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If Your Partner Knows, Is it Cheating?

Dr. Tammy Nelson

Studies show that more than half of all women and over sixty percent of men will cheat at some point in their marriage.

This seems like a whole lot of people are having affairs.

But it depends on how you define cheating.  New concepts for marriage are popping up all over. Polyamory, from the Greek, ‘poly’ meaning ‘many’ and the Latin ‘amour’ meaning ‘love,’ simply means ‘many loves.’  Couples are negotiating their monogamy in new ways, defining fidelity through transparency and disclosure rather than by maintaining sexual fidelity to one partner.

What does this mean? Is marriage changing to accommodate a new definition of fidelity that includes loving more then just your primary spouse or is it just a new way to have your cake and eat it, too?

Some researchers estimate that 3 and a half percent of the population are in a polyamorous relationship right now.

That would mean that in the US (population 305 million) over 10 million people are involved in a polyamorous relationship.  This would mean that there are enough polyamorous people right now to fill the island of Manhattan.

Many couples, both straight and gay, are finding that polyamory may be a unique way of dealing with long-term commitment and sexuality.  To some, polyamory may sound challenging, and to others it may be the answer to their questions about long-term monogamy.


If your partner knows about it, is it cheating?  Maybe Polyamory is the way to make it work without cheating. Or it is just a justified form of infidelity? I think we all want to know.


Tammy Nelson, PHD is a sex and relationship expert and the author of Getting the Sex You Want; Shed Your Inhibitions and Reach New Heights of Passion Together.