Help! My partner feels I cheated on them?

HeyItsKiki93

New member
So I have a primary partner who lives overseas. I have a "secondary" that lives in my town and I generally see him once or twice a month. I spent some time with my secondary without clearing it with my primary last night because some plans changed while the primary was asleep. Things got sexual and now my primary feels I've cheated on him. I find it hard to agree with that because the secondary has an established place in my life. Is that how this works? I'm not trying to negate my primary's feelings, I'm just legitimately confused.
 

polyn00b

New member
I feel like this depends on the rules you guys laid out for each other. As weird as it sounds to me (but everybody is different), if he explicitly said he wants you to tell him every time before and that's his hard rule then you kind of would have to respect it if you agreed to it.

I'm new to this though so perhaps not the best person to ask, but if me and my girlfriend had a rule and she skipped it for whatever internally justified reason I'd be pretty sad too if she didn't at least discuss her justification with me first... and then perhaps we can redefine that rule based on the justification together if it makes no sense anymore
 

HeyItsKiki93

New member
He definitely wanted me to check before hand. He says I knew this but I don't remember that being the case. Not that that means he's wrong, my memory is awful so I would default to him. I think in this case the rule just doesn't really make sense to me.
In this specific instance, I had been drinking so I stayed with my secondary (who has been my secondary for almost a year now) in order to avoid drinking and driving because getting a ride home wasn't really an option at that point.
I understand he feels the way he does and I'm not saying he shouldn't feel that way, obviously. I think it's just difficult for me to make sense of having to check with him before I see or have sex with someone I'm established with that he knows. But maybe that's just me.
 

polyn00b

New member
It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me either but we are not him and he deserves to have his rules and trust respected either way if they've been agreed to 🤷‍♂️ I fully understand your viewpoint though given the context, and really great you did what you had to avoid drink driving 😊. I suspect it was the sex though not the staying there he'd have had a problem with maybe?

I wish you both the best and hopefully you can get over this small speed-bump on what sounds like a pretty long and positive journey otherwise ❤
 

HeyItsKiki93

New member
It seems like that's the case, yeah. And I agree, he absolutely deserves that respect.

Thank you for your input and your help! I really appreciate it! ❤️
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
This is an ESTABLISHED secondary that you already have shared sex with in the past? And your primary wants you to check in before you share sex with secondary each time?

If that's the agreement? It's not realistic. But you did break it. So...You could apologize for breaking it.

And then tell primary something like....

"This agreement might sound good on paper, but doesn't work for me "out in the field." I don't want to keep on breaking it. I am making you aware that I won't be keeping it any more.

I prefer to change it to "I promise to tell you if there's been anyone new since the last time you and I shared sex. Then you still have the news so you can decide if you want to share new sex with me or not. And I get the news from your side." Could you be ok with that? Or have another suggestion?"


I think that's still treating primary with respect AND yourself with respect.

It may also be more keepable. It reduces it on your end when you do get to see primary to "Nope. Nobody new. Just secondary partner." And you can stop doing this play-by-play thing.

Galagirl
 
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MeeraReed

Active member
It makes no sense to have that kind of agreement about an established (secondary) partner that you've been seeing for a year, who lives close to you while your primary partner lives overseas (in a different time zone / on a different sleep schedule).

Why does your primary feel he is entitled to give you "permission" to see your other established partner? Is he not poly himself? Was he reluctant to be poly in the first place? Was it your idea and he didn't really want to go along with it?

Him viewing it as "cheating" for you to see your other established partner seems very harsh.
 

TXretired

Active member
Was it an agreement or a mandate from him. Two different issues.
 

HeyItsKiki93

New member
It makes no sense to have that kind of agreement about an established (secondary) partner that you've been seeing for a year, who lives close to you while your primary partner lives overseas (in a different time zone / on a different sleep schedule).

Why does your primary feel he is entitled to give you "permission" to see your other established partner? Is he not poly himself? Was he reluctant to be poly in the first place? Was it your idea and he didn't really want to go along with it?

Him viewing it as "cheating" for you to see your other established partner seems very harsh.
I think it's less permission and more he wants to be notified/told? I think I worded it incorrectly.
He was actually poly before I even came into the picture.
It seems harsh to me too but his logic is that because he had no knowledge that it was happening until after the fact, it was cheating.
 

HeyItsKiki93

New member
Was it an agreement or a mandate from him. Two different issues.
It was an agreement but it seems like I misunderstood it, essentially. It seems to me to be overkill to expect that when it's an established person but he feels differently and ultimately I have to respect that.
 

HeyItsKiki93

New member
This is an ESTABLISHED secondary that you already have shared sex with in the past? And your primary wants you to check in before you share sex with secondary each time?

If that's the agreement? It's not realistic. But you did break it. So...You could apologize for breaking it.

