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  #11  
Old 01-15-2010, 09:37 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
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What can be done to take what we know about cheating and affairs and make it a useful tool so that people can be healed from it rather than hurt from it?
I've given a little thought to this and the more I look at it the simpler it seems.

Again - keeping this in the limited framework of 'marriage' (or equivalent) I see two immediate actions that could (in theory) be implemented.

1> Institute a policy that makes a course in "Relationships & Communication" mandatory before anyone would agree to license or perform said marriage. This course could also be implemented at secondary school level - even mandated for graduation. The schools have long failed now to educate our children in relative life skills anyway. A dual win.
Included in this course would be some real detailed stuff, some of it psychological, some sociological, and include discussions of the role of sex, needs, non-aggressive communication (term slips my mind - NVC?) etc. Included in this education would be the concept of polyamory !

2> Removal of "sex" from it's current pedestal as the epitome of marriages & relationships. 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.
To me, it's time that the fact that sexual fidelity is NOT a critical part of any relationship, unless the involved parties deem it so themselves (mutually), needs to be brought to light and accepted by the population as a whole.
Doing so would change the whole dynamic of relationships from the beginning. Everyone would be encouraged to bring out and discuss their sexual preferences & desires no different than their views on politics, religion etc which currently get more attention in the early stages of relationships than that which is far more critical !
When we have relationships that acknowledge that we love each other for more important reasons than the fact that we can sleep together and that if there's some particular sexual element we are incompatible on and are free to (responsibly) pursue that on our own-with full support of our partner(s), then the entire concept of "cheating" goes away.

But that's too simple - right ?


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  #12  
Old 01-15-2010, 11:01 PM
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lovefromgirl lovefromgirl is offline
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Rarechild's observation that giving 100% includes both darkness and light is valid for me; I forget sometimes that it's okay to share what hurts, and so I am reminded by my loved ones not to bottle it all up.

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1> Institute a policy that makes a course in "Relationships & Communication" mandatory before anyone would agree to license or perform said marriage. This course could also be implemented at secondary school level - even mandated for graduation. The schools have long failed now to educate our children in relative life skills anyway. A dual win.
This is brilliant. Make it a semester course, with the other semester being health education -- a fine pair.

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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'd say the betrayal of trust would hurt more, actually. I don't care which act a partner lies about; the lie itself is the real knife between the ribs. Do I like sexual fidelity? Sure. That's me, though. I have characters in a work-in-progress who don't care about it so much as long as it's all being talked about. In fact, one character regularly biffs off for a Friday night on the town, with the understanding that she's going to use protection and only go off with people who won't try to maim her. Her partner (later, partners) certainly don't mind.

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When we have relationships that acknowledge that we love each other for more important reasons than the fact that we can sleep together and that if there's some particular sexual element we are incompatible on and are free to (responsibly) pursue that on our own-with full support of our partner(s), then the entire concept of "cheating" goes away.
Perhaps, as outlined above, the concept could be redefined in a way that doesn't stigmatise sexual freedom?
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  #13  
Old 01-15-2010, 11:10 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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I'd say the betrayal of trust would hurt more, actually. I don't care which act a partner lies about; the lie itself is the real knife between the ribs.
You're 10,000% right on this one Girl !
But in the context we were digging into, sexual indiscretion WAS being evaluated as that final breaking of trust for the purposes of discussion.

We (mate & myself) can both back you up completely on your statement about trust. It's the biggest knife & bloodiest wound. The point should have been made clearer that it's often (or usually) sex that ends up drawing that knife.

So glad you added that !

GS
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  #14  
Old 01-15-2010, 11:32 PM
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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Last edited by CielDuMatin; 01-15-2010 at 11:44 PM. Reason: typo
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  #15  
Old 01-16-2010, 12:20 AM
OurDream OurDream is offline
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Quote:
1> Institute a policy that makes a course in "Relationships & Communication" mandatory before anyone would agree to license or perform said marriage. This course could also be implemented at secondary school level - even mandated for graduation. The schools have long failed now to educate our children in relative life skills anyway. A dual win.
Included in this course would be some real detailed stuff, some of it psychological, some sociological, and include discussions of the role of sex, needs, non-aggressive communication (term slips my mind - NVC?) etc. Included in this education would be the concept of polyamory !
Absolutely brilliant.

