Is Cheating Ever Justified?

What do you do if you’re an expressly loyal person and your spouse cuts you off sexually? What if they deprive you of physical contact for a month, two months, three months or a year and this becomes a way of life?

And what if you can’t leave the marriage for financial reasons, at least not in the short term without total ruin? Is there a point at where you are justified to go outside your marriage for sex?

And does it matter what the reason for the cessation of sex is? For example, lack of interest? Spite / power play / control? What about illness?

And if you feel that going outside the marriage is justified, how long does a person have to be cut off before cheating seems morally justified to you?.

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Is Cheating Ever Justified? — 72 Comments

  1. One week or so?? πŸ™‚ No I’m joking. But to me you could equate sex with food. If someone stops feeding you, what are you going to do? Sit there and starve? Though I would say this only goes if you are intentionally starved – if it is a power game. If not I would be far more careful and patient, and forgiving.

  2. I don’t think I could ever justify lying to a partner, but I also see sex as a real need. I HAVE ended a relationship because of being cut off sexually. Two actually. But I never cheated.

  3. I broke up a couple of years ago from a 12 year partnership because the sex had gone down to twice a year. A friend said to me ‘if your not having sex then it’s just a friendship’ and really thats what we were. We liked each other a lot but were sexually/emotionally incompatible (i put this astrologically down to our venus’ being conjunct but moon’s square). I had a brief fling and hated myself for it (my dad was a serial cheat and i always vowed i would never do that to somebody or indeed allow it to happen to me) so broke it up. I lost alot, my home, my job, my social circle but do i regret it? No because i’ve been true to myself and one day i hope i’ll be rewarded for that. Being poor is a state of mind, i’ve been poor & happy before so see no reason why i cant be again. Money’s not everything, love is (and for me sex is a big part of showing that love).

  4. If someone is using sex as a power play, then why stay in the relationship and cheat? Just leave! Bc that situation means that the person is manipulating you which in itself is abusive and then if you go out and cheat, that manipulator is going to make YOU feel like crap. Who needs that?

    However, there are times when the lack of sex is an indication of deeper problems in a relationship and are not a blatant power play. In such a situation, waiting helps as long as you keep the lines of communication open. Going outside of the relationship for sex would make it easier to shield oneself from the truth that there’s an underlying problem to solve.

    I do believe that it’s okay to have sex with someone else if a partner has an illness. Sometimes being a caretaker can be tremendously draining and the caretaker can forget his/her needs. So, as long as there’s respect and consideration on the part of everyone involved and I do believe that’s possible. I mean, if I were sick and couldn’t give my beloved sex, I’d still want him to have it bc everyone needs touch and intimacy and sex. I don’t know if I’d want to know EVERYTHING but there are such things as tacit understandings.

  5. In general, I don’t believe in adultery. I think it’s always better to clean up one mess before starting to make another, but in the case where a partner is sick or the marriage can’t be dissolved for financial reasons (and most of the time? I don’t buy that excuse, for the record, but only because the people I know who claim they can’t afford to get a divorce are really obviously afraid to let go of the relationship because they’re terrified of never having another one, not because of money at all. It’s just easier for them to talk about the security of money rather than the security they perceive in a relationship.)

    I don’t think there should be sneaking around, but if one’s spouse has made it clear that they cannot or will not have sex, then there should be frank discussion about the inequalities of the relationship. Hopefully this would lead to productive professional counseling, but in the couples I know personally where this situation exists, the partner refusing to have sex also refuses to admit there are any problems in the relationship. But in any case, the relationship needs to be renegotiated from the ground up, rather than lying and cheating and trying to pretend like that’s ok.

  6. This question could have been based on my current situation. I have a choice to leave and fuck around with whoever I want, or stay and try to make it work. So far, I’m trying to make it work because I truly believe there is something there. But I’m not going to try forever. My husband is not a sexual guy at all, but he is a good man. The ironic thing is that he is so damn sexy and he doesn’t even know it. That’s probably why I stay. I ‘ve had dozens of opportunities to cheat. But, like you said a vow is a vow. I just turned 50 and I’m starting to realize that there is more to a relationship than sex. When I try to rationalize things, on one hand is a great guy who loves me to death, but not really interested in sex…..by the way he’s a Gemini but with a Virgo ascendant and several other houses in Virgo. I am also a Virgo. On the other hand, I wish he would just lighten up and just fuck me every night, 7 days a week. But that’s not our reality and I just try to make the best of an already pretty good marriage.

  7. “in the couples I know personally where this situation exists, the partner refusing to have sex also refuses to admit there are any problems in the relationship”

    I know, Ronda, and that’s really awful. That’s really selfish, imo. Although there are situations where it’s the opposite: the person who doesn’t want to have sex recognizes that counseling is needed but the other partner refuses bc s/he thinks the nonsexual one is withholding for no reason.

    I’ve been in situations where I was unhappy in a relationship and there went my sex drive and I wasn’t about to just put out if my partner wasn’t listening to me. For instance, there are a lot of women out there who are exhausted from childrearing and working and the husband doesn’t want to contribute but he’s expecting booty. I wouldn’t say to those women, Hey, babe, just put YOUR needs aside and bang your hubby. OR sometimes one of the partners doesn’t take care about his/her appearance, ie, doesn’t bathe enough, etc. and then sex can really be a sacrificial act.

    I’m not saying that that’s what you’re saying, Ronda, btw, I’m just saying that happens too.

  8. I haven’t, Christine, but I saw a show on DAteline, I think, in which these two couples had a weeklong session with a famous psychologist about sex starvation and one of the couples had a terrific turn-around and were able to bring back their sex life. The other couple realized that they were incompatible sexually and divorced. So it can happen but most people aren’t willing to delve deeply into their psychological dysfunctions.

