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Author Topic: "More Proof that Poly Isn't Cheating by Charlie Glickman  (Read 2936 times)

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"More Proof that Poly Isn't Cheating by Charlie Glickman
« on: June 18, 2012, 09:45:49 PM »
I would like each of you read the following article which I found at: http://www.charlieglickman.com/2012/06/more-proof-that-poly-isnt-cheating-sti-edition/

After reading it, please post your thoughts, ideas, questions and/or concerns regarding his argument.


"More Proof that Poly Isn't Cheating" by Charlie Glickman

One of the most common questions I hear about polyamory/open relationships/non-monogamy (aka poly) is “how is that different from cheating?”

I can understand the confusion- if your definition of “cheating” is “having sex with someone other than your spouse,” then you’re likely to equate poly with breaking the rules. But I always wonder about that- there’s no other area that I can think of in which “cheating” means anything other than “not playing by the rules.” And there’s no reason why we all have to have the same rules.

In soccer, you can touch the ball with any part of your body other than your arms or hands. In basketball, you can only touch the ball with your hands. Cheating in one game is playing by the rules in the other. Similarly, different relationships have different rules. Seems pretty simple to me.

Of course, simple doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Poly requires the ability to talk with your partner(s) about your needs & concerns, as well as the agreements you’ve made with your other partners, especially with respect to safer sex. Most of the poly folks I know have gotten pretty good at sharing this kind of information. Reid Mihalko’s safer sex elevator pitch is a really good format for that:

Reid’s Safer Sex Elevator Speech

Write down your answers for each and then try it out on yourself in the mirror or on a friend or a lover.

When were you last tested for STDs, what did you get tested for, and what was the status of those tests?
What is your current relationship status and sexual orientation, and what, if any, relationship agreements do you have that the other person should know about?
What are your Safer Sex Protocols and needs?
One or two things that you know you like sexually (or might want to do with this person).
One thing you know you don’t like sexually (or that you aren’t up for today).
Optional: Quick rundown of any risky sexual things you’ve done since you were last tested.
Last step: Then ask the other person, “And how about you?” and listen to what they say and how they say it…
Being able to have these conversations takes some practice. It also helps if you’re striving to keep other aspects of your relationship honest. So I wasn’t surprised to read about some new research showing that people who cheat are less likely to practice safer sex than people who are openly poly. Among cheaters, condom use for vaginal and anal sex was 27% and 35% lower and alcohol use was 64% higher. Of course, there’s some correlation between alcohol use and not practicing safer sex, and some people who cheat may drink in order to get past the voices in their heads that are telling them that they’re doing something they know they shouldn’t. It’s important (as always) to remember that correlation is not causation, and that there are many different reasons people do what they do.

Nevertheless, as someone who’s been in a non-monogamous relationship for over 20 years, I can say that I’m really glad to see that we’re beginning to see some research to show that there’s a difference between poly and cheating. I’ve had enough friends and lovers who have shared stories of therapists who didn’t understand that the problem with cheating is the dishonesty, which poly folks usually do their best to not engage in. And I’ve had plenty of people not believe me when I tell them that my partner always knows who I’m with and when to expect me home. That’s part of our how we operate, but some folks seem to have difficulty grasping that. Instead, they seem to assume that I’m simply cheating. So the more info we have to show that the two things simply aren’t the same, the better.

There are some excellent books to help you figure out how to make poly work for you. If you haven’t seen these, I highly recommend checking them out.



The Ethical Slut: A Roadmap for Relationship Pioneers

Opening Up: A Guide To Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships

Redefining Our Relationships: Guidelines for Responsible Open Relationships

  Love in Abundance: A Counselor's Advice on Open Relationships
Reaching others with the polymindset more and more everyday!

Offline beccablue

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Re: "More Proof that Poly Isn't Cheating by Charlie Glickman
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2012, 06:16:17 AM »
I would agree that different games are played by different rules and what is cheating for one is not for another... If consenting adults have agreed on the "rules" to their relationship to include polyamory then it simply isn't "cheating". Unfortunately many in society still view it that way because they attempt to apply *their* rules to our "game". Sad really. Many years ago a (former) friend basically told me that I had low self-esteem because I didn't think I "deserved" to have a husband all to myself. That was rough because she just could not understand that, for me, it meant the opposite... I valued myself enough to both allow my spouse to love others and not feel I was at risk of losing him *and* to allow myself to love and be loved by others. I have felt *more* confident and happy having the love of multiple partners and giving my love to those partners.

~Becca

 


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