Planning a threesome brings many challenges for a couple. There are some challenges that are fairly obvious, like being able to successfully deal with watching your partner having sex with someone else. While other challenges are less obvious, such as resolving the social message that a relationship needs to be monogamous. Resolving the issue of monogamy, particularly when it involves defining cheating, can pose a hurdle especially because cheating is a term we understand but it is a word that has a specific meaning for each person. Such variation can create different expectations when considering a threesome and it if not resolved it may mean each person is held to a different standard. Overcoming the different definitions of cheating becomes quite important in the context of having a threesome since the success of the threesome and ultimately a couple’s relationship may hinge on the definition. Therefore, successfully defining cheating, this author feels, is a cornerstone of having a successful threesome. It will define what activity is acceptable in a threesome and how much tolerance a couple will have between defining what is an acceptable misunderstanding and actual cheating. In addition, this author believes, how a couple defines cheating will ultimately determine if they will have a threesome or not. For a couple, a lot can hinge on how they define cheating. This section will provide an opinion regarding the a definition of cheating by exploring some of the sources of the idea of cheating, then by breaking the topic down into its elements and finally this chapter will propose an alternative definition that may work, for some couples.
The Beginning – Early Experiences shaping the definition of cheating.
In order to understand the reason for the variation regarding the event that breaks a trust in a relationship, it is important to look at person’s childhood. Childhood is a time in our lives where our job is learning. Learning occurs in many different forms. It occurs formally in the classroom and it occurs informally through our interactions with our environment, such as playing with friends. During our childhood we play a lot of games that have rules, as we get older the rules become more complex and we become upset when a participant in the game intentionally breaks a rule in order to have a greater chance of winning. At that point we become upset and claim that the person “cheated.” Then as we get older formal game playing begins to end and we play a more abstract game called dating.
Once we begin to “date” we begin to apply the rules we observed about relationships from adults around us along with our observations we begin applying our own belief system to the rules we feel that should define dating. Early during our dating experience, when a relationship tends to be short-term and we begin to learn how to care for another, we begin to confront the issue of what is cheating. The person we are dating may have gone to the local soda fountain for a phosphate or talked to a person of the opposite sex. Cheating, during this time, is clear-cut whereby any physical contact with someone else, regardless of how trivial it is, or acts inconsistent with our belief of what a couple does, is considered cheating. This leads to a “check-list” being developed because we have not learned how to communicate effectively in a relationship and the “check-list” serves as a way to protect ourselves being hurt while dating. Such a “check-list” defines physical activities we define as cheating and other activities if occur will ensure the relationship comes to an end. However as we get older and become better at communicating, in a relationship, then the cheating “check-list” we developed as young adults becomes challenged. Once it is challenged it requires some introspection in order to determine where our feelings on the subject lie and in most cases the “check-list” becomes no longer is fit for purpose. Should it be no longer fit for purpose, this means some type of change has been made to the person’s world view and it means the person’s definition of cheating is evolving. Moreover this means, the definition we hold for cheating is a continuously evolving definition based on experiences and challenges to the definition.
Trust, the foundation for defining cheating
Trust has many meanings and it means different things to different people. In the context of relationship that is considering a threesome, in order for a relationship to last and to function, there must be trust. Essentially trust can be defined as the reliance on what someone is saying or doing is true. When we are discussing cheating then cheating is a breaking of a trust. However, what still remains unclear is what constitutes a breaking of trust. When you begin talking about a committed type of relationship, such as a couple considering a threesome, then trust takes on a broader meaning. This usually means there is an interrelationship between trust and boundaries since boundaries provides the guidance about the type of events that can break the trust in the relationship. Boundaries define the limits to which the threesome will operate and it builds a level of trust, this author feels, by building confidence that the threesome will not go outside of those boundaries. By having boundaries it allows the relationship to function by instilling a level of trust, otherwise this author feels having a threesome will become much more difficult.
This implies that any communication must be based on honesty and there cannot be any deceit. Such a statement also implies there is no universal list to determine truth. Instead truth comes about from the examination of the situation and understanding the person. Furthermore it can be said that trust is a core element that forms a relationship and without being able to trust the other in a relationship the relationship cannot function. Therefore this author believes that, trust develops over time resulting from effective communication, learning about the individual, and is the result of working together as a team. The more a couple invests in their relationship by developing trust and defining their limits of their relationship the more likely it is able to weather adversity. The trust is broken it may be repaired, though not guaranteed, by re-establishing trust.
How does trust and having a threesome relate? Having a threesome requires that trust exists and having a threesome relies on the fact that no one will break an agreed boundary. Also it requires for a threesome to be successful that each person trust the other two. Having a threesome is not like going to a burger place and trusting that the cashier will get your order correct. In a threesome situation you essentially trust the other two with your life and that they will respect you enough to adhere to the boundaries.
Finally, the question becomes how does trust and threesome relate to cheating? Essentially cheating results from a trust being broken. In a threesome situation boundaries are principally the union of each person’s sexual comfort limit and by exceeding that limit trust is broken. Once trust is broken cheating becomes a possibility. This then raises another question is trust and cheating interlinked?