    I can’t remember the psychologist’s name but he was great.

  9. I know that as long as my relationship with my husband is emotionally connected and intimate and alive then I could not cheat on him, simply because I know that if I did then regardless of whether he found out or not the dynamics between us will have changed. Because I would be different. Because there would be something between us.

    On the other hand, if the relationship was breaking down in major ways and I felt like our connection was either very damaged or gone then I’d be thinking about it differently, I’m sure. Particularly if he was giving me the cold-shoulder sexually. I could see myself coping with it if it was due to stress or illness, but if it was to do with some other issue within him and had the promise of going on indefinately then I’m sure my self-discipline at resisting temptation would be weakened considerably. Also if I felt like he was ever abusive to me, or disparging about my body then I would be shagging other people like a shot.

    As far as I’m concerned the vows I made depend also on the other side keeping their promises, because if they aren’t then all bets are off.

  10. I have christine, but i was the one who imposed the dry spell and one day I just woke up and realized how fucked up I was being. I can’t explain it though. He waited me out because he loves me and I hope I never forget how lucky I am.

  11. I don’t know what a “dry spell” is. My ex had a “dry spell,” and I relaized the sex was turning into never. I left him when I started skulking around other potential mates. The idea of cheating makes me want to pull my hair out with anxiety. Me or my partner!

    Has anyone had a dry spell of monhs or years and the sex returned to a level they were happy with?

  12. I do believe it’s wholly dependent on the situation. Having been sexually starved for years, severely so for the past two, I was able to go outside the marriage after we’d discussed it, and his realization, however why he came to the decision, that he just couldn’t/wouldn’t fill that need for me. Granted, it’s like bread crumbs, so after much waiting, we’re finally getting divorced.

    But that’s it, too, isn’t it? Sex doesn’t make or break a relationship if all the other needs are filled; however, how often are those other needs met when there is no sense of intimacy in a relationship?

    As for keeping the vows, if he/she is not fulfilling your needs, then they have already cheated on you, IMO, without touching another naked body, as their loyalty has already wavered when they decided that your needs are unimportant.

    It’s also, in part, dependent on whether your partner *wants* to resolve the issue. In my case, my spouse has PTSD. He’s just not available to me at all, but his continued refusal to seek help had made me feel like a second class citizen in my own home. It is treatable, yet he put everything else above my needs.

    I am finally financially and emotionally ready to be alone, but I know that’s not always the case (it wasn’t for me for a very long time), so the affair I had kept me breathing instead of drowning in my misery.

  13. I chose no. Relationships are complex, people change in time, sp why “wow is a wow” sounds silly to me. H
    This year IÒ€ő

  14. If it’s discussed and both partners agree that it’s acceptable to go outside the relationship for sexual needs, I don’t think it’s cheating.

    Other than that… No, it’s not ‘justified’. Especially when a long-term affair is concerned. A stupid one night stand is somewhat understandable to me in that situation, but it’s still not ‘ok’. I think that, rather than carry on affairs, people should either make an agreement with their partner or end the relationship, if it’s at that point.

  15. If one spouse tells the other, “Look, I don’t want to have sex any more, period,” I think they should have to deal with their partner going outside to get it. It’s not fair to say, “I don’t want it any more AND YOU SHOULDN’T EITHER, you have to go without forever.”

    As for illness…hell, who knows in that case. But that’s different to me than someone who just doesn’t want to even try to go there any more.

  16. Leave the relationship. I don’t agree in cheating. Even if you can not physically separate due to financial or whatever reasons, you can let the other person know you are done and be DONE and move on with a clean conscience. There’s never a good reason to betray someone.

    As for illness? Come on, wtf? Unless they agree with it, then no. If you can’t handle it, leave them. I’m not usually black and white on any issues but this one really gets me. Maybe I’ll change my mind if I have to deal with it someday, but for now, no. Don’t cheat. It is so damaging to the other person and yourself.

  17. I voted yes, a person can go outside for sex. But a vow is always a vow too. So the partner i’m married to would have to be ok with that fact, no cheating, no lying.

    Relationships serve the individual purpose of each person, and not the other way around. One person shouldn’t be unhappy if the other can’t provide what they need. I beleive in honesty and freedom in relationships.
    When people don’t have that as a priority in their relatinship it won’t be real.

  18. *snicker* I have Venus in Libra, and I can’t decide!

    A lot of you guys made excellent points.
    The way I see it, it’s okay to go outside the relationship for sex as long as everyone knows what’s going on and it’s all kept above board. But, really, that’s not cheating, is it?

    So, open relationship? Yes.
    Cheating? NO.

    Monogamy is monogamy is monogmay, except when it’s not. πŸ˜‰

  19. if the sex dries up, there’s a reason why. personally, i think the reason is more important to address than the sex.

    my husband and i have had dry spells, specifically when we had other stressors or when he had some depression issues for a while.

    i’ve always thought cheating was wrong, and after having been cheated on in (non-married) relationships and seeing the aftermath in marragies, no, i don’t think i could ever cheat. if it’s that bad, then it’s time to rethink the relationship.

  20. According to Houghton Mifflin Dictionary Cheat means (“informally”) to be sexually unfaithful.Then I looked up the word unfaithful, “Not adhering to promises, obligations, or allegiances; disloyal. See Synonyms at faithless.

    Not true or constant to one’s sexual partner.
    Not true to one’s spouse; guilty of adultery.”

