Setting boundaries - he's having online sex without my consent. Is this same as cheating??

Kittykatz2020

New member
Hi there,
I am brand new to this site and also brand new to this idea of polyamory for myself on my partner. We have been playing with the idea opening a relationship for about 3 years and recently had our first interactions with external singles as we move towards having additional sexual experiences outside of our 13-year relationship. We are still attempting to set boundaries and decide what that looks like as we learn about this lifestyle and begin seeking other people to either play with or meet with. I'm setting boundaries I'm very aware that we want to be careful not to be controlling the other person but also setting enough boundaries so that each of us both feel safe and secure in our relationship with each other. Some of my confusion and concern has been around watching my partner text and sext consistently with other people as he explores meeting potential people for interactions and or possible relationships. For me this was definitely about exploration as well as building more open consensual lifestyle however I'm struggling with some things and I'm not sure if this is me trying to be controlling or if it's me just not understanding how to set better boundaries . An example I would like to share is that both my partner and I have joined various sites to chat with people. I tend to chat discreetly and we have been openly sharing texts and conversations with each other which have been exciting however I've also noticed that my partner is starting to choose having this conversations with other women when he is guessing then I'm not interested or available for intimacy. This has resulted in me 'catching' or interrupting his chat and play time online with potential partners while I'm in the other room assuming that he's just simply gone to bed. Also there have been times when I tried to reach out to him to chat with him with a sexy text (while I was in the same house) saw him online ..and after 10 minutes felt bad when he didn't respond to me and when I came up to talk to him he pretended he was asleep only to then admit he was just playing around and being silly but had been chatting online and masturbating with somebody else . while I know that he is chatting with other people this type of behaviour deciding to place me as a secondary interest for intimacy, makes me wonder how I can change or implement boundaries around this topic so that we don't keep having the same fight. I'm not sure if these feelings I'm having are normal or if these struggles are average or if I'm just need to figure out how to place these boundaries in our relationship so I do not feel as though he is using this opportunity to instead replace the energy of our relationship for energies and time with other people instead of me. we have discussed it and he assures me that I'm the most important person in his life however does not communicate well and when I bring up my feelings tends to get defensive and pulls away without trying to understand how this could be hurtful. I was hurt he just seems to react like I'm just instead judging and controlling him and not supporting his interests. How do people set boundaries for time with other people and time with your partners that does not involve texting chatting and sexting on a daily basis with external people. I want my cake and eat it too.. but how do I we set boundaries so that this doesn't happen again. It seems as we move closer to having intimacy with other people there's less intimacy in our relationship period and I was hoping for the opposite. In theory when we were talking about things it got us pretty hot and we had a lot of incredible months of activity between us intimacy until recently which now seems to be just three months into it leading into these negative spaces how do I keep it positive how does anybody keep it positive please tell me.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I am going to take the liberty of putting in some paragraph breaks and punctuation so I can read it better. You tell me if I get it wrong ok? Hopefully that way you have other readers responding too.

Then I'll try to reply.

Galagirl
------


Hi there,

I am brand new to this site and also brand new to this idea of polyamory for myself on my partner. We have been playing with the idea opening a relationship for about 3 years. We recently had our first interactions with external singles as we move towards having additional sexual experiences outside of our 13-year relationship.

We are still attempting to set boundaries and decide what that looks like as we learn about this lifestyle and begin seeking other people to either play with or meet with. I'm setting boundaries. I'm very aware that we want to be careful not to be controlling the other person but also setting enough boundaries so that each of us both feel safe and secure in our relationship with each other.

Some of my confusion and concern has been around watching my partner text and sext constantly with other people as he explores meeting potential people for interactions and or possible relationships. For me this was definitely about exploration as well as building more open consensual lifestyle. I'm struggling with some things and I'm not sure if this is me trying to be controlling or if it's me just not understanding how to set better boundaries.

An example I would like to share is that both my partner and I have joined various sites to chat with people. I tend to chat discreetly and we have been openly sharing texts and conversations with each other which have been exciting. I've also noticed that my partner is starting to choose having these conversations with other women when he is guessing that I'm not interested or available for intimacy. This has resulted in me 'catching' or interrupting his chat and play time online with potential partners while I'm in the other room assuming that he's just simply gone to bed.

