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Sheri & Bob Stritof

Ethical Cheating in Marriage — Does it Exist?

By April 3, 2007

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While browsing the Web for information on statistics regarding the marital status of Congress members, I came across the term "ethical cheating".

Most links I looked at for ethical cheating or ethical infidelity were in reference to cheating on exams, in chess games, and while playing video games -- but there were some comments about ethical cheating in marriage.

We like this quote:

"Feelings of neglect, loneliness and boredom are common complaints from those unhappy in their relationships. Yet, as painful as it may be, the best way to save a marriage is to work on the intimacy – listening and trying to fulfil each other’s emotional needs rather than seek solace in someone else’s bed."

In his book, Private Lies: Infidelity and the Betrayal of Intimacy, psychiatrist Frank Pittman describes how many of his unfaithful patients came from marriages that seriously lacked something else - intimacy. He concluded, "Affairs were thus three times more likely to be the pursuit of a buddy than the pursuit of a better orgasm”.

Source: Graeme J. Davidson, The Dominion Post, "Infidelity: in hot pursuit of a better orgasm or better intimacy?", March 25, 2006.

Personally, we don't believe that ethical cheating exists. We don't believe there is a legitimate reason to cheat. Unless a couple has agreed to having an open marriage allowing additional sex partners, we think if a person wants sex with someone else, be honest about it and end the marriage first.

I asked on our Marriage Forum what folks thought about ethical cheating and whether it was always wrong to cheat no matter what.

What do you think?

Related: Infidelity in Marriage | Books About Surviving Infidelity

April 5, 2007 at 9:27 am
(1) Tina says:

Cheating is cheating no matter what you call it. But the reality is that it does happen. It could be hard to end the affair but it is unfair to your spouse. Feel remorse, end the relationship and stay away from people and conditions that could lead to cheating just to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

April 5, 2007 at 3:20 pm
(2) karen says:

cheating is cheating – there is nothing ethical about cheating! work on your relationship or get out of it prior to having another relationship.

April 6, 2007 at 6:56 am
(3) sumi says:

Cheating has nothing, ethical ’bout it!
unformidable, by the lord! why give him a chance to make you aware, instead just get out and log on to the other.

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