    I think a cheat is one who lacks character….moral or otherwise and I definitely do not want to be in a union with someone who lacks character.
    Now, Elsa asked whether there could be extenuating circumstances that would allow for finding sexual gratification outside of a marital vow and I say, unequivically, no.
    I have to say I lacked character in most of my relationships and the price I paid for this behavior was very high.
    Sex is only a small part of a true relationship and if you cannot navigate a “dry spell” then you did not prepare for the journey.
    If my husband lost his penis for any reason I would not even contemplate the idea of going outside our relationship. I married him in spirit which happens to inhabit a very beautiful physical vehicle that gets him from point A…to point B with ease. But if that vehicle were stalled or disabled for any reason I’d help him to repair it….not abandon it on the ‘side of the road’.
    The one thing that stands out to me from all the posts condoning cheating (even with permission) is the lack of depth and true “love” in these relationships. How sad.

  21. “As for illness? Come on, wtf? Unless they agree with it, then no. If you can’t handle it, leave them.”

    I think leaving a person when s/he’s sick and weak is a much bigger betrayal than anything else. I haven’t been in this situation but I know people who do have to contend with spouses who have a long-term debilitating illness, the kind that worsen over 20 years. Is a person supposed to just neglect all his/her needs over 20 years? And wouldn’t leaving someone so that you don’t cheat also be backing out of a vow, you know, the part about taking care of him/her “in sickness and in health”? Personally, I think abandoning someone who’s ill is execrable, worse than cheating, even.

  22. being sexually intimate with someone always involves a lot more than just sex – you actually take on and deal with the shadow issues of your partner (in addition to your own ).
    morality and vows aside, it is hard to imagine anyone who is truly mature and centered enough to manage one relationship that is struggling without sex for some reason – who would not then be more confused and thrown off balance by the complexities of another relationship just to meet sexual needs…. you never get just sex from a sexual relationship – you get the shadow energies on both sides to deal with as well.

  23. I think that’s very true, Don. But on the other hand, if you happen to marry someone who falls ill, does that mean that you have to become a martyr and completely put aside those needs and wants for the sake of your partner for however long his/her illness drags out? I would think that would breed resentment in anyone without Mother Theresa’s character and a resentful person is not a loving person.

    I’m of the opinion that, no, that there has to be a different, less dogmatic and rigid definition of love. And I say this as someone who has a terrible terrible tendency to think that true love involves tremendous sacrifices (Cancer rising, Pisces Moon square Venus in 12th House). You better believe that my family taught me that being a woman meant sacrificing your needs for the one you love–and it’s a horrible lesson, one that has taken me many many years to unlearn and I’m still struggling. Martyrdom is not love.

  24. Hey Marly, I get what you mean, and that’s why I said if they don’t agree with it, then you either have to deal with it or leave. As much as it might hurt the ill person, you’re hurting too. I personally don’t think I could do that but there are a lot of people that could! I just think it’s silly to even think of sex if your partner is ill enough to not be able to have it! that’s why I said, wtf?

  25. I don’t know. I mean, this situation happened with Daniel Barenboim and his wife Jacqueline DuPre. It was a meeting of true minds and souls. Jacqueline was a brilliant cellist and Barenboim a gifted conductor. Then Jacqueline fell ill with Multiple Sclerosis. This is a disease that progressively debilitates your muscles. Barenboim cared for Jacqueline as she grew progressively weaker. However, all of their friends and fellow musicians also knew that in the meantime he was having an affair with another woman. Everyone kept the secret from Jacqueline and Daniel continued to tend to her lovingly until her death two years later. I happen to think that Barenboim did the right thing. To leave Jacqueline when she was being robbed of her health and of her ability to make music would have been incredibly cruel. On the other hand, why deny himself love and support from someone else if it allowed him to give it back to Jacqueline who couldn’t reciprocate due to circumstances? What would have happened to Jacqueline?

    I know people whose spouses have MS and while they may not have lovers on the side, I do know that all of them would rather stay by their spouses than leave them. And if they succumb to desire, I can’t judge someone in that situation, sorry. That would take a lot of chutzpah.

  26. Correction: Jaqueline was sick with MS for 14 years and Daniel had a lover for the last two years of her life only. So he held on for 12 years before having an affair, I guess.

  27. See, that betrayal would kill me more than him leaving would. I need to know the TRUTH no matter what. I would rather be left than lied to. But that’s me, others don’t mind being in the dark. I would be pissed as all fucking hell if all my friends and family hid my husband’s affair from me. I’d want nothing to do with any of them at all.

  28. So, basically, sexual infidelity is the worst kind of betrayal there is? Everything else is just a light, like the beer commercial says?

  29. “Martyrdom is not love.”

    I’m scratching my head on this one? “Sacrifice”….”martyrdom”? How is remaining faithful to your “commited” relationship a sacrifice? I agree with saggal.” I need to know the TRUTH no matter what. I would rather be left than lied to”….If you cannot remain celebate then for God’s sake do the other person a favor and get out of their life.
    Leave them with their dignity and self respect.
    Again, I do not believe we are discussing spiritual relationships so this would explain one’s ability to be flippant about sex.
    Don makes a very valid point in his post. Sex is never just about the act.
    Marly, you sound as though you’ve been through quite an ordeal and are still working out the kinks. I can definitely empathize with your struggle to define love by your own terms. (I have a Retrograde Venus and it is imperative that I do this for my own evolution.)
    I have tried “open” relationships and they just do not work. Someone ALWAYS gets hurt. I could tell you details of this lifestyle to give credence to my words but I don’t want to bore you. I am a Sadge Sun with a Libra Ascendant so jealousy is not an issue with me……but commitment is. I believe that if you found that person who inspires you to act with integrity you’d never consider cheating an option.
    The story about Daniel and Julie was inspiring up until the end. Daniel was a martyr because he stayed out of duty. I wonder what Julie would have thought about his affair? I know that if I had a long-term illness I’d want my husband to tell me up front that he’s not willing to deal with it. I’d respect his honesty and integrity to remain true to himself. It would be a win-win situation at that point.
    Just my thoughts.

