Jul 7, 2002

There's an interesting question over at Hormonal Bitch about cheating.

I tend to be a black-or-white kind of person in many things, feeling that "grey areas" are often where the excuses and attempts to justify or assuage guilt are found. So I don't see where this kind of thing needs a lot of debate. The bottom line - will what you're contemplating hurt the relationship or help it? Shaving that square peg "just a little bit", or stretching that round hole "just a little bit" is still changing the shape and losing something in the process.

Cheating is, I suppose, whatever you and your partner determine it is. But the essence of cheating is in your own mind - intention is not always revealed by action. Are you honoring your partner and your relationship? Are those "intimate" conversations and "dancing around the edges" going to strengthen your relationship, or damage it? Do you feel the need to hide it from your partner? Would they be hurt if they knew? Are you being honest with yourself about your true intentions?

A simple dinner with an old friend could be only that, or it could be the first step in keeping someone else on the back burner "just in case". Some flirtatious behaviour can be harmless - but when the behaviour causes pain or discomfort to your partner, what is the purpose? You either honor your relationship, or you don't. You are either working to improve your relationship or you're not. "But" is a grey area.

I recently had this issue with someone I work with. She recently made a commitment to a man who is currently overseas (military), so for the time being she has to be content with phone calls, emails and letters. Then she ran into someone she dated a couple of years ago. And she is going out to a movie with him, just friends. Simple action. Or is it? Will she tell this person about her commitment? Will she tell her commited other about the event? The fact that she hesitates on either answer reveals an intention she is not facing.

Be honest with yourself, or you're cheating both of you. Be truthful about what you need and want. Be realistic about what you can give. You know when you're stepping on that line or you wouldn't be asking the question. You can whitewash your actions, but you know damn well what your intentions are, whether you're willing to face them or not.

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