And then tell primary something like....

"This agreement might sound good on paper, but doesn't work for me "out in the field." I don't want to keep on breaking it. I am making you aware that I won't be keeping it any more.

I prefer to change it to "I promise to tell you if there's been anyone new since the last time you and I shared sex. Then you still have the news so you can decide if you want to share new sex with me or not. And I get the news from your side." Could you be ok with that? Or have another suggestion?"


I think that's still treating primary with respect AND yourself with respect.

It may also be more keepable. It reduces it on your end when you do get to see primary to "Nope. Nobody new. Just secondary partner." And you can stop doing this play-by-play thing.

Galagirl
Thank you so much for your feedback on this.
 

Eponine

Member
Like others, I find this agreement pretty baffling and unrealistic. Does your primary partner also notify you every time before having sex with another partner? If the other partner is an established one, what exactly does this rule achieve? Perhaps talk to him, find out what the root problem is, and figure out a more realistic way to meet his needs?
 

Marcus

Well-known member
what exactly does this rule achieve?

This is the boss level question right here. The answer to this question for most rules like this is "I'm insecure, and I want to avoid dealing with it".

If you agreed to this dumb rule, you may be compelled to eat some crow because you busted it. More importantly though, you need to be far more assertive with your boundaries and what types of rules you will bend to. Rules like this are "kids table" and they only serve to keep your relationships small and resentful.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hello HeyItsKiki93,

Did your primary know that sex is something that could happen between you and your secondary? If your primary knew that, then I would not call what you did cheating. My understanding is that cheating is when someone has sex with someone else without first getting their other partner's consent. And I'm saying that if you had your primary's consent to have sex with your secondary, then it was not cheating. Now it may be a breach of your rules and agreements, but that's a milder infraction than cheating. That's my take anyway. And I'm not sure how clear you and your primary were with each other before this incident about what the rules would be. Far from being cheating, this whole thing could be a mere misunderstanding.

You're saying your primary wanted you to check beforehand. Does this mean he wanted you to check with him before the first time you had sex with your secondary, or before every time you had sex with your secondary? Did he state that clearly? Did you clearly understand him? Did you agree to adhere to that rule? If you promised him that you would check with him every time you and your secondary were going to have sex, and then you didn't, even if it was only one time, you still failed to keep your word and in that case yeah, I technically consider that cheating. But as I said, that conclusion is based on a lot of clear communication between you and your primary, as well as your consent. Did you consent to that rule?

Okay you're also saying you forgot about that rule. When you say that, it makes me think that your primary didn't communicate with you clearly at all. You certainly weren't cheating if you didn't know (remember?) that checking with him first was a rule you agreed to. You can't give your consent to something you don't even remember. And I think that if your primary had been very clear with you about that rule, then you would have remembered. I call bullshit. Your primary only thinks he told you about this rule. It is his power of recall that is failing him, not yours.

What you do know (and remember) now is that the rule in question doesn't make sense to you. Don't you think that if it doesn't make sense to you now, that it wouldn't have made sense to you earlier either? Again I call bullshit. I don't think you ever agreed to such a rule. I don't think you ever would have agreed to such a rule. Why would you have ever agreed to something that made no sense to you?

For the record, I, too, think it's a bad idea to make a rule that you'll check with your primary *every time* you're going to have sex with your secondary. Such a rule is going to be almost impossible to obey. It makes far more sense, to me, to say, "This is my secondary partner. I am going to have sex with him sometimes." And saying that once should suffice.

But I want to reiterate that what really matters here is that *you* never agreed to the rule your primary claims you did. It seems to me that he is gaslighting you.

Sympathetic regards,
Kevin T.
 

HeyItsKiki93

New member
I think it's really interesting that pretty much everyone is in agreement on this... It's really the only thing my primary and I have ever argued about consistently and we've been together for 3 years.
I think it's a major source of insecurity for him and, hey, we all have them. It's important that I acknowledge his feelings on the matter I think but it doesn't necessarily mean I have to bend to his very will.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Having sympathy for his hurt feelings is fine, I just disagree with him about your supposed cheating. You didn't cheat; that's the objective reality of the situation. You didn't cheat because you never agreed to the rule (about informing him every single time you were going to have sex with your secondary). *He* wants to think that you cheated. He wants to think that because it paints you in the worst light possible, and bolsters his side of the argument. Those are his feelings -- his subjective fantasy.

What you have here, rather than cheating, is the latest chapter in an ongoing disagreement about what the rules should be, and about what the rules are.
 

MeeraReed

Active member
It's the accusation of cheating that bothers me most here. It's one thing if your primary asked for an agreement to help ease his insecurity and then he is hurt that you broke it...but saying it's "cheating," ugh.

I assumed he must be mono and only very reluctantly poly because the "cheating" is so odd. But he was poly first? What!