  30. “How is remaining faithful to your “commited” relationship a sacrifice?”

    You’re distorting what I meant. I don’t think that being committed to a relationship is a sacrifice in and of itself. I think it is only IF your partner is treating you badly and you still stay OR if you consider your partner’s needs more important than your own.

    Btw, I don’t think that Daniel was necessarily a martyr because he stayed out of duty. We really don’t know why he stayed; that’s something only he knows and we’re not privy to people’s thought processes. Our assumptions do not the truth make. Maybe he did stay out of duty. Or MAYBE he stayed because he truly did love Jacqueline and wanted to care for her when she was so weak. I don’t understand why you say that Daniel couldn’t deal with Jacqueline’s long-term illness–after all, he showed that he could by staying and taking care of her. Does the fact that he had sex with another woman negate that? Are we saying that in order to truly care for a sick person, you have to surrender your needs for sex and companionship? It IS possible that he loved both Jacqueline and the other woman with whom he had an affair, no? People can love more than one person at a time.

    He probably lied to Jacqueline to spare her feelings.

  31. Well, I suppose that I have a unique experience, because my husband really does have MS and at times it has affected our sex life. But I do have to say…thank God for Viagra! Sometimes, the mind is willing, but the flesh is weak.

    I wouldn’t say my drive is raging either, so I don’t feel deprived (though the ‘once a quarter’ stories sound simply frightening). My hubby has Saturn conj Neptune in the 8th house – infidelity scares him in a profound way. I promised I would never cheat, and I’m Sun conj Saturn, so I won’t – even though I know he will become more and more disabled as the years progress.

    Of course, I’ve heard much worse stories of ill spouses that entirely have lost their sex drives – and strike out angrily at the able-bodied spouse. I’ve also heard of having a special “agreement” with a disabled spouse to get something on the side and still stay for the caregiving. Conversely, some people just don’t have the stomach for illness and fly the coop, regardless of the sexual question.

    I think in the end, it is very individual and personal decision. For myself, I share an intimacy with my husband that would be irrevocably damaged by cheating. For me, its just not worth it.

  32. “I have tried “open” relationships and they just do not work. Someone ALWAYS gets hurt.”

    I’m sure you’re right. I haven’t had any open relationships and I’ve never cheated on anyone. I never say never bc every single time I’ve said “I’ll NEVER ___”, fate intervenes and I end up eating my words. So I’m kinda superstitious about that.

  33. “Does the fact that he had sex with another woman negate that?”
    I don’t know, Marly, what do you think? Do you think that if you lost your females parts to cancer or if your s.o. lost his male anatomy in an …..oh, let’s say in an IED explosion .that it is fair to go outside of the relationship? How comforting would that be to know the person you thought loved you was just not fulfilled in the relationship without your sex organs.
    I really don’t know why I am arguing this point because as I stated in an earlier post we are not speaking of spiritually uplifting and rewarding relationships. we are talking about relationships based on sex.
    You know what I find most interesting about New Age Astrology is that it is allowing room for another definition of love represented by the 11th House…the house of friendships…hmmmmmm.
    Would a friend stab another friend in the back because they felt they were not getting their needs met? I wonder?
    Maybe that’s apples to oranges……

    I liked what Unita said, “I think in the end, it is very individual and personal decision. For myself, I share an intimacy with my husband that would be irrevocably damaged by cheating. For me, its just not worth it.”….that was beautiful.

    Marly, you say you’ve never been in an open relationship and yet you make such statements as, “People can love more than one person at a time”…..and
    “I do believe that it’s okay to have sex with someone else if a partner has an illness” and then there is the ……”everyone needs touch and intimacy and sex.”
    If you’ve never been in these situations how can you know what you’d do? Are you speaking from experience or are you using someone else’s rationale?
    As for the last quote all I have to say is really? “Everyone”? To use your own quote,”Our assumptions do not the truth make.”
    Perhaps we will agree to disagree.

  34. Gah! I don’t know. Depriving people of sex is a way of protest, like in the Lysistrata when the women deprive men of sex for peace. Sometimes it is as much as you can do. The reason is very important. Cheating is incredible because no matter how many times people think they can pull the “Sammy and Rosie Get Laid” and have an open relationship, there is this visceral pain involved in finding out someone has cheated on you. Not just being cuckolded and the loss of power. As a child of a married couple, I sometimes do the stupid, half joking shit of asking my dad point blank, “dad how come you were late coming home” when I know he had an event at work. I even cover the tv/turn the channel immaturely when there is a sex scene or say “we can watch this,” to my mom “as long as my dad isn’t there” and he equally immaturely keeps going back to the channel (this is a good example of how my dad the Capricorn seems to get immature around me like spitting water at me from a faucet and then running away). My mom is a wise woman and understands that as long as a man is looking at the menu and not ordering anything, that is okay, and that their freedom shouldn’t be restricted by that. I can say/do the things I do because I am certain that my dad doesn’t cheat. No matter if people believe the grand fluff of the voluntary marriage bond I associate with Christianity, it is amazing how viscerally the children feel at even the suggestion that their dad has cheated. If I felt that way, I would know it. I don’t know if it is that he has lied, but I do know that it comes. I don’t know the words to describe the reason for it. Being betrayed? I would say that it matters why they are being deprived of sex and how much their partner is worth to them. The question of who is right is important. I mean, if you are some disenfranchised woman in an arranged marriage and are being treated unjustly, how can you stab at your husband who can physically overpower you? Deny what makes sex pleasurable to him. So in that case it is a power play. Also for some it is possible to go without sex for a long time or indefinitely. From what you told us about your Mars, Elsa, it probably wouldn’t be healthy for you not to have something like sex for a long period of time, right? If it is a question of health, it is important to have sex. I would say that if I were a lawyer writing a general treatise on ethics about this, the odds would be too relative for me to do it.

