I will preface this by saying that i don’t actually know how i would handle things if my monogamous lover were to cheat on me. I can only say what i think i would do. I seem to pass a lot of respectful judgment on men and women alike who stay with partners who cheat. I hold the perspective, in this moment, that I would not settle for someone who felt cheating was a forgivable act. I wouldn’t be able to stay with someone who didn’t hold the same respect for the relationship as I did, and more importantly, would not want to live out the rest of my relationship with him/her 2nd guessing and constantly questioning everything they said.
It seems to me that the men and women who cheat, never truly have any intention of leaving their relationship. The act of cheating seems to fill an emotional void. One which either they need fulfilled mentally; someone to understand them, someone they can confide in and talk with or someone to meet their physical needs because they aren’t being met at home.
So where do you draw the line to define a cheater?
Is it someone who seeks out another partner for passion and affection so s/he can act on her/his physical desires? Or does the cheating begin when the flirtation enters into the communication? Is an emotional affair still considered cheating? How do we view our own actions and compare them to our partner; and once established, how do we agree on boundaries if our definitions are different?
As a therapist of 16 years and a PAST bartender, I have heard endless accounts of cheating and being cheated on. And, from what i have heard over the years, More often then not, the couple ends up staying together. Even after multiple affairs and side relationships that last longer then a few days or weeks.
And then i must ask, “does having a one night stand make it any more forgivable? easier to accept? If alcohol and/or drugs are involved, does that justify actions and void it of any real responsibility? And in the event that the couple stays together, how do you get past the cheating and move back into a space of trust?
Let’s not forget the individuals who were in involved in the affair- if you’re going into it knowing the person has a significant other/wife/husband, What can you possibly gain from being involved with someone who is already in a relationship? Is this a comfort zone because you don’t have to worry about attachments or are the expectations that of such, eventually, one day, s/he will leaver her/his husband/wife for you?
I certainly will agree that love is not entirely of our control. And, there are cases that place us in the path of individuals who are just simply meant to be in our lives romantically. Heeding, of course, the end of one relationship and the beginning of another. And so i commend these individuals who found love outside of their relationship, stepped into their truth, and made the brave exit to be happy elsewhere. There is certainly a level of respect these individuals demand by finding their voice and speaking their hearts truth.
So, Once again, i will highlight COMMUNICATION and, in this case, the importance of talking with one another if and when these feelings surface. If an open or polyamorous relationship is not discussed in the beginning of the courtship and you lose interest in the monogamy of it, then wouldn’t the adult thing to do in the event of changed feelings be to talk about it instead of sneak around?