Maybe him being overseas while your local partner is near you is upsetting him and making him feel insecure/jealous when he isn't normally?
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I struggle with no names. I am going to go with generic colors. Happy to go with whatever else if you prefer.

It seems harsh to me too but his logic is that because he had no knowledge that it was happening until after the fact, it was cheating.

"Red" does have general knowledge. "Blue" is your other lover. Ergo... you share sex with them. It's not a SURPRISE. Blue has been around for a year.

So... why does Red need to know you are gonna share sex with Blue before every instance?
Is it the LDR thing? And coping with the fact that Blue gets local access to you and Red does not?

It's important that I acknowledge his feelings on the matter I think but it doesn't necessarily mean I have to bend to his very will.

Yup. It is possible to understand that Red wants you to check in before each time you have sex with your secondary. I'm not sure what need that solves for him, but if he could articulate it better, perhaps you could meet it another way.

But meeting it like THIS? With all these check ins? It is possible for you to say "No, thanks. I do not agree to do that."

And there. It is not cheating on any agreements. Because you just don't agree to do it in the first place.

You are being up front and honest about it. What more can you do?

And what's he gonna do? Be mad you are being up front, honest, and treating him respectfully? Trying to keep your word? Not make promises or agreements you cannot keep in good faith?

I don't know if reading Polysecure would help him any.

Galagirl
 
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HeyItsKiki93

New member
"Red" does have general knowledge. "Blue" is your other lover. Ergo... you share sex with them. It's not a SURPRISE. Blue has been around for a year.

So... why does Red need to know you are gonna share sex with Blue before every instance?
Is it the LDR thing? And coping with the fact that Blue gets local access to you and Red does not?
After kind of resolving everything, I can say that the issue was not necessarily that I had sex with Blue, but more that Red didn't know I was going to be with him in the first place. He wanted me to tell him where I was going and what my plans were going to be. And I know that the reason for that is because he tends to be a very worrying person. He's lost a lot of people close to him recently. So when he didn't hear from me like he normally does, he feared that the worst had happened when it came to me as well, and something had happened to me the night before. A bit overdramatic, but I can understand the whole worry thing. Doesn't necessarily mean he's justified in accusing me of cheating in my opinion, though.



But meeting it like THIS? With all these check ins? It is possible for you to say "No, thanks. I do not agree to do that."

And there. It is not cheating on any agreements. Because you just don't agree to do it in the first place.

You are being up front and honest about it. What more can you do?

And what's he gonna do? Be mad you are being up front, honest, and treating him respectfully? Trying to keep your word? Not make promises or agreements you cannot keep in good faith?

As far as this goes, it seems like it's something that non-negotiable for him. I could be wrong but according to what he was saying and how he was talking, it seemed to me like he was saying that if I refused, then the relationship wouldn't go forward. Which, of course, is an option. But I consider him my life partner, so I strive to always work things out with him no matter what. He also mentioned that us planning to have kids influenced his want of this as well- he feels that some people *can* function this way but it's simply not sustainable and not smart when there are children involved because the honesty and integrity about who we're with needs to be there otherwise it can become a toxic situation for the children. While that's an extreme, I don't necessarily fully disagree with that.

And just a side note, I think I'm actually *more* bothered by the fact that he puts it to me like his way is the only way and he knows better than anyone else than any part of this other argument that him and I had. He brought a friend of his into it who's had a successful Polycule with kids for the past ten or so years and she agrees with his way of thinking- which of course is fine. I know this may be how some people are comfortable running things. But my sister is also Poly with a relatively large polycule (for me, this is five or more people) and she tends to agree with me. But his argument there is that he's older and has more experience than her. Which... Yikes


I don't know if reading Polysecure would help him any.
This is an awesome recommendation, I will definitely check it out. Thank you so much.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Heck Kiki, even if it were true that you had agreed to obey Red's rule, the fact that you (apparently) forgot about the agreement means that you still did not cheat. Cheating is the act of very deliberately going against your partner's wishes (in having sex with someone else). Forgetting what your partner's wishes were means that you can't go against them deliberately. Again, that would be a mere misunderstanding at worst.

Regarding: "He wanted me to tell him where I was going and what my plans were going to be." Failing to do *that* does not constitute cheating. That want doesn't even mention sex. Now if you knew that's what he wanted, and if you agreed to accommodate, then he could legitimately say that you did him wrong (even if you didn't actually cheat on him). Did you know? Did you agree? It sounds to me like you only found out about that want after the fact.

I want to emphasize here, that Red's feelings being hurt, does not constitute you cheating. I am not trying to minimize his feelings, it is fine for you to be sympathetic toward him about that, but it isn't fine for him to say, "You hurt my feelings; that's cheating!" You are not obliged to agree to such a statement. And you do seem to realize that.
 
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