I Understand Why They Call it “Cheating” Now

Adolescent abandoned, 500 boy or girl unclear istockA few weeks ago, I wrote a couple of silly blog posts about how “cheating” was an inappropriate word to describe someone using their own body to have sex with someone else. “Sex is Never Cheating Unless You’re a Slave” and “Cheating Implies Stealing Property” I wrote. I was an idiot. I didn’t know what I was talking about.

The thing was, to me, the word cheating more than just lying, it implied property was being stolen (and it actually does). So I was indignant about the idea that someone else could ever say I “cheated” them – stole from them – by using my own body to derive pleasure from another person’s body… because it implied my body was their property.

So I proposed that when someone had sex with another person in secret, without telling their partner about it, we just call it “lying” instead of the much more condemning-sounding word “cheating.”

I’m here tonight to retract that proposal.

We don’t need to call it cheating necessarily, but we need to call it something stronger than “lying.” Perhaps “f**ked up” would work. Because, even though I claim no ownership over my boyfriend’s body, it hurts like hell to be lied to about a romantic or sexual connection with another human being. And I do feel like something was stolen from me – my trust, my sense of reality, and the identity of the person who led me to believe they loved me.

And when someone lies to you about a romantic or sexual connection with another person when you are polyamorous, – with no rules other than honesty and openness – when they had no reason to lie – there needs to be a word even stronger than “cheater” to describe that person… perhaps “scum of the earth.”

It’s one thing to lie when you’re monogamous, and your partner is totally opposed to all sexual connections outside of your monogamous relationship, and you’re afraid you’re going to lose her if you tell her. That’s somewhat understandable, though chicken. It’s another thing to lie when you’re partner has been encouraging you to form sexual connections with other people for over a year and has put zero restrictions on you.

Poly cheaters, with no limitations on whom they can have sexual connections with, are just dying to hurt people. Maybe it’s out of some twisted sense of revenge for an imagined crime that was never committed. Maybe it’s just thrilling to do things in secret, to disappear randomly with no warning, to  ignore frenzied messages and to leave no hint as to whether you’re ever coming back.

But I have the sense it’s for more than the thrill of sneaking around. I have the sense it’s a psychopathic subconscious challenge to see just how deeply you can hurt someone, how far you can drive the dagger into someone you hate’s heart – to force them to face all their worst fears, to force them to relive the pain and trauma of childhood abandonment.

And that’s why cheating – especially poly cheating – is so sick… because you’ve stolen the worst thing you could ever steal – someone’s sanity, someone’s sense of reality, someone’s belief in your repeated statements that you loved them.

And now that my sense of reality – that you loved me for the last 5.5 years – is shattered, I feel insane. You’ve stolen my sanity. I don’t know if I can ever trust someone again when they say they love me. Because you would never abandon someone you love with the explicit goal of hurting them… which means you hate me. You’re sick. Don’t bother coming home. I’m changing the locks in the morning.


  1. […] Tuesday, it was back to work, stress and fighting. By the afternoon, we’d decided to break up again (he almost left the week before). He told me he hated me, said we needed to find separate places to live, and didn’t come home after work that night. […]

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