I think it would be KICKASS if we could create a class like this. If we used it-to teach our own kids at home, inevitably they will start talking and other kids curiosities will be raised. ESPECIALLY at the highschool level-that would open a lot of doors for sharing.

I would LOVE to see it implemented in schools for sure, but when we're talking about something that isn't even created, first we need it created (takes time) then we need to push for it to be added to school curriculums (LOTS LOTS MORE TIME) but we could create it and implement it fairly quickly on a at home basis and make it available for others (via the net for example) fairly quickly as well..
then still work on the side to promote it...

BRILLIANT idea.
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Old 01-16-2010, 01:18 AM
OurDream OurDream is offline
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I wonder if others subscribe to the point of view of a relationship works best if the partners all give evenly to the relationship 100% and what that means to them.
I absolutely do. Having been party to relationships where that was not happening-I can attest that it takes both parties personally FEELING and committing to full responsibility-in order for a relationship to work in a healthy, functional manner.
Like your quote!

Quote:
What can be done if one person is giving a relationship 100% and the other isn't?
Harder question. I think:
First it needs to be pointed out. How to do that w/o coming down on them.. not sure on that one.

Second the person who IS holding up their end of the bargain needs to lay out how this is impacting their needs, and find ways to fulfil their needs (OPENLY and HONESTLY).

Third steps should be laid out for resolution of the issue-or the relationship should be terminated if it's not possible to lay out steps that are agreeable to both for resolving the issue.

Fourth there should be a timetable, not necessarily SPECIFIED DATES FOR FULL RESOLUTION, but definitely a time table for checking to be sure the proper steps are being taken for resolution and those times should be adhered to.

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What can be done to take what we know about cheating and affairs and make it a useful tool so that people can be healed from it rather than hurt from it?
I think starting with educating ourselves and each other about where the REAL breakdown is, then creating educational material for teaching people what the breakdown is and what is necessary to avoid it, then implementing that material on a big scale (like public schools).

The first roadblock I see is the pervasive attitude that cheating is the cheaters problem. It's very easy to lay all of the blame on the cheater because "if they weren't happy they should have left".
But that doesn't get down to what the REAL PROBLEM in the relationship was.
When someone cheats-there was a problem.
When someone leaves-there was a problem.

IF we can identify the PROBLEMS that cause people to terminate relationships or to cheat, then we can start working on how to educate people (ourselves included) on how to avoid those problems.

One of the NUMBER one problems (this is a guess not a statistic) is surely communication breakdown (if it ever got started to begin with).

I find that there is an... underlying communication between bodies during NRE..something unspoken.
It can compel people to commit to relationships without doing the "dirt work" to ensure that they are compatible OUTSIDE OF the physical attraction realm.
Then when they get past the NRE and "real life" hits them, they are astounded to find out that their bodies didn't warn them that the other person was a slob, or whatever.

Suddenly they can't fathom why they were attracted to the other in the first place, because now they are aware of all of the OTHER parts of the person that their conscious mind wasn't paying attention to when it was letting the libido make decisions.

Even if they BOTH KNOW how to properly communicate in theory-they never did before making rash decisions to be together.

I spent over 2 years getting to know one of my lovers before we went past JUST platonic friendship. There was NRE between us-but I knew from past experience that letting myself jump into a relationship with someone before I'd gotten past that sense of "OMG THIS PERSON IS SOOOOO (pick your pesonal favorite term here)" was destructive.
Even after 2 years of really getting to know him, when he moved in we had more adjusting to do, because we keep our homes differently.

When educating people on the proper methods for productive communication, we need to include the necessity for communication prior to establishing relationships and we also need to address WHAT needs to be communicated ABOUT prior to establishing those relationships....

