Recently I was chilling on the couch watching a soap opera that I have become a little addicted to of late. The story line for one of the characters took a turn down that road that is a mainstay of soap operas everywhere, infidelity. In this particular scenario the husband is forced into the primary carer role because of the demands of his wife's career and her determination to keep climbing the professional ladder. Like millions of women out there he struggles with the day to day juggle of caring for a five year old, dealing with his wife's mood swings and night shifts and his own struggling career that is at odds with his home life. One night, after a shit day that his wife doesn't want to know about he goes to the pub, gets tipsy and kisses (yes there is but one kiss!) another woman (the horror of it!).
The story line then proceeds to fixate on the sexual act as the thing that broke the relationship. Re-enforcing the stereotype that of all things we can do to our chosen partners in this life, being physically unfaithful to them is the absolute pits of evil.
Once I subscribed to this theory. I believed firmly that, regardless of what other mud we may sling at each other in this world, sexual infidelity must be avoided at all costs. In the world of swinging of course we come accross people who are being physically unfaithful to their partners all the time! What is more we all have a great time being physically unfaithful to our partners. As long as we go home with the right person at the end of the night. This does not mean that cheating amongst swingers do not exist. For some reason there are people out there who are not happy with the experience of fucking other people with their partner's consent. Or they are not happy with the boundaries that have been set, eg a couple may have the rule that other partners are OK as long as both parties are in the room at the time. Some people seem to be hardwired to either push the boundaries to see how far they can get or just plain break a rule simply because it is a rule. It doesn't seem to matter how much freedom they already have, they are not having fun until they are breaking the rules. I would argue that these people are the true cheaters. These people who lie to their partners about what they get up to even when they get a fairly free rein most of the time are the worst kind of cheaters.
It is not uncommon to come accross people in the lifestyle who are playing without the knowledge and blessing of their partner. I have read many forums and participated in some discussing the pros and cons of playing with these people. Mostly people subscribe to the notion that these people are dirty cheats and should be run out of town. When Jake and I started swinging we had a blanket 'no cheaters' policy. That meant we were not interested in you if your partner was not fully aware and on board with what you were doing.
Of course such a policy is impossible to police. If a man or a woman chooses to lie to their partner then lying to other people who they are cheating WITH is pretty much a no brainer. Along our journey we met a couple who we dated as a couples a few times. Things never went quite right and after a while it dawned on us that Mrs was really only interested in other women and the foursome thing wasn't for her. We then saw Mr a few times on his own and he assured us that he had Mrs' blessing. We had some very hot steamy sessions with Mr that both Jake and I enjoyed immensly. After a while things went a little pear shaped and, with the wisdom of hindsight we both were convinced that Mr was not playing with the blessing of Mrs and had, in fact, been cheating on her.
In the aftermath we did a bit of soul searching and came to the realisation that we could not enforce our morality on other people. The only behaviour we have control over is our own. Further to this who are we to judge people who choose to manage their relationship in a different way from us? In the words of Jesus "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." John 8:7
More recently Jake had a series of encounters with an acquaintance of ours who was cheating on her husband. It was the typical situation of one person wanting more sex than the other and neither party really comminicating with or listening to the other. Based on what we could see from where we sat it seemed that both Mr and Mrs were ignoring the elephant sitting in the corner of their relationship and lying to each other and themselves about what was going on. I was not happy with the situation but I took the view that Jake is an adult and was capable of making his own decisions. Furthermore, our acquaintance's relationship was not our responsibility. Jake allowed himself the luxury of thinking with his smaller head and satisfied a long held fantasy.
There are many people out there who would readily brand Jake a home wrecker in this situation but the reality is that had Jake turned this woman down she would have, and sadly did, seek out other willing men to scratch her itch with. In simplistic terms she is the homewrecker, Jake was just a guy who took up an offer he saw as too good to refuse. In truth nothing in life and relationships is that simple. There are always three or more versions of a given scenario depending on what your role in the situation is. Nothing is ever black and white and making a blanket generalisation is usually going to cause tears, or at the least tie you up in knots. And not the fun kind.