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What is considered cheating in an open relationship?

Tagged as: Cheating, Friends with Benefits, Sex, Three is a crowd<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (11 February 2018) 12 Answers - (Newest, 14 February 2018)
A male age 36-40, anonymous writes:

My wife and I agreed to be in an open relationship. We were both very into the idea for years. During sex, she haexpressed interest in a mutual male friend.

Several months later I was suspecting that they were fooling around but she never mentioned it. She was trying to help me hook up with his wife, but she never told me about them.

One day I saw nude pictures on her phone. So I asked her if she was sleeping with him. She promised me she wasn't. A day later I told her that I had seen the photos. Then she admitted to having sex with him twice (3 months earlier). She told me that they discussed it and decided not to tell me. Then she told me that his wife doesn't know about at all.

Is this cheating? Are they having an affair? Would love to hear others opinions on the matter.

Thanks,

CM

View related questions: affair, nude pictures

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (14 February 2018):

When you agreed on the open relationship, did you set some boundaries and expectations? I'm guessing not.

I don't know anyone in an open relationship, but I bet those who are make it clear whether they share details of who they've slept with or not. Did she hide it from you because she thought you'd be annoyed?

I guess you have no right to complain that she has slept with someone else. I also guess you need to rethink the agreement

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (12 February 2018):

Nothing at all, otherwise it wouldn't be considered an open relationship. Open relationship equals open season.

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A male reader, liddel United States +, writes (12 February 2018):

Rules are important. If you don't have any, find some which you both can agree, and set them.

If you don't want her sleeping with Tom, Dick and Harry, tell her. Perhaps you want to make anyone from your work off limits or your high school buds. Whatever. If she's supposed to let you know before she sleeps with anyone, that needs to happen.

If you keep going with this, you're going to have to be comfortable. If this is something you could do together, that might solve the problem. Neither your nor her need to be having sex with anyone else more than (x) amount of time. If it goes on too long, emotional attachments come into play and it might ruin your marriage. Maybe you could say no more than four times with any one person or maybe no more than once a month with any one person.

You have a natural disadvantage in this situation. A plain girl can usually find someone to have sex with her every day. Even a less attractive than plain will be very successful. Most men though will have to work hard for every piece of ass they ever get.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (12 February 2018):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntIn most basic terms, there isn't any cheating in an open relationship. HOWEVER, there are usually rules agreed that end up with "cheating" being anything outside of those rules.

Either agree on rules, accept feeling cheated on or end your marriage. Most things need boundaries to survive, let alone be successful.

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (12 February 2018):

N91 agony auntWell, there is no cheating in an open relationship. Isn't that the whole point of it being open?

I think the issue here is not your wife being with another man it's more the dishonesty she's shown. Can you get over that? Do you want to? Will you be able to trust her in future? Think about all these things before making your next move.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (12 February 2018):

CindyCares agony aunt I guess it depends from the rules you set in your relationship, if you did set rules.

Did you have an explicit, mutually agreed upon rule that each and any encounter outside of marriage must be first , or contextually, communicated to the spouse,in details, also indicating names, places, and how many times ?

In other words, did you agree that non-monogamous sex is acceptable only as long as the spouse is being informed ?

If yes, then clearly you have being cheated on, your trust has been broken, and your wife is not a loyal partner. She broke an explicit and mutually agreed upon rule.

Otherwise, no, it's not cheating (... and I do not see what you are kvetching about, TBH ). In an open relationship it's agreed that both parties can have as much sex they want with how many people they want outside the marriage; and sharing the details of these encounters is absolutely discretionary, not mandatory. Sex is still a personal, private choice even in the context of a non - exclusive relationship . You would not expect your wife to tell you, or seek permission, every time she wants to masturbate, right ? She may choose to let you know , or to keep it discreet . And in the context of an open, non monogamous relationship, intercourse with another man / woman is simply an ordinary, banal sexual act just like masturbation would be. No need for official announcements.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (12 February 2018):

I have a question. Would you feel any different about them, if his wife agrees to hookup with you?

