What constitutes "cheating"?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by B_Stronzo, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    Recently I was away on a jaunt with my love. We were celebrating our 9th anniversary as lovers/boyfriends/best friends/fuck buddies. Before I go into detail let me assure anyone reading this that I love him beyond what I thought I could give to any individual on the face of this planet. He's simply the earth to me. He's tried and true and makes my heart go "pitter pat" when he walks into a room.

    Obviously my heart belongs to him.

    But something "came up" :cool: while I was away which has given me immense pause about the phenomenon of sexual commitment.

    I had an incident occur during my time away with him (at an immensely gay resort on Cape Cod) where I nearly compromised our monogamous commitment to one another. It came so close I nearly came literally. But I didn't. Only a passionate make out session and heaving groping ensued. Then I stopped it all. Fortunately I wasn't imbibing alcohol where everyone else was. So I could make an informed decision.

    I'd be interested to learn the other board views on what truly constitutes a compromise to commitment. Had I "done" this lovely man -and he me - would I have compromised my commitment to the man I love. Or is promiscuity part of the human formula? I enjoy being found attractive of course. But this thing nearly went beyond anything I've encountered in my extensive history with my b/f.

    The most unnerving part of it is that I can't quite shake the feeling of "aliveness" (for lack of a better word) this experience gave me. It hasn't left me since my return home.

    Sooooooooooooooooooooo - how do you guys feel about sexual monogamy generally? Is it overrated? Is it a good thing? Is it possible? I guess those are the questions. And should it be maintained in honor of one's commitment to a serious relationship?
     
  2. D_alex8

    D_alex8 Member

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    Generally speaking, I think the importance of monogamy for any individual is based, quite simply, on the values that were instilled in them during their formative years... and so, it's a real case of 'horses for courses'. If one was brought up believing that monogamy is crucial to a relationship, then that sentiment is likely to stay with one, inflexibly and unalterably... simply because it is part of one's inner definition of the 'correct rules of conduct' in love ... in short, part of one's very definition and perception of 'love'. However, if one's views were shaped at some point to see the world as simply a series of man-made constructs (voilà my autobiographical moment :rolleyes:), then one is unlikely to place much value in something one perceives as merely a bit of outmoded morality that was originally put in place simply as a means of controling behavioral freedoms.

    But that does not mean that either is less valid or crucial than the other to each individual; simply that individuals can only operate within the remits of their own world-view... meaning that the definitions of 'cheating' can be settled only in terms of what transgresses one's personal boundaries of acceptability/morality. A good key to gauging this might be,.... that if one feels guilty and down, then one knows one has allowed things to go further than they ought to in one's own perception; while if one feels happy and buoyant after the whole experience, it will be because one has maintained play within the field of personal accountability to oneself. :rolleyes:
     
  3. DC_DEEP

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    I don't think there is an absolute on this issue. It's been discussed here a couple of times, but I don't think the discussion should become stale.

    IMHO, cheating vs. fidelity is something that is defined uniquely within each couple. It all depends on your own ground rules, and even at that, it does not have to be static. The important thing is that you discuss it and understand what is acceptable and understood and expected within the context of your relationship.

    On one far extreme, some couples define "fidelity" as each partner so devoted to the other that even looking lustfully at someone else is a transgression; on the other extreme, anything goes.

    In my own situation, honesty and safer sex practices are the defining criteria. My partner is in Los Angeles this week, on business. I know he took condoms with him, and as long as he tells me about it, I don't have a problem with him using them. Most often, though, if another person is involved with either of us, sexually, we are a package deal. We've been together about 5.5 years now, love each other vastly and deeply, and are very happy. We both knew and understood from the beginning that we both preferred not to have a sexually exclusive relationship, and set our boundaries accordingly.

    I guess it all boils down to this: if you feel like you have to hide it or lie about it, you probably should not do it.
     
  4. Lex

    Lex
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    This hits at the subject of closed versus open relationships, especially within gay male relationships.

    I know a few couples and each of them appear to operate under a different set of rules:

    Closed and exclusive. Never play.
    Play together only.
    Play together or apart.
    Play apart safely and never speak of it.
    Play apart openly and with disclosure.


    I have seen men say that they are emotionally monogamous but not physically so.

    In the end, I think that these rules should be defined by the individuals within the confines of their relationship. That includes defining what "cheating" or "play" means.

    Here is a thread from the last time this came up.
     
  5. Gillette

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    Welcome back, Stronzo.


    As far a monogamy goes, each person is going to have a different take. I've heard people say that anything short of penetration isn't cheating. While for others just entertaining the idea is being unfaithful.

    I know exactly what you mean about that feeling of "aliveness" that comes from that comes from being found attractive by someone new. It can make you feel like jumping up and down shouting, "look at me world!" It's something to cherish and enjoy, but in my books not something to be acted on. Even if your parter never learns of it, you will know and it can eat at you and could destroy the bond you have with the one you love because now there is a part of you you can no longer share with them.

