July 18, 2019

Is Cheating Possible in a Polyamorous Relationship?

“When I first met my husband, he told me in no uncertain terms that he viewed kissing as cheating. So it might come as a surprise to hear that, ten years later, we regularly have sex with other people.

Neither of us had an open relationship before we met each other, but we always talked candidly about sex, love, and relationships. Like many poly-curious couples, we tested the water by having threesomes, before branching out and dating individually. These days, we define as non-monogamous. We’re married, live together, and put our relationship first, but we also see other people. So when I asked my husband earlier this week if he still thought kissing counted as cheating, I expected him to laugh. He didn’t.

“Yes,” he said. “If it was something we hadn’t agreed to.”

At first glance it may appear worrying that we weren’t on the same wavelength, but actually, this misunderstanding shows how easy it is for polyamorous people to misinterpret their own relationship rules. Afterwards, I felt shaken thinking about how I could have inadvertently hurt the person I love. (Happily, we had a long conversation about exactly when and why a kiss might not be appropriate—so we’ve since cleared things up.)”

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