Ever cheated in a relationship and why/why not?

Not even tempted. Whatever I’d gain would be far outweighed by what I’d stand to lose. One night of illicit nookie, no matter how amazing, is not worth risking the loss of a lifemate.

It’s the polydacytylity that does it.

WTF does “emotional adultery” mean? As Jimmy Carter said “I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times.” Any man or woman who has been in a relationship for any length of time and who denies that - ever looking at someone else with “lust in your heart” - I call a damned liar. Anyone who admits it has done nothing wrong. Is “adultery in my heart” what is meant by “emotional adultery”? I really don’t know. Perhaps it means liking someone of the relevant gender significantly better than your regular partner, while also feeling attracted to them? I still say that is only to be expected for anyone in a long term relationship and (although it may cause guilt) is innocent, and really should not count as adultery or “cheating”. It needs to be physical (I’d say at least a kiss on the mouth) to count, and only on that basis do I remotely believe all the posts in this thread claiming to perfect fidelity.

(Of course, this ambiguous notion of “emotional adultery” means the figures in the are OP utterly meaningless, as given. I wonder if it was at all carefully defined for the respondents to the survey or surveys from which they are taken? There is certainly no information about what is supposed to be meant by it at the link.)

Come to that, though, what do they mean by a “relationship”? How serious does it have to be to count? I never physically cheated on my ex-wife, nor emotionally in any remotely meaningful sense, although, like Carter (and virtually everyone else), I “committed adultery in my heart” many times, and I indulged in one or to brief, trivial flirtations that were never going to lead anywhere. On the other hand, for a few weeks in my early twenties I was dating two different girls on alternate days of the week (with Sundays off). (I broke up with each of them within a week or two of one another.) Does that count? I’m buggered if I know.

“Ever” is a long time. When I was younger I was often a complete ass, but I can rationalize it by saying that none of these dating and/or hook-up relationships were actually “relationships.” My partners’ opinions may have varied.

I have had absolutely no interest in cheating on my Wife from our first date, so I think my thirty years in an adult, mutually respectful relationship show that I was capable of learning and growing.

^This, without the extra U for me. In fact, it’s best not to tell me if you have because I’ve got no respect for people that cheat and apparently that attitude is pretty blatant.

No. Been married for 36 years plus the 2 years we were engaged. I promised to be faithful and I try to uphold my promises.

If my marriage was going south, I’d get a divorce first THEN start looking for someone else.

I don’t trust people who have cheated on their spouse. If a boss or co-worker can lie to their spouse then they certainly can lie to me.

I kind of figured, looking at the title of this thread, that it would be full of people proclaiming that “I would never cheat, that’s wrong, why would anyone ever do that…” etc. etc. etc. And that’s OK I guess. I mean why would somebody admit to cheating on a messageboard then try to come up with some justification like “well, my partner is boring, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to break up/have a divorce from my original partner, so I started a long-term relationship with someone more exciting.” I mean, a lot of people must be doing that–the numbers cited in the OP don’t lie, and from my own personal experience I know a number of people, even within my own family, who have cheated on their spouses.

For example, my first wife. We weren’t even married a year when I started seeing signs that she was having an affair. In retrospect if any marriage was bound to end in that way, this was going to be it:

–Both of us married a lot younger than our peer group and we didn’t have many married friends to model behavior on.
–I was in my first serious relationship, neither of us had lived with anyone else before, and even from the start we weren’t sure it was going to last (but we went through with it anyway…probably not the best of ideas)
–She was in an industry that took her out of the city for long periods of time from day one of our marriage, and our marriage felt like it was stop-start from the beginning.
–But what really doomed it was that she still harbored feelings about her first boyfriend, who she still had a ton of mutual friends with. She admitted she thought about him when things weren’t going well in our marriage, which to be honest was most of the time.