Also there have been times when I tried to reach out to him to chat with him with a sexy text (while I was in the same house) saw him online ..and after 10 minutes felt bad when he didn't respond to me and when I came up to talk to him he pretended he was asleep only to then admit he was just playing around and being silly but had been chatting online and masturbating with somebody else.

While I know that he is chatting with other people this type of behaviour deciding to place me as a secondary interest for intimacy, makes me wonder how I can change or implement boundaries around this topic so that we don't keep having the same fight. I'm not sure if these feelings I'm having are normal or if these struggles are average or if I'm just need to figure out how to place these boundaries in our relationship so I do not feel as though he is using this opportunity to instead replace the energy of our relationship for energies and time with other people instead of me.

We have discussed it and he assures me that I'm the most important person in his life. However he does not communicate well and when I bring up my feelings tends to get defensive and pulls away without trying to understand how this could be hurtful. I was hurt he just seems to react like I'm just judging and controlling him and not supporting his interests.

How do people set boundaries for time with other people and time with your partners that does not involve texting chatting and sexting on a daily basis with external people? I want my cake and eat it too. But how do I we set boundaries so that this doesn't happen again?

It seems as we move closer to having intimacy with other people there's less intimacy in our relationship period. I was hoping for the opposite.

In theory when we were talking about things it got us pretty hot. We had a lot of incredible months of intimate activity between us until recently. Just three months into it (this constant sexting with other people is) leading into these negative spaces.

How do I keep it positive? How does anybody keep it positive? Please tell me.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
I'm sorry you struggle.

To me it sounds like two main problems.

1) You guys could treat the computer time as online dates and STOP sharing what is said with each other like reading over each other's shoulder. And just like with "in person" dates? Put them on the calendar so you know they are happening. Then you know he's off on a computer date. And he knows you are. Then you don't have this "walking in on each other" thing happening causing upset.

If you have been used to having "dibs" on all his free time and being more casual about it before? Or him you? It's going to take each of you some adjusting in actually asking each other out on a date again. Including for time to share sex, not just assume the other one is up for it all the time whenever.

2) He doesn't communicate well, and when you bring up your feelings when trying to solve issues, he goes defensive. Defensive listening is going to make any other problems (not just this one) harder to solve. Because you can't just get to solving the problem, you have to get up and over THIS hurdle first. Since bringing up your feelings leads to gridlock, how about skipping that part? Just ask for the behavior change you would like to see instead? Then he can say "yes, ok" or "no" or "how about... instead?"

How do people set boundaries for time with other people and time with your partners that does not involve texting chatting and sexting on a daily basis with external people? I want my cake and eat it too. But how do I we set boundaries so that this doesn't happen again?

I would say it probably will happen again as he figures out how to deal with his time management. It's new, he's excited.

Seems easier to me to expect him to need a learning time where he figures out how to balance his time management. Nobody is perfect right out of the gate.

You could ask him out on dates so YOUR time with him is on the calendar. With the agreement that devices are off and he is PRESENT when on a date with you.

And ask him to put his "I'm going out... on the computer" or his "I have a date on computer" times on the calendar so you don't "walk in" on him. No different than him going out to a club or bar to meet people or him having a date with a specific person.

HTH!
Galagirl
 

Kittykatz2020

New member
Thanks so much. I appreciate your feedback.

Sorry I was using talk to text this am and didn't consider how it looked .Thx for your reply and input. I like ur suggestions..makes sense.

It's been a challenge and certainly I'm hoping the communication will come along. We are very new 🙄.

It's also been very exciting but I'm just afraid that I'm losing my connection with him as he finds sooooo many online people to satisfy him...which of course had resulted in a reduction in our intimacy for me..opposite of what I hoped for.

Thank you for your suggestions .so very helpful. I've been reading a couple books but in practice things are still challenging till we nail out these boundaries.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
I think it's fair in an open relationship to let your partner know about your sexual needs and that you feel unsatisfied. I hear that just talking about opening got you 2 all hot and bothered and "spiced things up." But now, the reality is not so hot. That can feel extremely disappointing.

When you use other people, or just the idea of other people, to "spice up" your formerly mono relationship, you are basically playing with fire. I feel empathy. I went through this when my ex h and I tried to open our relationship back in 1999-2000. Once he actually found a woman to have a serious relationship with, he demoted me. He even fell out of love with me. I tried to veto their relationship, because we had that agreement, but you can't veto feelings. In our case, my marriage fell apart (for this, and other reasons too).

