If you can’t be monogamous and your spouse doesn’t like having an open marriage or polyamory, you need to sit down and discuss your relationship status.
One solution might be to suck it up and stay faithful, while another might choose to separate (and ultimately divorce) so you can be intimate with as many people as you want.
But here’s the thing about having multiple partners when you’re in a committed relationship: Both partners have to be on the same page.
It seems pretty obvious, but for some reason people can’t figure out that cheating is cheating, even if you give it a fancy new name like “ethical cheating”.
What is ethical cheating?
The term ethical cheating was coined by the founder of the OpenMinded website, Brandon Wade, in 2015. He published an essay titled “How to Cheat on Your Wife”, which advises men to tell their wives they intend to cheat. before they start dating.
“Expect a bit of defensiveness,” the essay warns, which seems to me to say that even if the woman isn’t on board, as long as you’ve told her your intention, you’re free and clear to do whoever you want. please.
“Monogamy in the traditional sense doesn’t work for the majority of us,” said Wade, who is currently on his third wife. So that means he had some experience as a married person. “It didn’t work for me. There’s a growing movement of people being able to be honest with their mate that the traditional model isn’t working.”
If both partners are okay with a polyamorous partnership, it’s not cheating.
Openminded.com had over 150,000 users in 2015, with more than half of its members identifying as couples who are in open relationships. Members of the site are more likely to be male than female, 68% of members have completed a bachelor’s degree and 40% are between 18 and 35 years old.
While Ashley Madison is all about having an affair, OpenMinded.com is really for the two partners pushing the boundaries of their marriage.
OpenMinded users are asked to define themselves by romantic orientation (biromantic and sapiomantic are options) and other attributes, while the Life Choices section dives into issues such as marijuana use.
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Under Looking to Meet, users indicate the type of relationship they are looking for, such as monogamous, poly-dating, swinging, and who they would like to meet.
There are dozens of different options, such as pangender, two-spirit, and intersex.
As long as both parties want an open marriage or be polyamorous, that’s OK. But it’s still not ethical cheating.
Ethical cheating is an oxymoron. You don’t cheat if you have your spouse’s consent and you know what you’re doing. And if you’re cheating without being honest about it and sneaking around with your partner, there’s nothing ethical about it.
Other websites created by Mr. Wade include Seeking Arrangements (which is a Sugar Daddy site) and WhatsYourPrice.com (a site where users can auction dates).
“Most of my dating sites were created out of personal need. OpenMinded is my next evolution in my relationships,” Wade added.
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Before he married his current wife, he and she discussed his progressive views on monogamy. “I said to my wife, ‘If this relationship doesn’t work out, I’ll never get married again.'”
I have no doubt that if he becomes single again, he will simply create a phrase like ethical cheating to describe his status or a website where he can pursue the kinds of relationships he desires.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in July 2015.
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Christine Schoenwald is a writer and performer. She has had articles in the Los Angeles Times, Salon and Woman’s Day. Visit his website or his Instagram.