  35. Ive been in a relationship were i felt so controled that i shut down he started cheating we divorced.Im a cancer so im easily bruised guess.But to me if there is no sex there is a issue somewhere that is not being worked on or the partner is not willing to help fix or a stronghold of some sort and its hard for one partner to pull all the weight.If a woman feels like she is a big deal to a man sex is all the time well thats me at least with my hubby.

  36. Why not really really try and work on the relationship you have with help.Instead of looking elsewhere for sex creating another hurtful mess.Adultery always hurts down the lone for sure.

  37. “Do you think that if you lost your females parts to cancer or if your s.o. lost his male anatomy in an …..oh, let’s say in an IED explosion .that it is fair to go outside of the relationship? How comforting would that be to know the person you thought loved you was just not fulfilled in the relationship without your sex organs.”

    Sex is not just about the sex organs, especially in this era of phone-sex and internet sex. If I lost my female parts to cancer, I could give my husband a blow-job or a hand-job. If he lost his penis, he could go down on me or jerk me off or I could jerk off on his leg. Or he could talk to me while I masturbate or he could get a sex toy or… Girl, there are OPTIONS!! The operative word here is not the actual tools/sex organs but the willingness to be intimate and please your partner and have fun and enjoy each other’s bodies. I do think that the sexual element is part of a romantic relationship. It is to me, anyway.

    The only circumstance under which I think it would be fine to go outside the relationship for sex is illness and not bc of the sex organs but bc the illness can debilitate you to the point that you don’t have any energy for intimacy in any form. And I have already said that I think that if I were too sick to please my partner, I would tell him that it’d be okay to go elsewhere to have his needs met. I know that definitely if I were sick, I wouldn’t want to be abandoned.

    I don’t have to have had an open relationship to know that people can love more than one person at a time. I have felt love for more than one man at a time. Now, I have never had two concurrent sexual relationships and I have always been faithful. Feeling something doesn’t mean that I have to act on it. I have also had people cheat on me and, yes, it hurt but I know they still loved me. I have also had family members who cheated and I know that they still loved their spouses AND their lovers. They fucked up, yes. They were wrong, yes. But they loved their spouses regardless of who they were having sex with. Believe me, the men who have hurt me the most were not the ones who cheated on me but the ones who betrayed me in other, more unexpected ways.

    I don’t think that truth is only about having lived a particular experience. If this were so there wouldn’t be great fiction writers! Or actors or playwrights!

    I do think that everyone needs touch. I think it’s been scientifically proven, even. Now, does this touch mean that it has to be sexual only? No. It doesn’t have to be sexual but it does have to be human touch and you can get it in a myriad of ways. When I’m not in a relationship and I need to touch and be touched, I go tango-dancing.

    I’m finding your tone somewhat condescending. Just a wee bit, as if I were a little girl who hasn’t thought anything through. If someone hurt you bc s/he cheated on you, I’m sorry that you had that pain and that experience. We’re two different people, right? I understand and accept where you’re coming from so please be so kind as to not talk down to me just bc our views differ. I myself don’t know why I’m invested in the argument so I will stop now.

  38. I just think god would want us to go home and try and make it work with your partner instead of running to someone else which could bring on more and more problems.There is never going to be a perfect partner.Yes i know everone needs touch me included before in my other marriage i did not deny but it is hard to want sex when someone is controlling and emotionally abusive now i know why he was cheating on me blaming me.So i did everything but eat dirt for the man he still cheated and blamed.

  39. I never meant to talk down to you at all.I am not the one to judge you at all.That would come from some one else.I do not think if someone ever loved you they would cheat.Yes we do see things different i guess but i never meant it to be hurtful.Everyone i guess loves in a different way.

  40. Hi, Lyn. This is jamie….the lady that Marly is calling condescending. I just don’t want you to take the fall for me so I thought I’d let you off the hook.

    Sorry about the tone, Marly. I can get real passionate about this stuff so I’m backing off too…but I would like to leave you with a little saying someone pretty darned smart said about love. (This is in response to ,”I have also had people cheat on me and, yes, it hurt but I know they still loved me.”)
    …..quote “love does not hurt” end quote.

  41. I like that quote too Jamie. Thanks. You seem like you would be an awesome person to have as a friend (from what I’ve read from your comments on Elsa’s site).

  42. Ok, I’m in the situation you are discussing..my wife has been ill for about 11 yrs. She lost her vision in 96 and has had a series of pituitary tumors.. I haven’t slept around on her.. I have had opportunities..(and still do).. I can tell you that the loss of companionship is the WORST thing to deal with.. she sleeps most of the time to get away from the pain.. she is on all kinds of meds.. is weak, wears Depends all the time ( VERY SEXY)…and in general is only concerned about how everything affects her. Sex happens from time to time..but its NOT like sex with a healthy partner..nothing about living with someone that is disabled and ill is the same.

    This isn’t to say she is a bad person, or anything like that, its just when you are cronically ill, you loose alot in your abilities to care for or be envolved with others..

    So, does my desire to have a companion make me a bad guy ?? I don’t want to leave her, can’t imagine NOT taking care of her, want to know that she has everything she needs and is taken care of..but, as for being starved for companionship, and someone to interact with.. YOU BET I am..

    I don’t think anyone can judge someone in this situation until they done a year or two in those shoes.. as for me..I have to decide soon what I will do about a companion.. I don’t think I can do this for another 11 years alone..