    I believe that promiscuity may be hardwired into our genetic makeup to a degree but I also believe that it can be detrimental to us. When we truly find a home for ourselves in another's heart, "Next!" isn't something that should occur to us.

    I hope that this post does not come off as damning, it isn't meant to be.I've been there myself, so this is perhaps written to the younger me.

    *edited to remove rude smart-ass remark
     
  6. Personally I'm not monogamous (imagine that :rolleyes:) but, I believe that I may be at some point in my life with the special person ... I do not think that it is the one true definition of love though, nor do I even think for one second that everyone's definition of love is (or should) be the same. Which to me is the beauty of the thing, that nobody has to tell you how to be in love ... that you and your partner know what's best :wink:
     
  7. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    This piece, in my own situation, is on target Alex.

    I feel moderate guilt about what little I did. I'll tell my boyfriend about it tonight. He already senses I'm "off".

    I don't come from a terrribly moralistic (read "in the bourgeois sense") background. I know both parents have experimented outside their pretty good marriage and they remain happily "ensemble".

    However the over-all feel is one of a buoyancy of spirit since much of the manifestation was psychological in nature and it made me euphoric in what almost constitutes a mesmeric way. Mix that with physical attractiveness and it was one helluva tough formula to match.

    And I think that's a perfectly charming response from what appears to be a truly thoughtful nineteen year old guy. I'm glad you're in our ranks tog.
     
  8. DC_DEEP

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    Some people still cannot get past that insecurity of "if my partner wants something from someone else, then I'm a failure at satisfying him." That's not the actuality, but it doesn't mean that it's wrong to have that perception. I have used the analogy before of oral sex. Some people like it, some don't. Some like to give it, some don't. Some like to receive it, some don't. It's astronomically rare to find two people who are 100% equally matched, sexually. Understanding (and being ok with) the fact that you can't provide some things your partner would enjoy is half the picture; the other half is being self-confident enough to make it happen anyway. Wanting to be able to provide something that you know your partner would enjoy, but that you cannot or will not provide, does not mean that either person loves the other any less.
     
  9. Shelby

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    In traditional relationships monogamy is all about protecting the kids.

    For everyone else I guess you just have to decide whether to cheat or play (interesting that these two words mean the same thing in this context) on your own.
     
  10. Matthew

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    I agree with what others have essentially said.

    As much as some would like to impose an "objective" outside standard, the limits of what "cheating" means can only be set by the couple in question. There are just too many nuances, variables and steps along the way to say that the line only exists in one place.
     
  11. yhtang

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    May all go well with you and your partner.
     
  12. DaveyR

    DaveyR Retired Moderator
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    I totally agree with Matthew - it is all about what you two decide and are both comfortable with.

    I think I already told you in PM I have a experienced similar situation myself and we worked through it fairly easily - with some good communication and understanding.

    We took the opportunity to agree on what we both expected of each other - as believe it or not it was not something we had discussed previously.

    Good luck Mate - I know you will work it out and come out stronger.
     
  13. stud_hunter

    stud_hunter New Member

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    There are a few questions there. As for what constitutes cheating, I think if there's deception or secrecy involved it's cheating. Partners can have all sorts of open arrangements with each other, but if one partner is doing something behind the other's back I think that's cheating, whether it's sex or kissing. As for whether monogamy is good, bad, overrated, etc., I think it depends on the people involved and the stage they're at. I was married for 16 years and I never cheated. As far as I know he didn't either. For most of that time I had no desire to cheat, but I'd be lying if I said I was never in a situation that tempted me, especially late in our marriage when things weren't great. But I've never been a big fan of dishonesty so I just didn't play that game. Now is quite different though. I'm enjoying the sexual freedom of single life and although I've quasi-dated a few guys, they know that at present I'm not interested in a monogamous relationship. Some guys might not be able to deal with that but I'm pretty honest with guys about where I'm at. I don't sleep around with every guy I meet either, but if I meet someone I want to have sex with I'm not going to be tied down by someone else. But that's now. If I had to guess at some point in the future I'll probably be done playing and want to settle into a monogamous relationship again. It's all about timing I think.
     
  14. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    Thanks yhtang. That's very kind.

    It's never really occured to me until now to consider anything beyond what I have. That's why what everyone's written here is so helpful. I do know that if he were to "stray" in that same way I'd be dreadfully hurt (even to the slight degree I did).

    He never (I mean I've never seen him) looks lustfully at another guy. I, on the other hand, often have "cute guy whiplash".:rolleyes: So it's not as though he doesn't know of my slut potential.

    Either way, I have to weigh the thing carefully.

