Web Exclusive: Infidelity is not okay sometimes

By Ellen Lloyd

Re: Infidelity: It’s okay sometimes, from Sept 6, 2012 issue.

I agree that monogamy is not for everyone — open and closed relationships are both acceptable. However, infidelity is not an acceptable solution to relationship dissatisfaction, nor does the arguably unrealistic expectation of monogamy excuse such behaviour. Infidelity compromises trust in a relationship, is inherently selfish and causes emotional harm to others.

Infidelity is also possible within an open relationship. Couples in open relationships often negotiate different guidelines for acceptable behaviour and it is crucially important that both parties are comfortable with these. Such boundaries in open relationships are equally important as boundaries in monogamous ones, and breaking them is also morally distasteful. We have only to look at American politician Newt Gingrich for a prominent example of how not to attempt an open relationship. A cheater should not offer or pressure an open relationship on their unwilling partner as a “fix” for their own infidelity. Ideally, partners should establish relationship boundaries at the get-go or, if those boundaries change, they should discuss and newly agree before violating the old terms of the relationship.

Preferences for monogamy or non-monogamy can be seen as yet another dimension of sexual identity. It is important to seek out partners with compatible sexual orientation as well as similar compatibilities in type of relationship like monogamous, open, flexible or something in-between.

If you and your partner can’t agree, end the relationship and proceed with your integrity intact. Whether you are the monogamous type or not, satisfaction at the expense of your partner’s sexual or emotional well-being is not okay.


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