So that's just something to look out for, especially if your communication is not great. Communication is the most important thing in polyamory, or just opening to casual sex. There can be no sneaking around. But at the same time, sharing the texts that you 2 have with other people does not honor the privacy of those other play-partners. They aren't cam girls/boys, or anonymous porn stars; they are real people, not professionals. So it's not ethical to tell your nesting partner all about the sexual preference of your other partners, unless you've run it by those partners to check if they are OK with that, and they say yes.

No one owes you sex or orgasms. We are all responsible for our own orgasms. Just the same, it's really NICE when our nesting partner satisfies us sexually, and doesn't ignore our needs to get off with the new and shiny people exclusively. Each couple has to work on this balance. Your partner is in NRE with the idea of Opening up. But long term intimacy is extremely important. He runs the risk of losing you if you feel demoted and neglected, and even unloved. Check out this article.

 

Kittykatz2020

New member
Thank you so much. It really helps to know more information from others personal experiences to weigh out the pros & cons as we are just babes in this world.

I fully appreciate your feedback and advise. I'm certainly scared as well of being demoted and feel like I'm already fighting to stay in his focus and desire...despite this really being my idea. He assures me he loves me but initially I just wanted to open to sexual encounters and he decided that he would prefer emotional connections which we then researched and found that to be polyamory .I'm ok with for now ..but I wonder if he can manage & support our relationship first. Maybe this is too much of an expectation .
 

Kittykatz2020

New member
And to be clear we are sharing texts and pics based on consent of other parties. It is important to never lose sight that the people we add into our lives are equally respected.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Hello Kittykatz2020,

I guess the prevailing school of thought, is that any instance of breaking the rules is defined as cheating. I am inclined to view that as one definition, however in relationships, I think the word "cheating" refers more to having sexual relations with someone, without getting one's partner's consent. I don't know whether online sex falls under that umbrella. One thing's for sure though, if he is having online sex without your consent, then he is acting unethically/immorally. You are right to take issue with his behavior, he is neglecting you, and favoring these other women with whom he is having these sexual conversations.

I wonder if the best thing to do might be to schedule time, certain times each day and/or each week, when you and he will focus exclusively on each other, and won't text/sext with anyone else. This way, you would not feel neglected, and he could feel good about doing right by you, while still having his conversations with other women. That is if you would be inclined to agree to such an arrangement, it will not work if you can't wholeheartedly consent to it. Would it solve, for you, the problem that you are describing here?

I hope you can work things out.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
He assures me he loves me but initially I just wanted to open to sexual encounters and he decided that he would prefer emotional connections which we then researched and found that to be polyamory .I'm ok with for now ..but I wonder if he can manage & support our relationship first. Maybe this is too much of an expectation .

What are your actual agreements? It sounds like you both agree this is now an open relationship where you each can share both sex and emotions with other people. So him having online sex isn't cheating on the open agreements per se, but he's fallen into some kind of "kid in a candy store" vibe and overdoing it? And getting wrapped up with the computer/devices and neglecting you a bit?

If you both haven't been actually asking each other out and scheduling a date night on the calendar? Been relying more on "whenever, whatever, they are always around" like some long term couples do? Maybe this is shining a light on that?

I don't think it is unreasonable to expect a hinge to support ALL of their relationships. Not just the new shiny ones. Nobody is making them take on more partners than they can actually deal with.

It's the the word -- "relationship." Some kind of relating going on between you. Otherwise it will whither without any attention or care.

In your shoes, I'd skip the "feelings" talk and and request the change in behavior you want to see. Scheduled dates nights with you and with the other potentials actually on the calendar. Not this "catch as catch can" business.

Galagirl
 

Kittykatz2020

New member
Hello Kittykatz2020,

I guess the prevailing school of thought, is that any instance of breaking the rules is defined as cheating. I am inclined to view that as one definition, however in relationships, I think the word "cheating" refers more to having sexual relations with someone, without getting one's partner's consent. I don't know whether online sex falls under that umbrella. One thing's for sure though, if he is having online sex without your consent, then he is acting unethically/immorally. You are right to take issue with his behavior, he is neglecting you, and favoring these other women with whom he is having these sexual conversations.

I wonder if the best thing to do might be to schedule time, certain times each day and/or each week, when you and he will focus exclusively on each other, and won't text/sext with anyone else. This way, you would not feel neglected, and he could feel good about doing right by you, while still having his conversations with other women. That is if you would be inclined to agree to such an arrangement, it will not work if you can't wholeheartedly consent to it. Would it solve, for you, the problem that you are describing here?

