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Old 10-29-2011, 05:59 PM
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Default cheating-poly; what's the difference?

I recently wrote elsewhere (right here) about how cheating is not poly to me and how frustrating it is that people who identfy as poly use cheating as a way of justifying their actions. As if they can shrug off cheating by saying they are poly. Cheating sites think they can say they are polyamorous sites as a result. It has become so common in the mainstream world that poly, and the ethics around it that I know and strive for are being bastardized. Very frustrating I find to be working towards something I consider noble, only to find others working towards giving it, what I consider, a bad name by cheating.

At one point I didn't identify as poly for this reason (and others). Then I decided that I admired the ethics of MOST poly people around me and wanted to be a part of THAT instead. To me its very important to divide cheating from poly. Poly to me is a way of being inside oneself that can cause people to cheat as a behaviour, but poly is not the behaviour of cheating itself. Thoughts?
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Last edited by redpepper; 10-29-2011 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 10-29-2011, 08:26 PM
marksbabygirl marksbabygirl is offline
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To me, cheating has always been breaking the boundaries that were set as a part of our relationship.

For some, that could be looking at porn.
For some, that could be flirting with someone.
For some, that could be physical intimacy
For some, that could be emotional intimacy.

It depends on what boundaries you have in each relationship.
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Old 10-29-2011, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marksbabygirl View Post
To me, cheating has always been breaking the boundaries that were set as a part of our relationship.

For some, that could be looking at porn.
For some, that could be flirting with someone.
For some, that could be physical intimacy
For some, that could be emotional intimacy.

It depends on what boundaries you have in each relationship.
I'd have to say mutually agreed upon boundaries; especially the in regards to porn. I hear so many people saying they consider their SO watching porn to be cheating, but I don't believe that it is, unless the couple had a mutually agreed upon boundary of no porn.
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Old 10-29-2011, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by marksbabygirl View Post
To me, cheating has always been breaking the boundaries that were set as a part of our relationship.

For some, that could be looking at porn.
For some, that could be flirting with someone.
For some, that could be physical intimacy
For some, that could be emotional intimacy.

It depends on what boundaries you have in each relationship.
Exactly
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Old 10-29-2011, 11:54 PM
marksbabygirl marksbabygirl is offline
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I'd have to say mutually agreed upon boundaries; especially the in regards to porn. I hear so many people saying they consider their SO watching porn to be cheating, but I don't believe that it is, unless the couple had a mutually agreed upon boundary of no porn.
I'm pretty sure that's just what I said...
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Old 10-30-2011, 12:24 AM
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BrigidsDaughter BrigidsDaughter is offline
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I didn't see anything about the boundaries having to be agreed upon in your post and I think that is where alot of people get caught up. They have personal boundaries that they want in their relationship, but they only bring it up once their partner crosses their boundary and then they accuse them of cheating. I've seen it here too, that people may not know that it is a boundary until it is too late and then they end up paying for it.
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Old 10-30-2011, 01:29 AM
Chimera Chimera is offline
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Originally Posted by BrigidsDaughter View Post
I didn't see anything about the boundaries having to be agreed upon in your post and I think that is where alot of people get caught up. They have personal boundaries that they want in their relationship, but they only bring it up once their partner crosses their boundary and then they accuse them of cheating. I've seen it here too, that people may not know that it is a boundary until it is too late and then they end up paying for it.
I think this is an important issue that you've hit on. There's often a lack of clarity around boundaries -- how one person understands a conversation about the relationship might be distinct from the other partner. Or one person has personal rules/boundaries that they don't really communicate to the other person, but assume that they're in agreement. There are times when the "cheating" is really a misunderstanding. I'm not romanticizing things or taking it lightly. I have serious issues with trust. I've been on both sides (if there are "sides" of this issue) -- been given time and chances and I've given that to others.

My partner and I are now working on creating written agreements because of some of the issues we've had in the past. Tristan Taormino suggests this in "Opening Up" and we think it might help really make desires and behaviors transparent.

I also think that leaving the door open to renegotiation can be a positive thing. I've learned the hard way that rigidity can stifle open communication, even if in the end, boundaries don't shift.

Oh and to the OP, in my mind, cheating is just cheating. I guess I see that stereotype linked to ideas of swinging and unicorn-hunting -- that's the image of what "poly" is. And, while I'm on the subject, I'm not fan of Mormonism (I'll leave those reasons aside), but it's ridiculous to me that people in polygamous relationships get arrested and charged with crimes.
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Last edited by Chimera; 10-30-2011 at 01:34 AM.
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Old 10-31-2011, 05:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chimera View Post
There's often a lack of clarity around boundaries -- how one person understands a conversation about the relationship might be distinct from the other partner. Or one person has personal rules/boundaries that they don't really communicate to the other person, but assume that they're in agreement. There are times when the "cheating" is really a misunderstanding.
There is sometimes assumed monogamy also. Sometimes people just don't talk and expect that each other is doing what THEY think is appropriate. I have noticed that it is sometimes very convenient to NOT talk about something in order to get ones way and use that as an excuse to cheat.

Some people tell their partner they are poly and that is it. They don't expand on that or let the partner know what is going on for them and the partner is left in the dark about what is going on. Sometimes that leads to them believing that their partner is poly but has decided to be monogamous with them. Worse than that, that their partner has decided to not talk to them about it. Its not lying, but its just as bad in my book.
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Old 10-31-2011, 12:45 PM
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I was at a conference a few months ago that had sessions on various alternative sexualities - kink, poly, etc. I was at an incredibly fascinating session dealing with the findings of first study ever done on kinky women in any numbers. Anyway, the researcher tracked relationship styles of her respondents, allowing them to define themselves. As a result, she had a significant number of people who fall into the broad category of ethical non-monogamy. In the discussion following her presentation, one of the audience members stated that poly was not about ethics or honesty or could exclude all involved knowing the situation. (I'm paraphrasing - it was a while ago.) I was completely astonished by this statement. I still am. For me, and I've discussed this in other threads, the defining thing about polyamory is not the multiple love part - although that's important - but it's ethics of honesty and respect for all involved. Without those elements, it's cheating, as RP writes.
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Old 10-31-2011, 03:14 PM
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Poly to me is a way of being inside oneself that can cause people to cheat as a behaviour, but poly is not the behaviour of cheating itself. Thoughts?
In my opinion this is the best statement you have ever written Lilo. I think it is clear, very precise and reflects a valid point.
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