Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sasha Smartt on Cheating, Open, and Poly Relationships

I’m against cheating, but I disagree that anything but complete monogamy is cheating. Different relationships can have different conditions based on the needs and boundaries of those in the relationship. Sasha Smartt wrote her thoughts.

I first learned about open/polyamorous relationships after a colleague from university suggested it to me.

Open relationships and polyamory are not synonymous although they are both nonmonagamous. Some poly relationships are polycules that are set and closed. Others are open, to a certain degree that varies from polycule to polycule. Likewise, some two-person relationships may be strictly monogamous, others might be open.

So, the question is, when someone, or a couple wants to get involved in an open relationship, is this really their way of legitimizing the infidelity?

The answer depeneds on your definition of infidelity. Some people find that there is more determination to care for and stay with their primary if the relationship is open or polyamorous, and everything is honest and consenting. Couldn’t that be considered a better example of fidelity than divorce or abandonment? They are being faithful to the promises they make to each other.

Many people try to justify why they may cheat or have extra marital affairs. Others wish to find a way to legitimize the affair(s).

People in open or poly relationships are honest with themselves and each other. It becomes cheating when they start keeping some things secret in violation of agreements.

Traditionally, a marriage is to be a monogamous union between man and woman.

Actually, there is a lot of tradition of polygamy, especially polygyny, and how many supposedly monogamous relationships really have been monogamous, between the secret affairs and one night stands and prostitution (cheating), swapping, swinging, threesomes, group sex, concubines, etc.?

Polygamy and polyamory were, and still are, frowned upon, except in societies, like in Islamic cultures, where religion allows a man to have many wives.

There still is a lot of prejudice, but that can be changed. One of the ways it can be changed is if people stop wrongly thinking of honest, consensual polyamory and open relationships as cheating.
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