often make non-monogamous relations far more complicated than they need to be. And result in the failures of some.
But are these scars really justified ?
How many of us are truly scarred by the lack of Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy ? Or that we can blindly trust other human beings to act in OUR best interest ? For most, that 'awakening' happened in Jr High - or before. Hell yea, we look back on times of lost innocence and wish it could be otherwise. But it isn't, and for the most part we move on with our lives. albeit in a bit of a more defensive posture. It's ok.
Why do we assign this 'cheating' so much higher a status than the other discoveries we make about weaknesses in human nature ?
My belief is that it's just another example of the cultural definitions - especially that lay seed for potential 'victims' ! Everybody needs to be a 'victim' ! Think of the poor psychotherapy profession and the pharmacutical industry ! Millions could be affected !
But I feel it's only a choice - nothing more.
Sexual and emotional monogamy - especially without proper education, analysis and discussion goes counter to human nature for the most part. Given the right place and circumstances a majority of people will fail a test of monogamy. Especially when they believe no harm will come to anyone !
And in the majority of cases (there are exceptions obviously), any real 'harm' is little more than the popping of another cultural 'bubble'. Aother myth exposed. No more.
Yes, I've been 'cheated' on - and have 'cheated' by definition at some point in my/our lives. Difference possibly being is that we understand the root of this, cry foul only because of our prior inability to communicate properly about complex parts of a relationship. Wiser now, we see no need (or justification) for hanging on to 'mythical scars'. No going around cutting ourselves on a daily basis.
In hindsite, it seems the only real foul here was ignorance.
I believe ANYONE has the capability to move beyond that !