So why didn’t she just leave me and take up with ex-boyfriend? Well firstly she was a very religious person who felt that divorce was a big sin. I realize you might be thinking here “well isn’t adultery a sin too?” The difference is that she could have a clandestine affair that her friends and co-workers didn’t have to know about, but everybody would have known about it if she’d gotten a divorce, and so she justified it that way to herself. Part of it was a bit of greed. Her ex had a low-paying job, I was doing well, so she could get the best of both worlds by being with the ex emotionally and physically, and with me financially. (When I lost my job that hastened the demise of our marriage as my appeal in that regard quickly vanished.) Lastly, I don’t think she was ready to commit to her ex just yet. Her ex was really pushing her to divorce me and marry him, and I think she felt she’d married me too quickly and she didn’t want to make the same mistake with him. She didn’t want to leave me and spend a period of time where she was just dating him while he was pressuring her to get married. So instead she used the time they were having an affair to decide whether she wanted to really be with him or not. As it turned out, she did make that decision, and they got married the day after our divorce was finalized.

I’m sure you read that thinking, “man, your ex-wife was a piece of work, how did you ever get along in the first place?” The thing is that adulterers and cheaters don’t wear monster masks, and they don’t all exhibit the same behavior. When we found out a relative of mine had been cheating on his wife we were all stunned–he seemed like the last guy on earth to do something like that. He didn’t seem bored in his marriage, he seemed constantly happy, they were doing well financially and socially. I’m not sure there was anything to his adultery other than that he had a hot female co-worker that he wanted to schtupp. And afterwards he and his wife had counseling and now their marriage seems as strong as ever. I don’t think the guy is or was evil, bad, or sinful, I think he had a serious lapse of judgment that he shouldn’t have acted on. Now my ex-wife, I can’t forgive her, she misled me for over two years on things and in all truth if I’d known how she’d felt at the beginning I wouldn’t have married her. Yet she often came across as the kindest, gentlest person you’d ever met. She hid her nature so well.

Now the closest I’ve ever come to cheating was during my polyamory nightmare, and even then I couldn’t bring myself to break the rules we’d set down for ourselves (and someone else in the relationship did, which ended up ending the whole thing). I think that’s for another thread, though.

…you had to go and make me GIS polydactyly handjob didn’t you?

As far as I’m concerned, there are many reasons why I haven’t cheated and I’m not planning to either. I will only refer to the most obvious one.

I remember the sexual fever my friends and I went through as teenagers. For years we thought there was something wrong with what we did. Well, there wasn’t. Sex was overrated. This is lesson number one.

Here’s lesson number too. If you’re unhappily married and you think having an affair will alleviate your suffering, you’re in for even more disillusionment.

Lesson three is the hardest to follow. Find someone you really enjoy being with and who feels the same for you. This may take some time and effort. It is a matter of luck to a great extent too. Once you’re with the right person, you won’t dream of cheating. You may still feel nostalgia, or lust, or something, but you’ll be able to control them all easily because you’re satisfied.

Now, these rules apply to mature people, and I’m not talking about age.

Yes, because I was neither.

In my very early 20s, before meeting my wife, I dated around, but none of it was serious, at least not for me. I wouldn’t use the word “cheated” for what I did as I was pretty open about my activities with the women I saw. I didn’t throw in their faces that I was with them and others as well, but I never attempted to hide it. For me, it was simply fun.

I’ve been with my wife now approaching 25 years, and in all that time I have never been with or even flirted with another woman.

Let me be clear that I have absolutely no moral issue with being attracted to or even acting on an attraction to someone other than one’s partner, bf/gf, or spouse. I don’t cheat on my wife for two reasons:

  1. My wife has made it abundantly clear that she does not want me to have a physical or emotional relationship with another woman. Period. It would hurt her deeply if I cheated and she found out, and I simply can’t do that to her.

  2. I don’t have direct experience with this, but all the clandestine nonsense trying to keep the cheating a secret seems like way, way too much work to me. And for what? Sex? I can have sex anytime I want. And anyway, I don’t know any man who cheated who was not eventually caught.