Difference between Trust and Cheating
Up to this point this author has not defined the difference between trust and cheating beyond talking about boundaries. However for cheating to occur there must be emotional investment in the relationship and without emotional investment, it can be said no cheating can occur. An example is a friend with benefit relationship. In this type of relationship, boundaries exist to define the relationship and to keep an emotional attachment from developing. This means it does not matter if the person is being honest about having sex with someone because the type of relationship is based on physical attraction without making an emotional investment.
Knowledge of Partner, what does that mean?
Before defining cheating it is important to define one more concept, knowledge of partner is a term that implies having a relationship with a person and from that experience a knowledge base is developed. Then from that knowledge base certain expectations, expected behaviors in a given situation, and if the relationship develops long enough a particular “couple’s language” develops whereby the couple develops their own words along with a specific communication style. The communication style and language serves as a foundation for understanding. However when in a threesome situation it is best to return to the basics by abandoning any special words and any special communication style in order to ensure that nothing gets missed. Nonetheless the specific communication style and words could help as a way to communicate interest or lack thereof when selecting the third person.
What does this all mean, a proposed definition for cheating?
This author feels that the definition of cheating can be defined by, a couple in a long-term relationship where both has an emotional investment in the relationship and when a trust has been either intentionally or recklessly violated. Such a definition excludes simple misunderstanding, excludes emotional cheating (e.g. emotional affairs), and instead requires that violating a trust is something that can be expected from the chosen action taken. Expecting an action to violate a trust means that there is an awareness, at some level, that performing the action will result in a loss of trust and even though the awareness exists the individual nonetheless chose to partake in that behavior.
The above definition can seem confusing and this author will present two scenarios to highlight how to apply the definition.
Scenario 1: Couple A (Mr M & his wife Mrs A) agree to invite another male, Mr D for a two male threesome. A boundary for Couple A is that Mrs A can perform oral on Mr. D but Mr. D cannot cum in her mouth. During the threesome Mrs A performs oral on Mr. D that results in him cumming in her mouth. The question becomes did Mrs. A cheat on Mr. M by violating the boundary?
Discussion: This is a difficult question to answer as there are allot of “it depends,” and a need to evaluate the situation in order to determine if cheating did occur. One area to be considered was Mr. D aware of the boundary and was he asked to let Mrs. A to know when it was close to “cumming” so that he could try to pull out? Another question to be answered, did Mr. D cum too fast because of the excitement and stress of the situation? It could be that even if Mrs. A had warning that it could not have been avoided because Mr. D “cummed” too quickly. Third question to be answered what was Mrs A intention? A lot of this revolves around what Mr. M knows about his wife and the current state of their relationship. Also, it comes down to what Mrs. A felt about her decision to perform oral on Mr. D to the put of “cumming” and if she was willing to take the risk that it might be seen as cheating. Finally, did the couple risk assess this activity, meaning did they realize that this was a possible consequence and they were prepared, as a couple, to accept that Mr. D might not be able to “pull-out” in time. My feeling the answer comes down to how important this boundary was to keep, how much discussion occurred, the understanding each person had of the boundary, and given their planned threesome how practical it was to expect Mr. D would not “cum” too fast.
Scenario 2: Using same couple from above, they agree that any communication with the third person would be transparent, whereby each of them would be present when any communication would occur. Mrs. A waits until Mr. M goes to be and uses IRC to plan a meeting alone with Mr. D. Mrs. A does not tell Mr. M of the meeting and he only discovers it a few days later when he discovers a saved chat between the two of him while he was a sleep.
Discussion: Unless there was some agreement between Mr M & Mrs A, such as she should meet him alone or that she should talk with him alone, then it is probable that cheating had a occurred due to the fact, as a couple, they agreed that any communication would occur in the presence of the other. Mrs. A should have known or did know that communicating without her husband present to meet the other alone would be considered cheating since it is in contrast to what has been agreed.
For a couple wanting to have a threesome and avoid cheating it means that they need to have definable boundaries that are understood along with being agreeable. In addition it means that for the couple they must rely more on their knowledge of their partner when considering if cheating has occurred in a threesome. If a couple encounters a violation of a boundary during a threesome, their definition is quite rigid and do not examine the violation in the larger context by trying to determine what caused it to happen then it is this author’s feeling that couple will face major problems for their relationship .
Finally it goes without saying threesomes are risky, even if every precautions are taken and it is planned meticulously. Defining cheating and if a violation of trust occurs then considering it in the context of why it happened does not ensure protection from anything damaging to the relationship. All it ensures is that added protection to the relationship is given via communication and agreeing on the definition.
- OP-ED: Essential characteristics that every couple considering a threesome should have (3somes.wordpress.com)
- FAQs about boundaries (3somes.wordpress.com)
- FAQs about threesomes for couples – Part 2 (3somes.wordpress.com)
- Threesome Terminology (3somes.wordpress.com)
- Writing an ad – Advice for single males (3somes.wordpress.com)
- FAQs – Finding a third person (3somes.wordpress.com)
- Polyamory vs. Threesomes (3somes.wordpress.com)