There's been a lot of talk recently about infidelity and cheating and what it all means, especially in the context of this modern day world of the internet, technology and instant gratification. The lines between faithfulness and disloyalty seem to be getting more and more blurred. What with sexy texts, and online flirting, and the popularity of sending naked photographs, many of us seem to be getting confused and worried and, at times, a little in over our heads.
Adult Match Maker offers a range of options to create your perfect experiences - we don't judge, nor do we condemn those who play outside the rules - but we did want to address the topic and have a look at what it all means to you, and your partners.
What Is Infidelity
Whether you class looking and/or flirting as cheating or you draw the line at actual sexual contact, when it comes to being unfaithful the specific act itself is irrelevant and is something that is individual to each person and relationship. The crux of it however, the definition given by almost every person I spoke to, is the same. It is the breaking of trust and crossing the line you have both agreed on. A lot of times the problem comes quite innocently from not drawing clear lines in the beginning of your relationship, but there are many times when the line is crossed quite knowingly, and sometimes the consequences of this can be very damaging to yourself, your partner and your relationship as a whole.
Why Do People Cheat?
I spoke to quite a few people while researching this piece and one of the questions I asked was “why?” because, although I have been cheated on in the past, I myself have never cheated. (Except for once. And I was 14 years old. And I broke up with my boyfriend the next day. And the boy I kissed is now my husband... But I digress...)
I really wanted to understand why people did it. The answers I got were varied. There really is no one reason and, even though it's a more common thought, it often has very little to do to with the person being cheated on. I know the time I found out a partner had gone behind my back the first question I asked myself was “what did I do or not do that led them to that?” It wasn't a not-enough-sex thing, because I've always been very generous in that area, so then the internal worry of “what's wrong with me” would begin. “Am I too fat?” “Am I too ugly?” “Do I not turn him on?” “What could I have done differently?" But the thing I found out in the end was, it wasn't about me. It wasn't about what I lacked or what I couldn't provide, it was purely about him and what he wanted and how he felt. The fact that I was entirely left out of the equation was not really a comfort, but there wasn't anything I could do or change to make it stop.
But It Was Just A Text!
When it comes to fidelity and staying faithful to your partner you really need to listen to them and talk to them and create boundaries and lines and offer open communication. I myself have an open marriage and my husband and I often play with other people (together and separately) but there is always an openness about it. Always! He could, at any given day, go through my texts, emails, whatever and I would be perfectly okay with that. Yes there are sexy messages in there and some photos of myself or ones people have sent to me, but he knows that. He knows and is okay with it just as everyone who is involved with me is. I make boundaries very clear with playmates. They know my situation and they know the limitations of my involvement. If anything was to change within the boundaries of my relationship (and in the past things have) then we sit down and talk about it.
And that, my friends, is probably the key thing and what I got from almost every conversation I had with people. If you think you're doing something wrong... You probably are. If you think your partner may have a problem with a text, or a photo, or an act you have done, then that is most likely cheating. It's not rocket science, it really isn't. It's not about monogamy or what other people think or anything like that at all. It's about the rules you have set within the parameters of your own relationship. If, for whatever reason, the limitations and boundaries that are set in your relationship are not compatible with the way you want to live, and have no chance of being negotiated or changed, then it really is worth thinking about moving on. For your sake and the sake of your partners. It's not fair. You're both expecting different outcomes and different things, and someone is going to end up hurt and resentful. It's just the way it works. This works on both sides. I am not a monogamous person. I'm just not. I've tried it and I found it stifling. If someone cannot handle that about me, then that is up to them. But I make it very clear from the offset. This is where open communication from the beginning of your relationship is important. It can save a lot of pain and heartbreak later on.
The Other Side
In the conversation about infidelity we really do need to look at the other side. Not the cheaters or the cheated on but the people who are the lovers. Sometimes the lover is just as much in the dark. They don't know the person they are dating is married or in a long term relationship and that can be just as devastating. The betrayal is only matched by the guilt that you have been instrumental in someone's deception and, quite often, the blame is directed at you rather than the person who has done the cheating.
This happened to me once. A lover I had taken (with full consent of my husband) turned out to be in a relationship he had failed to mention. His partner was livid. Understandably so... But her rage was centred at me. I tried to explain to her that I had not known, but that was apparently irrelevant. They are still together from what I hear, and he is still off on his lying ways... But she still manages to bring me up in conversation as some sort of monster. Which I now have to think of as amusing, because anything else is just depressing.
I spoke to a lot of people who have been “the other person” in an affair and the reasons were varied. The most common one, however, was safety of non-commitment. Great sex, gifts, excitement, the thrill of the secrecy and no strings. Although, when someone is being lied to there are always strings, and the outcomes of these affairs rarely ended well. The partner found out or one person's feelings became greater than what was on offer and inevitably someone (often everyone) ended up being hurt. Then there are people (myself included) who, no matter what, will not willingly become part of your deception. It doesn't matter what you offer, what you look like, how great you are in the sack... If you are in a committed relationship with someone else and you seek to find a bit-on-the-side, don't be surprised if you get knock-backs. On those times when I set up dating profiles to find playmates for myself or my marriage, and you respond but your profile says you're married I will either ignore you or ask you if your partner is aware of your contact with me. If you say no it's game over, if you say yes, I will ask your partner to contact me. Don't get pissed off. Don't act like I've asked for something I am not entitled to. I am absolutely entitled to know the situation I may be getting into and I will not be a part of your lie. It is all about respect.
One thing was super clear in all the information I got and all the people I talked to was that once that trust was broken, regardless of what side you were on, it was almost impossible to get it back, and even when it was kind of mended, there was always that niggling doubt in the back of minds. “Would they cheat again?” “They will never trust me again.” and other thoughts like that. Emotions became heightened. Every buzz of a text message or ping of a Facebook post would cause anxiety, and simple, every day things like going to the shops or even to work were fraught with what ifs and doubts. Although it didn't necessarily stop a cheater from cheating, it really did cause tension, stress and, in many cases, inevitably led to the end of the relationship. You have to ask yourself if it's worth it.
I think the main points that you need to think about when considering cheating, or wondering if the message you just sent could be mistaken for cheating by your partner are these: Is it worth it? What would they say? Why am I doing it? And what does this say about me and my relationship?
Be honest and open and keep the conversations going because if you can't open your heart and mind to the person you've chosen to share your life with, then maybe it's time to ask yourself why.