Cognoscant, the question was not whether we’ve been in a relationship in which someone cheated. The Idiot Boyfriend did cheat on me, but he did it from day one - he never intended to be faithful, to me or anybody. Given the amount of longish-term relationships I’ve been in, that puts the counter of “Nava’s relationships where somebody cheated” at 50%.

You’re talking about three different things- physical adultery (any kind of physical contact, from intimate kissing to sexual intercourse), being human (looking at a member of the preferred sex with a vague sort of 'wonder what THAT would be like" feeling, but never acting on it), and emotional adultery. Emotional adultery is fairly commonly defined as having an intimate relationship with someone that negatively impacts your relationship with your partner. If I have a (male) coworker that I hang out with during breaks, go to lunch with, have drinks with after hours, rely on in times of emotional need, talk to about my problems (particularly problems involving my significant other), and generally prefer to be with other than my partner, that’s an emotional affair. There may not be any physical intimacy, but your heart is straying from your primary relationship, and that’s an issue.

Note that I’m not talking about having a BFF, or close confidant, or sibling that you always hang with and talk to. Emotional affairs are a completely different level. If you get super good or super bad news, think of the first person you want to tell. If it’s anyone other than your partner, it’s time to re-assess.

Tell the truth, did Google auto-complete it at polyd…?

I have too, but I don’t consider that cheating. I wasn’t the one breaking a vow.

That said, I was serially unfaithful to my mid-to-late twenties girlfriend, and that was perfectly awful of me. If she had ever decided to punch me in the nads over it, she’d have been in the right.

I will never, ever cheat on my wife. Mostly that’s because I don’t want to be that jerkass ever again, but also because women other than my wife seem dull and colorless in comparison to her. I know intellectually that my wife has faults, like everyone, but I can’t feel it emotionally. She’s by far the best human being I know, and I’m privileged to be with her.

Emotional adultery would be sharing and feelings with another person, while neglecting one’s spouse/partner. Jimmy Carter here is giving an Evangelical Christian definition that I don’t think applies to most situations.

It is ambiguous enough so that posters can share any experience they believe counts as “cheating”. It is a fairly subjective term, based largely on the dynamics of the relationship at hand.

Why would seeing more than one person be cheating? Unless you told both they were the only one…

But that kind of begs the question though. Are we at the Dope fine, upstanding citizens who would never cheat, and it’s just those other people out there who are the cheaters? It just seems odd that almost everyone in this thread is coming in here to tell us how faithful they are. I mean, not that I doubt them, but I just have a hard time believing this is an unbiased sample of sorts.

It did, but I had to add the handjob myself.

…nah I’m not going to rephrase that.

Yes. Never thought I would. Used to be in the holier-than-thou, I-would-never-do-that, those-people-are-scum camp. Circumstances made me a liar. Suffered a gross breach of trust and loyalty after years of emotional and sexual neglect. I handled it poorly. Funny thing is, I expected to be hit by soul-crushing guilt and that never really happened. I guess there was only so much I could take.

I am and always have been a little different than my more free-love friends have been over the years when it comes to sexual mores. My standards are that if I commit to a sexual/emotional relationship that I will end that relationship before looking for or having any other potential partners. Secondly, when single, I will never attempt to have a sexual/emotional relationship with someone who is already committed herself to another sexual/emotional relationship. That made it fairly simple to follow. I could be serially monogamous that way without restricting myself before I settled down.
Once I did, I had a wonderfully monogamous marriage for almost 24 years before she died.
Now, I am in another monogamous relationship that will become a marriage in the spring of next year. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But, I must say that it is much easier to be monogamous when you are 53 years old than when you are 23 years old. Or at least it seems to me.

BTW, Cognoscant, thank you for sharing your experience. You, of course, know that you write well and cogently, but your honesty was quite appreciated as well, at least by me (and I’ll bet by many others.) That takes guts to write about yourself in such a manner. Bravo!