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (12 February 2018):

I don't think you completely understand the full scope and true definition of having an open-marriage, or open-relationship.

You presume that rules should apply. Where casual-sex is involved, people tend to stretch the rules and/or break their promises. Alternative-lifestyles come with drawbacks and risks.

She had a plan and someone already in-mind. She sampled the goods a few months in-advance. Unbeknownst to you or his wife. Technicalities! Technicalities!

You'd think she would remember to seek permission first, identify her chosen subjects; and inform you if, when, and where she is having sex. After-all, you're still married. Right? Read your post. She did...sorta!

You're bending the rules; so you can call it cheating if you like. "Technically," it's with your permission. Maybe not a full-fledged affair. A few hookups? For sure! For trial purposes only!

The cats out of the bag now! She knew you would agree; so she just got a head-start on the program.

There is a moral to the story.

You don't go there; if you're not sure what you're subjecting your marriage to, my friend. The horse is out of the barn!

In an "open-relationship;" there is really no cheating. It's open to either party engaging in sex with someone of their choosing either together, or independently.

Chances are high that you or your partner is eventually going to fly solo; because you're already pushing the envelope and gambling with the odds.

Human-nature tends to be selfish or greedy. Once you mutually agree to remove or lift certain restrictions on a relationship; one of you is going to push the limits and redefine terms according to your own interpretation. To most people, open-relationship means you are free to have sex with whomever you want. So why bother if there's going to be a bunch of rules, or you're going to get jealous?

You agreed to have sex with random or selected partners outside the relationship. Partners rarely stay within boundaries; if you can get-away with it. Most tend to be hypocritical. It's all fine as long as one doesn't out-do the other, or pick favorites. It's when people go rogue that their marriage ends-up in the toilet.

That's the nasty little problem when you leave the gate open. Someone will get-out, or somebody will get-in; without your knowledge.

When you open that Pandora's Box, you better be prepared for whatever unforeseen events may occur. You sometimes can't control your feelings; or you find a better partner than the one you've got. Your post indicates you now have regrets, and you can't trust her; because she lied and hid things from you.

It would clearly be cheating and/or an affair, had you not agreed to any this in the first place. So now it doesn't matter if they had sex before, or after the fact.

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A male reader, Been there Now over it United States +, writes (12 February 2018):

Yes in regard to cheating. Cheating has a short a concise definition that includes having sex with someone other than your significant other and hiding the fact. Telling you lies to hide the fact takes it to a higher level.

An affair is a little more loosely defined than cheating. If she is telling you the truth and slept with him twice three months earlier, I wouldn't call this an affair. However, she lied to you about having sex with him until you called her bluff with the photos, so I would be surprised if she hasn't had more sex with him, and more recently than she admits. So I wouldn't go so far as to declare she is not having an affair with him.

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A male reader, Billy Bathgate United States + , writes (12 February 2018):

She’s lying to you and he is lying to his wife are having sex. Of course it’s an affair and cheating. I’m just stunned that a thirty something year old man can’t see that for himself.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (12 February 2018):

Honeypie agony auntFor me that would be cheating.

Because if she thought it was JUST dandy for her to do that... she would have told you.

Seems like they are setting up HIS wife too.

BUT, every relationship is different. IF you CHOOSE to have an open relationship without rules (and it seems like you two don't have any rules) then stuff like this is likely to happen.

Why would it be a problem for her to sleep with him if you two have an open relationship?

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A female reader, Ciar Canada + , writes (12 February 2018):

Ciar agony auntShe cheated.

Cheating is when we do or have something by deception that we don't think we could do or have by being honest.

While she might be more open to mentioning any other man she wanted to sleep with, this one is different because of how she feels about him and she didn't ask because she was afraid you'd sense it and become suspicious. That's my guess.

This is not proof she is in love with him. Just that the attraction she has for him is stronger, or different from, what she feels for other casual hook ups.

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