Cheating: Third Party Part I

There are quite a few bloggers right now who are discussing the ever present subject of cheating so I figured I would add my two cents, but about the conversation that is not taking place.  The discussion I find lacking is not so much as to whether cheating is acceptable or not acceptable, but rather taking a look at the individual who is not a part of the two person commitment.  What role, and responsibility do these people have to sanctity of the relationship when they find out that the person they have had sexual activity with is not single.  I find this subject fascinating, and there are so many variables that come into play.  This third party is clearly a big factor in the cheating equation, so where does their responsibility lie.
I believe in theory we should avoid cheating at all costs.  Cheating can be a painful experience for all three parties involved.  There can be guilt, shame, and feelings of worthlessness.  But I have to confess that I am not positive that every man I have slept with has been single or more to the point that I even care.  The men I have slept with since being with my partner are merely fun on the side.  There was chemistry, or curiosity, a challenge and sometimes just fun.  Before anyone jumps to conclusions here, know that I am honestly admitting to this because I feel I am not a threat and that I do not wish to take on the role of anyone else s moral compass.  I take responsibility for my own actions and expect nothing less than the same from anyone else.  I anticipate the angry onslaught of e-mails here and yes I have been cheated on before and I know how it feels.  I also know that there are two sides to every story, and the girl/boy on the sides has a story and reason of their own if that is how they choose to act.  In my viewpoint, my fun on the side, are flings only and I get full disclosure on their physical health including sexual health but I do not make a habit of asking about their relationship status.  My flings are mainly comprised of a ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy, protecting both my relationship status and theirs.
If however the relationship status gets discussed I believe in full disclosure.  I think that if you find out that the guy you have just slept with or are planning to sleep with has a girlfriend/boyfriend it is best to just walk away.  And more often than not you will never see that guy again anyways.  The reality is you do not know why the guy was flirting back and you may have just saved his relationship, or in some cases been the catalyst that finally forces him to end things.  Either way, your responsibility is to keep your mouth shut, and walk away.  I think it is unkind in most cases to continue to flirt with a person once you have found out that they are in a relationship.  Again, cheating is bad for your own morality and the emotions of the person who will find out down the road that they have been cheated on.

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