What is cheating?

The title of this post is a question often contemplated by persons from all walks of life. I am not talking about cheating at cards or cheating at sports. I’m talking about cheating in a relationship.

To some, there’s simply no such thing. They feel that sex is sex and love is love, that the two do not necessarily go hand in hand, that one is not necessary to have the other. In some ways, these people are probably right. My own past experiences have proven to me that I can have sex without being in love, and that I might even enjoy it. Likewise, it is possible to fall in love with someone without sex being a factor. I can’t vouch for this personally, as I have pretty much started most of my relationships with the physical aspect being a quite prominent feature.

Still, I am a very jealous individual. Don’t get me wrong, years ago I wouldn’t have though twice about bedding more than one person, even without them knowing about each other. At some point in my life, though, something changed. I can’t pinpoint the exact date or time in which my attitude changed, but I know it did.

There are people who live, apparently quite happily, in what they call open relationships. They claim that it is possible to love and live with one person, and then have sex with random other people. These open relationship have ground rules set in place. In theory, if both parties agree to and follow said rules, it works out for everyone involved. Along a similar vein are swingers. These are couples who agree to bring a person or another couple into their marital bed, either for orgies or for spouse-swapping.

However, these sort of arrangements would concern me. For one thing, what happens if, somehow, a pregnancy results from such an arrangement? If the female in a couple got pregnant by someone she’d been out with, until a baby is born, it would be a guessing game as to who had fathered the child. If the male in a couple got another woman pregnant, he’d probably know he was the father, but how could he be a good one when he couldn’t commit fully to the care and nurturing of the mother or the baby, being that he was already in another relationship when the baby was created? And what about sexually transmitted diseases? I can’t see a win/win when it comes to diseases or infections.

Another type of relationship that I do not object to in theory or principle, but which I don’t see myself being able to participate in, is polygamy or polyamory. In polygamous relationships, men and women marry into a group rather than a couple. In polyamorous relationships, no one is married, but they are living together in a group. These arrangements take many forms as to whether men, women, or both are involved, how many of each are involved, and what roles each play in relation to one another. The main reason I would have issues being in this type of relationship is my jealousy. I understand the benefits–more people doing housework, more people helping to care for children, more incomes paying bills–but think the drawbacks are similar to open relationships.

They do say it takes a village to raise a child, and I suppose having children with more than one person would be easier to deal with if they all lived under one roof. In some versions of polygamy, every wife (or every husband) has to have their own residence, separate from the rest. In other versions, they all share a bedroom. In still other versions, they all live in the same house, but have their own rooms. I cannot claim to know enough about this type of relationship on the outside looking in to know whether it works or not for those involved, I just know that I couldn’t do it, unless if, perhaps, the other spouses/boyfriends/girlfriends were not allowed to touch me or my current husband in a sexual manner. But, even then, I don’t know if I could handle it.

Those living in open relationships, swingers, and those participating in polygamous or polyamorous relationships do not consider what they do to be cheating, although among these groups there are those who look upon the other types of groups as cheaters.

If one disagrees with these types of relationships, and decides that sex with anyone other than one’s chosen partner is, in fact cheating, is that the line drawn in the proverbial sand? Or are there aspects to cheating? To some of my peers, the viewing of pornographic material is grounds for a marital spat. Sure, it might be disheartening to discover that your spouse has an attraction to thin and busty dark-haired Asian women if you are a pasty pale fat whit chick with a disproportionately flat chest, but is pornography cheating? No physical contact has occurred. There is no risk of pregnancy or infection because no bodily fluids have been exchanged.

In a similar thread, what about phone-sex, sexting, cybering, or viewing/performing of private cam shows? In all of these scenarios, the results are similar to the viewing of pornographic material, but there is an added factor–the person being interacted with is someone who could be or already has been met in person. It is no longer an unattainable bunny in a glossy magazine or a large-dicked hunk in a well-choreographed triple x-rated film. It’s the girl next door, the guy down the street, the classmate, the coworker…the potential risk here is that the electronic interaction will, eventually, cease to be fully satisfying.

In my own marriage, I find no fault in the viewing of pornographic material. I have, however, mixed feelings about the other electronically based sex-acts. Beware the green-eyed monster, I suppose. I cannot say that I have never in my life participated in an electronically based sex-act. It is essentially masturbation with someone aiding in the masturbatorial fantasy. I know that my husband has done the same at points in his life. What we haven’t discussed is whether or not such things are allowed in our marriage. I have wanted to give him an emphatic and resounding “no” if it ever came up in conversation, but I’m not entirely sure that I have that control or that right to control.

For now, I know there is one definite thing that would constitute cheating in my marriage, and that would be if either he or I were to go and meet in person with other individuals and perform sex-acts of any kind, including the seemingly innocent holding of hands. Hugging can either be friendly or sexual; kissing I feel primarily for a sexual purpose, although there are innocent kisses. I cannot prevent the desire in my husband to do such things, but I should hope that out of love and respect for me the actions themselves would not occur.

System Of A Down–It’s a violent pornography, choking chicks and sodomy, the kinda shit you get on your TV.

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