  43. ROB, (if you check back)
    Your story is heartbreaking. After taking care of your wife for eleven years, I don’t see how anyone could say you are less than committed to her happiness. But, caretakers also need to be taken care of. By keeping/making yourself happy, you are able to give more of that happiness to your wife. It’s not a finite commodity, after all. There’s enough for all, and enough to share with all.
    From your post it seems that your wife is very focused on herself and her illness, with little left over for you. If you talked to her about your need for companionship, do you think she could listen and help you decide what’s best for you both? I hope, either way, you come to a decision soon, one that everyone involved will be comfortable with.
    Much love.

    MOVING ON
    Saggal brings up an interesting point, one that I personally agree with – it’s not so much the sex itself that bothers me about infidelity, it’s the LYING. Do what you want, but let me know the truth of it!
    When discussing this with my fiance, we came to the conclusion that, subjective as this topic is, it seems to boil down to whether or not a person views sex as an emotional commitment.
    For example, neither my fiance nor I believe love follows sex (or, indeed, needs to be linked at all) and we both believe that in some cases requesting/granting permission to go outside the relationship to have physical needs met is acceptable. But our friend, who could not seperate sex and love to save his life, was adamantly against going outside the relationship, whether permission was given or not.
    Just something to think about.

  44. Thanks for the reply to my earlier post..

    I think any conversation with her about my needs not being meant would just hurt and upset her.. She is very depressed most of the time, and doesn’t need anything like that to make her fell worse… its just not an easy answer..and I will say also I was thinking of my 11 yr old daugher the other day. ( yeah she was just 3 months old when all this happend) If she was in my situation, I’d want her to be HAPPY.. it seems easier for me to understand someone else being happy and having a companion than I do myself..

  45. Wow, what an interesting topic.. Rob, it is easy for those of us not in your boots to judge how tight the fit is, isn’t it? I really feel for you, and urge you (if you haven’t already) to find some outside support…for example an MS Society, or Brain Injury support group etc. I am not sure what illness your wife has but perhaps there is somewhere you can go. And if you have a keen interest in astrology, why not check your chart out with Elsa? The chart often reveals some creative solutions to tackling seemingly hopless challenges. I am sorry because you sound lonely. But I am glad you have your daughter with you! Best wishes to you.

    Now, I am a real believer in honesty especially having a Sagittarius rising and Capricorn Moon (it’s all about the integrity!) but I am also very influenced by Neptune. I am prone not only to deceiving myself, but illusions. I hear things and see things, for godsake. It’s embarrassing!

    My partner had a horrible accident a few years back, and low and behold, was asking me to jerk him off in the hosptial! WTF? I felt unable to do it, first off because being intimate in that setting was waaayyy too much for me. Second of all because he was still all bloody and had a cast on, and I am not into getting busy with someone who was obviously still very maimed, though I relaize some are. Laugh if you will–I do now.
    I was at a loss, because providing for each other sexually is a discussed deal-breaker in our relationship–now this weird shit. Then he was barking at me to bring porn! Makes me laugh now, because on another thread I said something like “My hubby ain’t into porn!” but he asked for–no, demanded it–at this point, so as Marly said already NEVER SAY NEVER! But, we don’t even know if he’s been paralysized for sure and I am supposed to trot off to the store for T&A? I guess it’s Scorpio Moon/Venus, I dunno! Last chance, all aboard?

    The second thing I thought of when Rob posted was that my partner’s mother has MS, has for over 30 years, and is now almost completely disabled. I don’t know if the sex is happening (who asks their inlaws if they are getting laid, anyway)? I doubt it.

    Saying all that. I believe in honesty. I maintain my integrity and dignity at all costs. I can’t lie for shit. If I were sick, or disabled, I would want my partner to get laid. I know he is capable of physical relationships without attatchment–I certainly am. I wish there would be some way he could do it without me knowing. I trust he would never, ever leave me. I live by that trust, that’s why the relationship has worked.

    I am willing to take the bullet of people who think I am delusional on this one (which would be hard to deny with such an overactive 12th house natal Neptune)…but I believe it. I don’t think I am condoning my partner “cheating” on me. Some of us have very different views on sex. I guess it’s that whole “What I don’t know won’t hurt me.” I would very much live by that rule in this scenario, I think.

    And I don’t think I am the only person who believes this.

  46. For people who cannot fathom honesty and delusion/deception as qualities that can exist within the same being…I present to you Neptune.

  47. Whoa, Rob. I think that more than talking to a psychiatrist since you can’t talk to your wife about it, talking to someone you respect as a moral authority like a priest or spiritual figure would help, maybe. Because it’s a complicated issue and I suppose you have to talk to somebody? Plus as far as morality (which is part of what I think is concerned although I have little clue), you’ll want someone who has a philosophy in common with you. Sorry.

  48. Because some might read “caretakers also need to be taken care of. By keeping/making yourself happy, you are able to give more of that happiness to your wife” as a weak argument excusing moral lapse or whatever. But I don’t know well what’s at stake. Because I would probably find relatively immoral ways to escape this sort of being tied down. With kids, though, I don’t know.

  49. Interesting topic, interesting comments.

    To the “Love Does Not Hurt” crowd – that seems a naive and overly idealistic view to me. From my experience love hurts like a bitch, because love rarely exists in isolation, and the Love Thing to do is frequently opposed to the thing you want to do.

    It is Love to let your child go to live with its father, if that’s what the child wants to do. It is Love to not guilt trip your child about it, no matter how torn up it makes you feel, because you love them and want them around.

    People wound and people dissapoint. Every person, in some way. Sometimes Love means accepting someone for who they are rather than who you want them to be, and some of those acceptances are very painful indeed. And then Love hurts very much, because your heart gets torn in two. Ultimately, I belive it hurts less than not acceptin and living in anger and hatred your whole life- but it is still likely to be deeply painful.

    And of course, love hurts when it dies.

