Cheating Vs Open Relationships (With Table)
Although both issues have been highly contested over their morality, there are several key differences between cheating and having an open relationship:-
|Can be physical (such as hugs, kisses, or have gone out on several dates) or emotional (calling, flirty messaging, fantasizing, or spending more time chatting in person)
|Up to individuals
1. Definitions of Cheating and Open Relationship
Cheating is defined as the act of being unfilial to a partner or spouse by being intimate in any way with another person altogether.
An open relationship is a type of relationship between you and multiple partners at the same time. The current partner may or may not be involved in this non-monogamous deal.
2. The other party’s awareness
2.1. Cheating is done in secret
Credits: Getty Images / iStockphoto
When you get cheated on, it means that your partner has been hiding his affair(s) behind closed doors. You carry on life without suspicions of your partner lying to you all this while. Once you do find out about the cheating though, the confrontations are often tense, intense, and downright devastating for the victim.
Based on recent statistics, more than half of respondents underwent breakups not longer after confessing their infidelity to their partners or spouses. This is due to the victim’s tainted trust in the cheater, usually sprouting paranoia and an over-controlling nature towards the cheater. In turn, the cheater might be sad or vexed at such dubious, wary behavior.
2.2. An open relationship might not be shrouded in secrecy
Credits: The Relationship Place
On the contrary, being in one or more open relationships often means that the partner is aware of it or in fact, involved in it. A very popular example has to be the open relationship between Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Despite them being married, Will is aware and accepting of Jada’s frequent “meetings” with R & B singer August Alsina, mentioning in an interview that the love between him and Jada has “evolved beyond monogamy”.
Still, the two issues can be interlaced since one could be in an open relationship unbeknownst to the partner! That means the cheater has two separate relationships - the open and the one with the partner who has not given her nod of approval to the former.
3. What constitutes cheating or an open relationship
3.1. Cheating comes in various shapes and forms
There is physical infidelity where the cheater has been furtively meeting up face-to-face with another person. Although common, physical affairs are not solely defined by sexual intimacy. Even “smaller” physical displays of affection such as hugs, kisses, or have gone out on several dates are counted as physical cheating, as long as one acts under the guise of being single despite being in a relationship.
There is emotional infidelity where the cheater shares a close-knit, innermost connection with another person. Examples include calling, flirty messaging, fantasizing, or spending more time chatting in person. Essentially, the cheater has acted on the feelings harbored towards someone else, and no physical intimacy might not be involved. Unlike physical affairs, emotional cheating is a lot harder to detect as it is often brushed off by the cheater, with the famous line of reasoning, “we are just friends”.
3.2. An open relationship is mostly sexual
It is usually intended to satisfy one’s sexual needs that might not have been effectively or passionately fulfilled by the partner. One might be on a more thrilling ride in the bedroom with new experiences.
Another common reason is that one is unable to defuse his feelings towards his crush(es), so the partner is kind enough to propose or agree to open up their relationship. This is how emotional cheating can sneakily develop into physical cheating as well.
While some couples think that this would better their relationship by addressing issues of unmet lust or intense emotions towards crushes, statistics have proven otherwise. According to relationship expert and psychotherapist Neil Wilkie, open marriages have a whopping 92% failure rate due to jealousy that eventually creeps up on the partner and the other person.
4. Is it ethical?
Largely frowned upon, cheating is a sign of many red flags, such as not being able to be committed to a relationship seriously and not having empathy or concern for the partner’s well-being. A Caritas study of extramarital affairs revealed that nearly half of those who have been cheated on have contemplated suicide. Irrefutably, the mental, emotional, social, and or physical ramifications of cheating on victims are mountainous and cruel, to say the least.
Credits: Telegraph India
Compared to cheating, having an open relationship is more ethical, in the sense that the partner at least knows about what is going on, and has agreed to let it continue. There is transparency involved, and perhaps the partner’s appreciation for the honesty shown in openly expressing concerns that could be solved by allowing an open connection to blossom.
Relationships, while fun and joy-inducing, are fragile and delicate. Commitment, trust, and communication are some criteria that should be a checklist to successfully last long with your partner. Lastly, do not do the unjustifiable act of cheating! It has been the downfall of most relationships.
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Liyana Mokhtar Hussein
Liyana enjoys exploring different cultures and cuisines during the travels.