Getting answers to those questions could infuse your relationship with some excitement

Getting answers to those questions could infuse your relationship with some excitement

“Cheating” has a broad scope of definitions and is difficult to define. Here are some of the definitions across the board:

“[T]he breaking of a promise to remain faithful to a romantic partner, whether that promise was a part of marriage vows, a privately uttered agreement between lovers, or an unspoken assumption.”

“[Cheating occurs when] two people have agreed to be sexually exclusive and one or more of them has clandestine sex outside the relationship while pretending to be monogamous and lying to their partner with active manipulation and/or omission of information.”

Why people cheat

Findings from “Betrayals in Emerging Adulthood: A Developmental Perspective of Infidelity” by Jerika Norona, et al (Journal of Sex Research, 2018) state that those researched in the study cheated primarily due to unfulfilled interdependent needs, such as intimacy, affiliation, and sexual reciprocity.

Cheating in polyamory

“Psychologist and sex and intimacy coach Dr Lori Beth Bisbey says that in non-monogamous relationships, cheating is less about the activity, and more about violating the trust you’ve built up in your relationship. ‘In non-monogamy, you set down how you’re going to manage relationships and what the boundaries are,’ she said. ‘So when you break that, you spit in the face of the work that you’ve done in the relationship. It’s not about sex, it’s not about jealousy-although contrary to popular opinion, that is also something poly people struggle with-it’s about the lie.’”

There was some discussion as well about the concept of cheating being outdated and useless, such as the concept of virginity, and is rooted in insecurity and a desire for control.

Our Patron and former guest Phoebe Phillips discusses on her blog, Polyammering, how cheating is a phenomenon that occurs outside of relationships as well (games, etc).

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Martha Kauppi, our guest last week, discusses trust and infidelity in her book as well, Polyamory: A Clinical Toolkit for Therapists (and Their Clients).

Actionable takeaways from this episode

If I’m not sure or if I’m using a loophole to rationalize my actions, am I willing to discuss it with my partner in advance to ensure they are aware of my intentions?

Additionally, Esther Perel, author of the book The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity, argues for a more compassionate approach to the inevitable phenomenon of infidelity. She suggests:

Strip it of its moral power (i.e. don’t think your partner is a bad, morally irredeemable person for doing it).

Transcript

This document may contain small transcription errors. If you find one please let us know at and we will fix it ASAP.

Jase: On this episode of the Multiamory Podcast, we’re talking about cheating in relationships, in particular in non-monogamous relationships, as well as monogamous ones. There has been some debate on this topic recently and the question has been posed of whether it’s even possible to cheat in non-monogamous relationships. Today, we’re doing a deep dive into what it means to cheat, why people do it, how we as a society define cheating in both traditional and non-traditional relationships, and some actionable takeaways to think about if you’ve cheated or been cheated on.

Emily: This topic is indeed a doozy and it’s something that we have spent time on but it’s been a while, I think, since we’ve devoted a whole episode to cheating in non-monogamy or cheating in general. A lot of people come to non-monogamies by way of cheating but today we’re more just going to talk about cheating in non-monogamy and if it’s possible. This topic came up just because our research assistant for this episode, Kiana, notified us of this article that was making the rounds and various non-monogamous communities and it’s called I Am a Proud Homewrecker, Ask Me Anything.

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