    Frequently I think love hurts very much indeed because it shakes you up and challenges you and takes you to places inside you where you may not want to go. And that doesn’t mean that Love isn’t real. It just means you’re experiencing a Pluto transit. πŸ˜‰

    To everyone going “relationships are more than sex” please don’t undervalue sex. I am a very sexual being. Sex at its best is powerfully bonding, and releasing and transformative. I am deeply attached to it, and its gratification purposes not just for love and intimacy but also for their powerful stress-release mechanisms.

    I second Marly, sexuality goes way beyond the sex organs, and that the willingness to pleasure one another through whatever means available is very important. If my husband couldn’t pleasure me, it would be a very different expeirence if I was bringing myself off alone in the bathroom or if I was doing it next to him while he kissed me and offered loving assistance. Yes of course everyone goes through dry spells – I’ve had my own share of them, but the unwillingness to engage in intimacy (beyond the classical shagging kind) is problematic.

    I agree with Saggal, for me the deceptiona and the lying is worse than anything – I’d want to know the truth, so that I could then go on and deal with that fairly. Make honest choices and live with them. BUT I also think this is highly individual (I know plenty of women who wouldn’t want to know), and that Rob knows his wife better than anyone.

    Supporting someone who is ill, is very very hard and no one can judge another person about it until you have to do it yourself. It’s all fine saying “unconditional spiritual love” will get you through the muck, but it ignores the fact that often the sick person changes. They can become angry, or needy or highly unpleasant. And while all those changes are understandable in the context of their disease that doesn’t make them any easier to live with. My husband drives me bonkers when he’s ill because he just shuts down and moans and makes demands.

    Illness, long-term disablity are all powerfully painful and transformative processes for everyone involved. There is so much loss for both partners, of the people they were, the people they knew, the hopes and dreams they had. There is a lot to deal with.

    If I was sick, if I felt helpless, I think I’d need my husband’s support more than ever. It would be painful for me to think that he was having an affair because it would add to my helplessness etc. but at the same time I’d like to think I’d understand why and that although I’d be entitled to my anger, I wouldn’t judge him for it, but that I’d appreciate him for what he was giving me. My husband is more than my lover, he is fundamentally my friend, and in times of illness it’s my friend I need. But at the same time I’d hope I could recognise that he was a red-blooded human being with needs and desires of his own and that he was entitled to receive his own share of care and nurture and release that I could no longer provide.

    And if he was sick and needed me, I would not dream of abandoning him then. It would be like kicking a puppy. But at the same time if his illness looked to be progressive and long-term then I think I’d probably need to bid goodbye to my husband-as-my-consort/lover and accept him as my friend, my companion. And if the sexual side of me, the side of me that needed release and appreciation and feeling good was still alive and asking for expression, then I’d be trying to find some way of honouring that before I bailed on my husband or we all went crazy.

    There is no one way of being in love, in partnership. We are fundamentally different people, and we all have different gifts and flaws. I don’t have a rigid morality. I think everything depends on the circumstances and that we are not judged on the black-and white facts but on how well we did relative to our resources/capacities, on everything else that’s been going on in the context of our lives.

  50. Nia, that was very eloquent. *applauds*

    Dani, although some may take it as such, it’s not a weak excuse in my mind.

    When I worked in mental health, a lot of our patients who were caretakers would overlook their own needs, effectively subsuming who they were into their loved one’s illness. It’s certainly not a healthy way to go about things, and eventually they would burn out. Most, thank cheeze, came for help before that happened.

    In the long term is it better to break one vow (hopefully with consent) or abandon a seriously, possibly terminally, ill person because you can’t deal with the strain anymore? To me, at least, the abandonment is the greater ethical evil. That’s where I was coming from with that.

    I do agree that if Rob can’t speak to his wife then he should find a sounding board he’s comfortable with.

    I’m going to apologize now if I misconstrued what you were trying to say. It’s kinda hard for me to tell from your post whether you were agreeing or dissing.

  51. Is rape ever OK? IS murder ever OK? No, of course cheating is never ok. If your partner is cutting you off for no good reason you should talk to them, seek profesional help, and hope they overcome whatever problem they have. The most depressing part of the question is the end where you say, “And what if you can’t leave the marriage for financial reasons.” I would rather work at Taco Bell and live in a shelter than be unfaithful in marriage. Divorce is an option but only after lots of profesional help and a real effort to confront the issues.(but personally i could never divorce for this reason) Love is everlasting and eternal do not through it aside so lightly. What worth is there in this world without faith to love? A vow is a vow. If you don’t have your word, you don’t have anything.

    In a word, there are three things that last forever:
    Faith, hope, and love;
    But the greatest of them all is love.
    — 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

    I might be a romantic and you can dismiss me by labeling me Christian but im just saying what i know.

  52. No one is talking about STDs in relation to sex with the spouse and cheating. For me not cheating is important because of the risk of bringing home STDs or HIV. I’d go without for a while if my partner wanted a dry spell. And I’d get a divorce if that dry spell went on too long and he wasn’t looking ar overcoming the dry spell. As for illness I do think it selfish to want sex while your mate is ill but I also understand the need for escape and release and intimacy during such a stressful time.

  53. I didn’t vote. I wouldn’t cheat, and I hope I would never be cheated on. But I don’t know every situation out there. I can’t make a final decision to end all decisions because each situation is unique. I have told my husband if he is ever interested in someone else to just let me know. I’d rather know and either he’s simply in love with someone else, or there is a problem with our relationship. If it’s a problem we could work on it. If it’s love well then he has a right to make a choice and I’d rather know ahead of time and keep our trust and honesty. Than find out later and have to kill someone. πŸ˜‰

  54. In relationships, and above all in marriage, there should (must) be full disclosure. Swingers, open marriages, polygamy, friends-with-benefits, polyamoury, are all o.k. IMO because no one is walking around in the dark. It’s about communication and trust. It’s simple “If you cut me off, it’s very likely that I will be intimate with someone else given the opportunity. If you are not o.k. with that, we should part ways or address our issues.”

