I’ve been cheated on, and I’ve been asked to cheat on a partner, but I never have. And believe it or not, I’ve been criticised for that standpoint. I’ve been called boring and conservative. When, I ask you, did having some morals suddenly become an indicator of being boring and a staid conservative, rather than a good and decent person?
If you choose to have an open relationship, I respect that. I don’t pretend to understand it, but I respect it. I won’t preach to you about how wrong your lifestyle is, even if it makes no sense to me whatsoever, and I expect you won’t preach to me about mine.
But of course, by ‘open’, I mean a relationship in which you have actually informed your partner of your intention to have sex with other people, and he or she agrees; not a relationship in which you just choose to take such matters into your own hands and gloss over the details with your partner. Because that’s not an open relationship, it’s just cheating.
One of the arguments put to me by some brave soul, who weathered the first eruption of Mt Ciara when he inappropriately propositioned me, was ‘life is too short to only have sex with one person’.
Is it? Is it really? Let’s assume for the sake of the argument that it is and examine the other problems with this statement and why it’s not a justification for cheating.
Monogamous relationships are 100% voluntary. If you don’t want to enter into one, guess what? You don’t have to! If you want to live the single life forever and sleep with a different person every night, go for it! If you can find a girl (or guy) to agree to an open relationship, then I guess you can even have your cake and eat it too.
But if you freely enter into a monogamous relationship, represent to your partner or otherwise lead them to believe it’s monogamous, and then you have sex with someone else, I’m sorry, that’s immoral. No argument you put to me is going to make me agree it’s not. Because one thing I’ve noticed is that, when you pin them down, even the people who argue to me that cheating is not immoral have to admit that lying is wrong.
And what is cheating, when you boil it right down? Telling your partner one thing and doing another. That, ladies and gentleman, is lying. It’s dishonest, it’s hurtful and it destroys trust much faster than you can ever build it. The other funny thing is that most people who advocate cheating would still go after the bastard who did it to his sister or daughter (or son, or brother, for those women who are so violently inclined – want to borrow my sword?). Try not to be hypocritical either.
And for those of you who want to tell me cheating is a victimless crime, I’m here to tell you it’s not. For someone on the receiving end, this not only destroys trust and hurts, because they’ve been lied to, it also destroys self-esteem and causes loss of confidence and self-doubt. When someone lies to your face and goes behind your back to have sex with someone else, even the strongest and most robust ego has to wonder ‘What’s wrong with me?’ And this is someone you’re supposed to care about? I hate to see what you do to your enemies.
So, is the argument ‘life’s too short to only have one partner’ a valid argument against fidelity?
Not if you voluntarily agreed to enter into a monogamous relationship!
This is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge Series. If you missed the previous posts, you can find them here - A, B, C, D and E.
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Author’s Note: This argument does, of course, assume that you did freely enter into the relationship. Circumstances of forced marriage are a different situation and not dealt with in this post.