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How do you define cheating?

snippets of what people shared on campfire.

Sophie

hello, everyone! i experienced cheating in a non-monogamous relationship and i am sooooooo tired of people not understanding that it's possible ๐Ÿ™„ how do you define cheating?

Debs

Any form of dishonesty or boundary breaking perhaps? "Cheating" as a term feels odd but it can totally happen, I'm sorry that it happened to you โค๏ธ

Aitor

I think itโ€™s a form of betrayal and thatโ€™s why it hurts. And i kind of think cheating/betrayal has taken place if anyone involved thinks it has. I.e if you feel betrayed then you have been, if someone feels they have cheated on you and you donโ€™t even know you have been. I guess Iโ€™m more focussed on the emotions surrounding it than arguing over facts & severity etc.

Samy

Once a (primary) partner asked me if I would mind if theyโ€™d see someone we know for sex. The following morning they told me they spent the night with this person. I felt cheated because, although I said yes to a general agreement, they didnโ€™t keep me up to date with this other partner coming to spend the night. So cheating can be a very subjective perception.

Debs

I'd be surprised if most people haven't cheated at some point, especially when we don't know/recognise our needs. I certainly have (in a very unhappy monog relationship, but it was still cheating). Joel's right, it's that thing of hiding something from the partner, and then the question I would ask is why do you need to hide that thing? If its something you need, why can't you ask for it openly? And then you get into a lot of potential relationship questions

Luke

I'm in an ENM relationship. As soon as we had the conversation and decided we were in a relationship, it was ENM. We defined some very simple rules. I would be able to see people aside from my partner, and she would want to be told only after it happened. She would be able to do the same but wanted to tell me in advance. This was her preference and I was happy to see how it worked in practice. At the time we were living apart.There was one instance that according to those rules we agreed she "cheated" because she'd hooked up with someone and didn't tell me in advance. I was upset, not because of what she'd done, but because she'd set this rule which seemed to be more inconvenient for her to follow and broken it anyway.This didn't happen again but we'd agreed to continue to follow it that way. Over time its developed into is both making each other aware of a planned or spontaneous hookup in advance as much as possible

Aitor

Itโ€™s impossible to go through life without hurting people and a wise person told me itโ€™s much easier to be hurt by people you love. Butโ€ฆ vindictive, intentional hurting someone, thatโ€™s just really cruel. Doing something *because* it will hurt someone is abuse.

Jake

Lots of great discussion on this topic already wow!!I

think I'm quite hung up on the word "cheating" at the moment, it's generally very poorly defined but the implications of cheating from a societal point of view generally seems to be "your relationship is broken" or "you should now end your relationship". So I think using the work cheating is very emotionally weighted and could probably come across very accusatory and aggressive. Especially if one party honestly didn't realise they were doing something to make their partner unhappy.Obviously this is an idealised view and isn't necessarily possible when emotions are running high, but honest and open communication about any incidents that occurs would probably be the best way forward rather than immediately labelling someone as a cheater.

If the hurt party can explain why they feel hurt and the offending party can explain why they did the act that the other considered to be uncomfortable, then everyone can learn and grow and be more considerate of each other's feelings going forward ๐Ÿ˜Š

Samy

Your subjectivity is precisely the mainstream view some monogamous people have on cheating within non-monogamy: itโ€™s not cheating if you have agreed on being open in the first place.

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