  55. I think if the marriage is over in all but legal matters and name only, and BOTH people in the marriage are aware of this, and BOTH people agree that it is okay, that is the only time it is justifiable.

    Otherwise. NO. Never.

  56. I do agree with Daeshii on the point that cheating can be done without physically stepping out to the relationship. If one person is intentionally withholding, playing games and what not, they are cheating the other person. This does break the vows because ultimately they have placed their needs above their partners needs. And this is every bit as serious and needing to be addressed as sexual infidelity. Cheating is onto a way to address this issue. Essentially cheating is a way for the cheated partner to screw themselves over even more. Now they are being mistreated and abused by three people, the partner, themselves, and the person they’ve cheated with. Way to spread the grief around…

  57. Sexuality is complicated…relationships and intimacy are complicated…and they’re not necessarily monogamous one-on-one-for-the-rest-of-your-life-the-end. In fact, more often than not, they’re not (don’t believe me? Look into serial monogamy, divorce rates, and extramarital affair rates, and understand that they’re likely flawed low because people don’t like to admit that they get involved extra-maritally). I think honesty is crucial when talking about intimacy and sex, and that the betrayal of lying to someone about sex with a different partner is far worse than the act of sex with a different partner.

    Vows are professions of intention, and I don’t think people make them with the intention of breaking them. I think couples should discuss “what happens if” before making those vows though, and it seems like people rarely do (and this isn’t just in regards to sex, it pertains to child rearing, finances, friendships, housecleaning, take your pick…) But I think that if you’re going to discuss the morality of breaking a vow, it’s important to look at the circumstances in which is happens. If a couple are experiencing a long-term, lack of sex due to a debilitating illness or other circumstance and both people are aware of the strain that it causes on the relationship and are okay with the healthy partner having another partner (and yes, this happens, there are times when the ill partner will actually suggest it because they KNOW what it’s doing to their loved one), then why should anyone else judge that couple or the healthy one as immoral? What business is it of anyone not in that relationship? Is it a broken vow if the other person in the relationship consents, or essentially releases them from the monogamy promise?

    I haven’t cheated in my relationships, and I’m not currently in a relationship (just for the record). I have had people who stated during our relationship that they wanted to see other people (“see other people” being their euphemism for “get sexually involved”) while staying involved with me, and I’ve had people who cheated (did it and lied about it until they got caught). To me, there’s a world of difference.

    I think it’s just more complicated than “yes, cheating is okay” and “no, it’s never acceptable”. But Elsa, there’s no “I’m Libra and can’t decide!” option! (And I’m not Libra, so I can’t use that option anyway…but I do have Venus in Sag and my moon in Capricorn, with Pluto in my seventh (relationship?) house. So maybe I’m a little detached.)

  58. I think the key word in the question is “justified.” I’m realist and I know that circumstances can be extremely difficult. I don’t think I should judge people when their personal life is none of my business. BUT, I think dishonest nookie while married is never justified. Understandable maybe, but not justified.

  59. May I kindly suggest *ta da!* masturbation! A lovely way to amuse yourself and still keep committed. And in your fantasy life you can screw whoever you damn well please!

  60. Unless you happen to belong to one of the religions that believe thoughts of adultery are as bad as actual adultery, in which case you’re screwed anyway!

  61. ask them, and if they’re understanding and agree with it… and are actually comfortable with it, go ahead.

    otherwise, no. i’d find a way to leave, if it was bad enough.

  62. I think lots of people who leave a marriage easily and people who advise leaving a marriage very easily don’t have a very long view of what the reality is.

    Divorce is no Wonderland, neither is single parenthood, and neither is remarriage.

    I wouldn’t throw a marriage away because of cheating, personally. I have never experienced it but I don’t think that I would do that especially at this point in my life.

    I don’t have any real desire to cheat but I also think that that has to do with the fact that my son would be aware of it, and I really couldn’t look him in the eye if I did that. That’s why it’s amazing to me sometimes when you see men who cheat on their kids mother when the kids are teenagers or older who think that the kids are going to be okay with that and accept their new wife or girlfriend. Crazy.

    I think this is why old school Italian cheating actually functioned and still functions to an extent. When you take away any possibility but the man is going to leave his wife and family for his mistress, I think the destruction can be avoided. The husband and wife keep their family, the kids have their parents, and the delusional mistress has her fantasy of being the man’s true love. Amazingly, lots of women will take on that role, thinking they’re beating out the wife in the sexy department. Whatever.

    I’ll take property rights over the “BJ Queen” crown any day.

    I think that for the spouse who cheats and for the mistress or other man, I think it has a lot more to do with ego than anything else. In practical terms, you’re just not going to get as much out of an affair relationship as you are out of a marriage.

    To get back to the question, I think that if your spouse has a disease or is sick then yes it is wrong to cheat. I think if there are different issues and a spouse is not giving a full relationship, then they open themselves up to being cheated on.

  63. If sex is being deprived because of spite, power play, vengeance or general lack of interest then cheating is justified. In my mind the partner who does this is not contributing to the relationship. And instead of making their “loved one” happy, instead of wanting them to be happy, they’re purposely making them miserable. That’s no longer a real relationship. It’s a farce.

    We express our love and affection through sex. Everybody wants to feel loved and desired. Frankly, if people stay in a marriage because they have to I don’t think they should carry more misery.

    If there’s no sex because one of the partner is sick that’s a completely different thing. In sickness and in health.

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