March 5, 2008
Can Poly People Cheat?
It might seem like a silly question. I mean, if you are poly, then there can be no cheating, right? This is entirely false, and I will show you why.
When you enter into a poly relationship, you hopefully do so with the consent and the knowledge of all those involved. When you find a new girlfriend, you do not “forget” to tell her about your wife, nor do you remove your wedding ring when you head to the bar. For unmarried couples who are getting into poly, these same rules apply. To do otherwise is deceptive to the person that is kept in the dark.
Let me make it clear, also, that if you are having sex with other people and your partner does not know… this is not poly, it is cheating. Trying to dress it up with a legitimate label is false, and it sure won’t save your butt when you get caught.
That said, it is also important to know that poly relationships differ from each other. My husband and I are fluid bonded (obviously), but we are not allowed within our relationship to have unprotected sex with other people. If I were to go enjoy some fellow, everything would be find in our world. If I did so without a condom, it would be a violation of his trust, and would be considered cheating. Some couples require that sex only be engaged in when both members of the couple are present with the third (or more). Some prefer that their partner inform them at least 24 hours before they have a date. Some require permission before anyone is allowed to enjoy another person physically.
Whatever the limits of the poly relationship, breaking those limits is a betrayal of trust and, yes, it is cheating. Some people even cheat on purpose, perhaps seeing the person that they care for but that their primary partner does not approve of. In poly, trust and respect are very important, and cheating is a devastating betrayal of trust to which even we are not immune.