I hope you can work things out.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
Thanks so much Kevin for your response.

I believe the biggest issue here is that we haven't really nailed out our rules and still are trying to figure out how to design our needs exactly within this opening and sharing of our lives.

After a really good talk last night he agreed and seemed to understand how hurt I was and the why & how behind my feelings and how to move forward without making similar mistakes in the future.

Part of me has always felt that having an open relationship will fill my needs for the extra love I have and want to share & receive..and the other part of me loves him so much that I think I must be just a greedy jerk for even considering risking what I have with him.

We haven't really pinned down or discussed dates or times for scheduling our time shared. But I can now see, thanks to this amazing support I'm gaining here (grateful🙂) that more structure around the design will likely prevent or at least keep our relationship supported in terms of time shared to ensure neglect doesn't just happen knowingly or unknowingly.

Thank you again for your insight , very helpful 😺

Happy Saturday
Corrina
 

Kittykatz2020

New member
What are your actual agreements? It sounds like you both agree this is now an open relationship where you each can share both sex and emotions with other people. So him having online sex isn't cheating on the open agreements per se, but he's fallen into some kind of "kid in a candy store" vibe and overdoing it? And getting wrapped up with the computer/devices and neglecting you a bit?

If you both haven't been actually asking each other out and scheduling a date night on the calendar? Been relying more on "whenever, whatever, they are always around" like some long term couples do? Maybe this is shining a light on that?

I don't think it is unreasonable to expect a hinge to support ALL of their relationships. Not just the new shiny ones. Nobody is making them take on more partners than they can actually deal with.

It's the the word -- "relationship." Some kind of relating going on between you. Otherwise it will whither without any attention or care.

In your shoes, I'd skip the "feelings" talk and and request the change in behavior you want to see. Scheduled dates nights with you and with the other potentials actually on the calendar. Not this "catch as catch can" business.

Galagirl
 

Kittykatz2020

New member
Hi Galagirl,

Our actual agreements. Well right now . Very new in the water still failing around trying to catch the rhythm of both our desires and interests.
We are open to sex and possible friendships with other people.. if love happens it happens but I really don't know how either of us will handle that to be honest as we have never done anything like this before.

We're really really hoping that this love we have for each other cannot be taken down by sharing and gaining love from others, that is the greatest hope of course.

Your input definitely speaks to me in terms of realizing that we do need to some work to ensure the foundation is way less shaky and it currently is.

I get in a candy store reference definitely is a good description of how we both have been feeling for the last couple months but now starting to realize that more structure will prevent us from losing that connection, while ensuring that we honor our time together I can definitely see how scheduling dates together would be really beneficial so I thank you for this. 😺
 

Kittykatz2020

New member
Hi Galagirl,

Our actual agreements. Well right now . Very new in the water still failing around trying to catch the rhythm of both our desires and interests.
We are open to sex and possible friendships with other people.. if love happens it happens but I really don't know how either of us will handle that to be honest as we have never done anything like this before.

We're really really hoping that this love we have for each other cannot be taken down by sharing and gaining love from others, that is the greatest hope of course.

Your input definitely speaks to me in terms of realizing that we do need to some work to ensure the foundation is way less shaky and it currently is.

I get in a candy store reference definitely is a good description of how we both have been feeling for the last couple months but now starting to realize that more structure will prevent us from losing that connection, while ensuring that we honor our time together I can definitely see how scheduling dates together would be really beneficial so I thank you for this. 😺
PS sorry for my typos I noticed after I really do need to work on that. And also find the edit button on here LOL 🙂
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
The edit button is right below your message, on the left side. However it soon disappears, either 15 minutes or one hour after you post, I can't remember which. So if you're going to edit, you have to do it right away.

It sounds like you and your partner need to hammer out some ground rules, as you venture into these poly situations. Perhaps the first thing you should do, is figure out how you're going to handle it when one of you develops feelings for someone else.

I hope we can help.
 

Kittykatz2020

New member
Hello Kittykatz2020,

I guess the prevailing school of thought, is that any instance of breaking the rules is defined as cheating. I am inclined to view that as one definition, however in relationships, I think the word "cheating" refers more to having sexual relations with someone, without getting one's partner's consent. I don't know whether online sex falls under that umbrella. One thing's for sure though, if he is having online sex without your consent, then he is acting unethically/immorally. You are right to take issue with his behavior, he is neglecting you, and favoring these other women with whom he is having these sexual conversations.