    We've never had the need for a sexual boundaries discussion before so this could - after all is said and done - be inevitable and necessary. I'm certainly glad I stopped anything before it went further.

    This thing's confounded me because it was only "in theory" before. It got a bit close this time 'round.

    Yes we did have this discussion Dave - you and I. And your opinion is one I value above many on this board. So I take your advice willingly and with consideration.
     
  15. DC_DEEP

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    Stronzo, I certainly hope that you can discuss the matter productively, and decide between the two of you what your expectations are for each other.

    Not everyone is wired for the capacity to share their life partner; I'm lucky in that respect. But the two of you will be much better off once your boundaries are explicit, rather than assumed. I've never had any discourse with your partner, so I don't have a clue how he will respond. But please, do your best to keep it calm and rational while you have "the talk." You may find out things about him, and even about yourself, that surprise and buoy you. Use it as a growth opportunity. Those don't come along as often as they should, and are all too often mistaken for something else. My best to you both.
     
  16. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    Thanks DC. We've both been so immersed in a business venture lately that this thing has caught me by surprize. I will say that he's easily the more studied of us and is disinclined to react without proper consideration no matter what the issue. When he and I first met I found him in a bit of a compromised situation with his previous "other half". I went nuts. He hadn't done anything but the potential was certainly there. To this day I believe I prevented it from happening by my appearance at the scene. He says no.

    No matter. That was well before our commitment to share every aspect of our lives was firmly in place as it is today. But he plays things very close to the vest and one virtually needs a pick and hammer to get at what's truly going on inside. Last year when we were staying with my cousins at Sunapee he (it turns out) had a lengthy discussion with my female first cousin about the nature of his affection. Only through her recounting of this conversation did I get a window into how he truly feels.

    Stronzo: "Goodnight you. I love you"

    Stronzo's partner: "Goodnight"

    Stronzo: "No. Goodnight Stronzo I love you too."

    Stonzo's partner: "Yeah yea. That's a given. Now kiss me."

    It's a demonstrative thing for him since he's less comfortable with words.



    I suspsect (much as in theory I wish it were not the case) that I fall into those who are not.


    Not surprizing since every time he sees me posting here he says "is that that big cock place?" Then he rolls his eyes.

    Most things are 'growth opportunities'.:wink: This latest sojourn of ours was one in a great many ways not simply the one I recount here. And here I thought we were simply noting the passing of nine years...:redface:

    But more subjectively, his ability to make me reasonable is one of the things I love about him best DC. What's most interesting is where I like "to talk everything to death" (as he puts it) he can communicate more with a gentle look or a reassuring touch -as he did in the truck coming back from our celebration yesterday ... Where my passion about things confounds him often his acceptance of all things with utter complacency often frustrates me. But in the end the forumla has proved itself a workable one in our considerable history. I'm sure he'll be glad I told him about the thing.

    No doubt he was at the neighboring guest house doing similar things...:eek: :cool:

    Thanks. I appreciate your interest.
     
  17. DC_DEEP

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    Stronzo, this is a very telling couple of phrases here. It may be an epiphany without either of you realizing it. Imagine this: You are tempted, succumb somewhat but not completely, and feel guilty. He is tempted (in the neighboring guest house), succumbs somewhat but not completely, and also feels guilty. You remember the old short story, "The Gift of the Magi"? There's kind of a strange simile. The temptation is there, but because you have conditioned yourself to think it's "wrong" you think it's wrong... even though it's something you both might be OK with but you won't let yourself.

    Ok, I'm babbling. I'll stop here, I think you understand where I'm going.

    P. S. Welcome back.
     
  18. dong20

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    Hey....welcome back.

    I think what Alex8 said come close to my view on this, if you feel that you cheated then chances are you 'did'.

    In general terms, if partners don't define boundaries how can they know when and if they're being crossed? If boundaries are defined and mutually agreed, then wilfully crossing them is a breach of trust, and without trust almost any relationship will struggle to survive, however casual it seeks to be. Can broken trust can be rebuilt? Possibly, but it's bloody hard work.

    When younger I have certainly 'felt' like I cheated, or at least behaved in a way that made me question my loyalty even when by any 'standard' yardstick I hadn't. I don't know that one can always define what constitutes 'cheating'. For some a flirtatious look is enough, others a stolen kiss, still others a clandestine meeting...and so on, just where is that line? As DC said, it's personal and people can rationalise anything when it suits them.

    Well, that's what works for me, it may not work for all, indeed I know it doesn't but you did ask...:biggrin1:
     
  19. B_Stronzo

    B_Stronzo New Member

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    I do DC!!! I know just where you're going!:eek:

    Wait until that muthah fuckah gets home tonight! I'm gonna crucify him!!

    The very idea.:cool:
     
  20. DC_DEEP

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    Strip him down and lick him all over, I promise that's much more fun than crucifixion!!!!
     
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