Off to think more...
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  #17  
Old 01-16-2010, 03:37 AM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
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What can be done if one person is giving a relationship 100% and the other isn't?
I think that the scenario that presents more often than one member giving less than 100% is that one person's 100% may not actually match up with another person's 100%. So it's not a matter of quantity, but simply differences in needs and how those needs get met. Though there are clearly times when one partner does give less than another. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons. If one partner is dealing with a serious illness and needs to focus on healing, it is completely right and understandable that they have less to give to the relationship at that time. A healthy relationship can weather such ebbs and flows.

But I honestly don't think having a healthy relationship is that complicated. The guidelines that I follow are:
  • Know yourself, your needs and your goals in life and in love. Understand that those needs can change and continually keep awareness of that.
  • Move forward with partners who share or are compatible with those needs and goals.
  • When exploring a relationship, don't be afraid to ask for what you need.
  • Have concrete effective communication tools that you both use together.
  • Be explicit with your commitment to each other and to the relationship.
  • Check in and communicate when you feel imbalance.
  • Understand that while love is necessary for a healthy relationship, it is not sufficient for a healthy relationship. In other words, it's possible to be completely utterly in love with someone and still not be good partners for each other.

I know that some perceive my ideas around partner selection to be a rather cold and calculated approach, though the reality of it is far from that. Exploring relationships with people who have strong shared values and communication creates a lovely place where hearts can be open. That doesn't mean that I don't fall hard for someone. It just means that for me, I know that falling hard isn't enough.

Last edited by Ceoli; 01-16-2010 at 11:59 AM. Reason: fix formatting
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  #18  
Old 01-16-2010, 06:45 PM
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I find it very interesting that so far it is seeming that those of us who have cheated or been cheated on seem to be so concerned about not having that happen again that we are putting perhaps MORE work into our relationships to ensure it doesn't. Could it be that for this reason there is a drop of health and benefit from having experienced cheating?

I like what Ceil says about games. I know how to play "go fish" with my child or "connect four" by the rules yet he pushes them to get his need to win meet and we argue about it. Sometimes I tell him its enough, and walk away. Perhaps there are some hidden lessons in that for him that I have been over looking and not considering? Hmmm... We have gotten to the point where I have been able to point out to him the benefits of losing. They are that it means he can work on increasing his skills to beat me and use that losing feeling to do better. Maybe I should talk to him about how we could change the rules so we both win. A life lesson through games I had never thought of. How would that roll over into the video games he loves I wonder. They offer a whole other set of rules and give a whole other view on winning sometimes.

Very interesting so far. I'm thinking a lot on this and its really helping me move forward in my frustration around cheating.

Another thing... I agree that those who cheat repetitively are in a different category somehow than those who have one offs. Something different there that I have been thinking about. Also that it all revolves around communication break down and fear to get back on it. Sometimes beacause the two people have moved away from each other, sometimes not.

Off to think more.
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  #19  
Old 01-16-2010, 06:50 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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The difference is that a deck of cards and a bunch of plastic disks don't have feelings, so you're better off experimenting with "cheating" that way instead of involving one or more sentient unsuspecting party.
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Old 01-17-2010, 04:34 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Hmmm... We have gotten to the point where I have been able to point out to him the benefits of losing. They are that it means he can work on increasing his skills to beat me and use that losing feeling to do better. Maybe I should talk to him about how we could change the rules so we both win. A life lesson through games I had never thought of.
Yea RP,

That's an interesting insight. It also speaks to something that gets spoken of a lot in that most people have come to the realization that the best relationships just 'happen'. There's a component of the whole search process that attaches to our natural competitive natures. It's sets up the whole win/lose environment (even within ourselves) and once that ball starts rolling it seems something always get's ......lost.
I had in the past been heavily involved (for about 15 yrs) in coaching youth sports teams. In this environment you always hear all the praises sung of lessons learned about winning, losing, self improvement etc through competition. However in the end I gave it up. I came to the conclusion after watching how some of these supposed 'lessons' got carried forward into life that there was as much distortion and harm as benefit. Competition itself breeds it's own poison. I became an advocate of banishing scoreboards ! Focus on the flow of the game. Your own skills. The enjoyment of it. When it's over you can't help but of learned some things about yourself, others and the game in general. That way everyone wins. Keeping score only changes the focus.

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