I am a woman who is a solo polyamorist. I experienced a painful break-up with a FWB over a year ago, and I took it very hard (I have never taken this long to get over a break-up before), so I’ve been a poly without any relationships for a long time. Over the past six months or so, I’ve become tired of my loneliness and feeling ready to get back in the love game – but I am not interested in a “primary type” of relationship. I like being solo and having slightly more casual parameters to my relationships, though that doesn’t mean I don’t want them to be loving and caring. I just value my alone time, too
Anyway, now that I have been putting the “available” vibe on, it seems I keep attracting married men who would be cheating on their spouses. I don’t know what to do.
I used to date married men years ago, when I was much younger. I know what it’s like, and I used to justify what I was doing in many ways. But now that I practice poly – you know, everything is supposed to be above board and totally honest. However, I can’t help but wonder if it really is so bad to be someone’s mistress, in certain circumstances. I am lonely and an introvert. I don’t meet available guys very often, and have never been attracted to anyone at my local poly group’s gatherings. I want a lover/casual relationship, not a boyfriend to be closely intertwined in my life, so dating someone that I can only see once every week or two works fine for me. If I have a couple of casual partners like that, it would be my version of poly heaven. If I’m also a relationship anarchist, is my partner’s choice to cheat really my responsibility? Aren’t relationships supposed to be on our own terms?
If staying in an unhappy marriage would hurt him, and coming clean about affairs or wanting to open the marriage would hurt her, what is to be done? There are two guys I cannot stop thinking about. I know they both want to have affairs with me. Doing so fits into my life, and I can’t be sure that their wives would be hurt by their cheating, can I? I kissed one of them, and got naked and fooled around with the other (no intercourse). I know that there are many married, monogamous wives who assume their husbands will eventually cheat and would rather not know for sure. It seems a relationship is starting with the one I got naked with, but we’re still getting to know each other.
I would like to get some logical perspectives from other poly peeps on being involved with a cheater, on both sides – meaning other than the usual poly view that all cheaters are as evil as Hitler. I am in a quandary because of both societal expectations surrounding marriage, and the influence of poly dogma over the last four years since I embraced polyamory. I feel that it is important to make my choices based on reason and my own ethics, rather than what others tell me I should do. I just would like some insights from others that perhaps I haven’t yet seen. Thanks, in advance, for any words of wisdom you can offer.
If you’re asking for compassion, yeah, that’s all yours. I can summon that.
Approval? Logical permission to participate in cheating?
No. I’m sure that a reader or two of mine would be able to do so, but I’m going to tell you now, that we’d be coming from very different ethical systems.
This isn’t about open=good and cheating=Hitler, honest no kidding.
This is about ethics and who and what you are as a human being, and who you want to be. Where are your principles based? Really, what’s ethically important to you? What are the principles on which base your actions? This is less about polyamory and what sort of human being you are going to consciously choose to be.
No-one can do this for you, and there are going to be people who will choose to judge you harshly no matter what choice you make. There really are people in this world who, because I do not believe in monogamy, consider me so morally bankrupt that I’m worthy of nothing more than a death by torture. That’s not hyperbole, but is a real thing you can find in news stories less than six months old.
So, what are you doing? What do you want to be about and why? Think hard about it, because this is a big question.
You asked if your partner’s choice to cheat is your responsibility. Of course, it isn’t. But I don’t give a damn how introverted you are (and I’m pretty far out there on the introvert scale, myself) you don’t live in a vacuum. The behavior I am most ashamed of in my life, the worst choices I have ever made, were when I allowed myself to be intimately involved with people whose ethical standards were not in harmony with the person I wanted to be. No, it’s not anyone else’s fault I chose to behave the way I did. That’s on me, forever and always. But I can tell you that it is astronomically easier to live up to your own standards when you surround yourself with people who also share those values.
Now, I’ve gone all into values and stuff, and that’s really important. But here’s my reason for not participating in cheating. I’ve done it in the past and I’ve decided I don’t want to. Sure, sure, lofty principles and all, but there’s another, utterly base and selfish reason I don’t.
If you get involved with a cheater, you already have proof this person is utterly comfortable lying to get what he wants, and that his desires in the moment are more important than any long-term commitment. He’s also proven he will not negotiate openly and honestly in a difficult or emotionally risky situation, or he would have tried to have a discussion with his wife about open relationships. If he wants something from you, he will lie to you to get it. If there’s information you think you should have that would be painful or risky to give you, you won’t get it. He doesn’t think you’re special enough to treat you differently in the long run. He’s already proven that. I’m chicken. That sort of thinking scares the bajeebers out of me, so I don’t go there.
3 thoughts on “Participating in Cheating”
OMG thank you. So so this. I’ve been in love with someone like this and broke up with him over it. Nail, meet head.
Thank you. I’ve been rationalizing a relationship with a former partner who was very obviously cheating. I wanted so badly to believe he was a good (albeit misguided) person making the best of a difficult situation.
Unsurprisingly, he did the exact same thing to me that he did to his wife.
Because he was an asshole.
But worse–for my purposes–is the fact that I compromised my own ethics. I knew better. And I helped him treat another woman–a woman he claimed he loved–like trash.
This was exactly the slap in the face I needed, at the moment I needed it most.
It isn’t meant to be a slap. *wince*
I have failed to live up to my own standards before and wow, that’s toe-curlingly cringeworthy when you face it.
You just have to take a deep breath and say to yourself, “I know better. Time to do better.”
It’s rough, I know.