Jul 5, 2004

There was an interesting question about cheating on nother site (I forget which one...)

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" 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. Strengthen it, or damage it.

I recently encountered this issue with someone I worked with. She had made a commitment to a man who was currently overseas (military), so for the time being she had to be content with phone calls, emails and letters. Not easy, of course. But she ran into someone she dated a couple of years ago. And she was going out to a movie with him, just friends. Simple action. But was it? Would she tell this person about her commitment? Would she tell her commited other about the event? The fact that she hesitated on either answer revealed an intention she was not facing.

Be honest with yourself, or you're cheating both of you. You know when you are 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 want to face them or not.

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