I wonder if the best thing to do might be to schedule time, certain times each day and/or each week, when you and he will focus exclusively on each other, and won't text/sext with anyone else. This way, you would not feel neglected, and he could feel good about doing right by you, while still having his conversations with other women. That is if you would be inclined to agree to such an arrangement, it will not work if you can't wholeheartedly consent to it. Would it solve, for you, the problem that you are describing here?

I hope you can work things out.
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
Hi
Certainly you have hit the nail on the head with my concerns that he may be leaning towards finding somebody else as a soft exit as you describe, but again I think that's just my fear and not reality. I believe we just need to really focus on what makes us happy and what comforts us and to remind each other what exactly will keep the security in our relationship as when my security feels threatened of course I'm going to think the worst I just had to take exactly what was happening.

With all of this is so brand new, hammering out all of the dents will be necessary.

Again the suggestions in here are really helpful to me so I thank you from the bottom of my heart ❤️
The edit button is right below your message, on the left side. However it soon disappears, either 15 minutes or one hour after you post, I can't remember which. So if you're going to edit, you have to do it right away.

It sounds like you and your partner need to hammer out some ground rules, as you venture into these poly situations. Perhaps the first thing you should do, is figure out how you're going to handle it when one of you develops feelings for someone else.

I hope we can help.
Yes thx we will work on that ❤️
 

Marcus

Active member
We are still attempting to set boundaries and decide what that looks like as we learn about this lifestyle and begin seeking other people to either play with or meet with. I'm setting boundaries. I'm very aware that we want to be careful not to be controlling the other person but also setting enough boundaries so that each of us both feel safe and secure in our relationship with each other.

It's a good sign that you are asking the question.

It might be helpful to adjust your expectations of what the boundaries you have put forward are going to accomplish. It has been my experience, reading through these boards, that people use the concept of a boundary to build in the perception of security where one doesn't already exist. These unhealthy boundaries are far more likely to produce resentment than they are to produce actual security.

I consider boundaries to be a statement of making sure that people know where my hard stops are, so that I am not living a life that is inauthentic. For my boundaries, I don't include what other people need to be doing; if we are calling those boundaries, I would say that they are 'unhealthy boundaries', more like what is in an employee handbook at a new job but for interpersonal relationships.

For example, unhealthy boundaries I have seen might look something like this:

  • You can text or talk with other people who you have no sexual interest or interaction with whenever you want.
  • You can text or talk with other people that you have sexual interest or interaction with during select hours of the day.
  • You must always respond to my texts within 10 minutes or I will come to investigate what you are doing.
  • You must always clear your dates or times of contact with me.
  • You may not have sex with anyone unless you clear it with me first, and you agree to whatever rules of conduct I assign at that time.

What I consider a healthy boundary is something that is a hard stop, and it only regulates how you treat and interact with me. A good boundary shouldn't have anything to do with what you're doing with your life or your time. More importantly, a good boundary isn't a rule that acts as duct tape to cover up insecurity in our relationship.

I'll give a breakdown of how I might describe my boundaries to give a starting point. This is just a rough draft summary to get the idea across:

  • Respect my safety. If a behavior you have taken on may risk my health or safety, you must disclose that information prior to my being exposed to the risk.
  • Respect my personal space. I am a highly independent person and I need my own room with a door that closes securly. No one but me goes into my room without my express permission specific to that instance.
  • Respect my time. I do what I want with my time, and I do not ask for permission or forgiveness for living my life. I respond to texts when and if I want to. I have dinner when and where I want to.
  • Respect my autonomy. My life is my own - your life is your own. We can share this road together so long as we both fully embrace (not just endure) the reality that we don't always get what we want from someone, and this is just reality. I am not a fixture in someone elses life that they have rights to, and vice verse.
My suggestion would be to avoid using boundaries to sub in for a sense of security. Your sense of security in your relationship will be dependent upon how healthy and happy your relationship is, and how much or little resentment has been built up over the years. Trying to use a boundary to regulate someone's behavior so that they aren't living their lives in a way that makes you feel insecure will likely read as 'rules', and not everyone will respond well to having someone else lay rules onto them.
 
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