I had an interesting conversation with a colleague recently about why people cheat on their partners. It was interesting to me because I think it has become more of a common occurrence these days. Casual sex is much easier to come by with the advancement of technology, including apps like Tinder… and dare I say it, even Snapchat. What sparked my decision to write a post on this was an article I read about women being solicited by men solely for the purpose of being a “side chick”. This got me thinking. When it comes to casual sex, do we value monogamy over honesty and convenience? What I mean by all of this is whether we appreciate that honesty and accept the fact that the person is in a relationship? Or do we want that person to be monogamous even when it comes to a sexual relationship?
I would like to preface this by saying that I don’t have an opinion as far as cheating goes. I certainly don’t condone the dishonesty, but I don’t think we should make judgments on situations that we aren’t in. Or don’t understand because we haven’t been part of. I don’t like to admit either of these things, but there is certainly power in being honest, so here goes. I have been on both sides of that coin. I’ve been in a situation where my partner was having a relationship (or maybe more than one) outside of our “committed” relationship. But I’ve also been the other woman. More than once. In one instance, it was extremely dishonest. I was under the impression that we were dating with the possibility of leading to a relationship. But he knew that it wasn’t the case.
And in the other instance, the guy was in an open relationship with his wife. I’m not trying to justify my actions in either of these instances, but rather give you a snapshot of what the situation entailed. Which leads me back to my original question around monogamy vs. honesty. In my conversation with my colleague, I could tell that she took a hard stance against cheating. And again, I’m not saying I’m “for” cheating, but I think it speaks to a larger issue in the relationship. Her point, however was that she wondered if guys just wanted to have it all. I’m using guys, in a very general and stereotypical way here. It applies to ladies as well, but we both have experience with men. What’s interesting though is that this article I read about being a “side chick” supports the argument that maybe guys just want it all.
The point I’m getting at is that women seem to be offended by the fact that they get asked to be a side chick. But should you really be offended by that? Maybe it is degrading in that you are worth more than being a side chick. But on the other hand, if the guy is being upfront and honest should it make a difference to you? I will likely get a lot of feedback around this and especially looking at it from the perspective of the girlfriend. Which I get. Like I said, I’ve been there before. So if I just look at this from a logical perspective, I wonder what responsibility the “other” woman is playing in the situation? If any. Again, not justifying actions here, but there is a case to be made that if the man is seeking for relations elsewhere, he’s the one with the problem and not you as the other woman.
To that point, and taking a page from Dan Savage, should we be looking at these relationships in terms of sexual non-monogamy? If your partner is interested in sex outside of the relationship is this something that you should consider in the event that your partner is being open and honest with you? Or do you want a solely monogamous relationship, regardless? I don’t know that I want to dissect this because it is kind of a touchy subject, but I can certainly understand it from an intellectual perspective. It’s when we start adding emotions into the mix that it becomes an issue. Myself included. I wonder where I would stand if my partner wanted to participate in activities outside of our relationship. Intellectually it makes sense, and in some cases we could both probably benefit from that type of arrangement. But the thought of him with someone else, from an emotional perspective is a bit unbearable.
The question that we all have to ask is what kind of value do we place on honesty? Having been in a situation where I was unknowingly the other woman, and having been in a situation where I was unknowingly being cheated on – I pick honesty. From my perspective, I would rather know what I’m getting into than to be left living a lie. I also don’t think that what works for me works for everyone. And I’m certainly not saying that I’m comfortable with the idea of sexual non-monogamy, but I can wrap my head around it from an intellectual perspective. Maybe we aren’t meant to get everything we need from one person. Look at our friendships. We have the fun friends that we party with, or the shopping friends, or the friends we seek advice from. So can we realistically expect to get everything we need from one partner? I am not touting that I have the answers. Far from it. But I do think that we need to change the way we are thinking. From being upset or offended that it does happen and understand why it’s happening. I think it’s easier to decide what you want to do when you understand the motivation behind it. Final advice is summed up with a meme.