You know that religion consider cheating a sin.. you know also that the concept of cheating is different from religion to another and from one society to another.


I always wonder about these kinds of ethics issues and I would like to ask some few questions,


# How can atheists and agnostics practice faithfulness in their relationship?

# What is your concept of cheating in the relationship?

# What is your understanding about faithfulness?

# When you can call somebody a cheater?


Thank you!

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I'll say what others might not say.  


Cheating happens quite frequently when the person isn't satisfying their partner either spiritually or sexually.  


Or if the person becomes boring or 'let's themselves go' 


If both partners were giving everything the other person wanted or needed, than cheating wouldn't happen as much.  


I get tired of both men and women calling their partner a cheat when they can't see they were the ones who changed in the relationship - some people are too naive or immature to get out of a relationship first before finding someone else.  Others choose to experiment while in a relationship to see what else is out there.  Others sometimes just happen to run into a situation where they get to fuck something after a few drinks and low inhibitions.  



Doug, these are the reasons, or the reasons given.  Still, such behaviour is dishonest and cowardly.  You say "they get to fuck SOMETHING after a few drinks..."   Is that how you refer to us, women?  Just things?  I am insulted.   

I agree with you Dogly!

These are just excuses.  If you don't like something in a relationship, speak up.  Tell the other person they have become stagnant or let themselves go.  But "experimenting" while in the relationship IS cheating.  I understand that there is some thought out there that if one partner becomes different somehow, they have broken their word, but people do change,no one stays the same.  If nothing else, they are going to get older, grayer, not as firm. 

But if you communicate, talk to the other person, tell them how you feel, they are in on the decisions.  

This is a very personal question, and the answer will differ depending on who you ask.


# How can atheists and agnostics practice faithfulness in their relationship?
By remaining honest with their partner.


# What is your concept of cheating in the relationship?
In my opinion - If you're lying, you're cheating. If you flirt and can't talk to me about it, you're a cheater. If you sleep with someone and are honest about it (preferably before, but allowances can be made for afterward), I'll probably be cool with it. A convenient omission of information is equal to a lie. 


At this point in our relationship, we are monogamous. I'm open to change, he is not. So monogamous we are. 

//If you're lying, you're cheating. If you flirt and can't talk to me about it//

very convincing point of view I like it :)

Alyson, I don't know if I speak for all men, but Thanks for that valuable insight into womanhood.  As a man, I can view many lies as, well, necessary but harmless.  I would expect most men to see it that way too.  You confirm what I had sort of understood - that for women, ALL LIES ARE TOTALLY EVILLLLLLL.   No matter how nice or harmless the intent.  It's like ****ing in her handbag.  Thanks, I think I will engrave that on myself somewhere.  Maybe without the extra LLLL's. 

OK, here are my thoughts on this situation. But before I get into answering your questions, let me preface this by saying that you're right - not only is the concept of cheating different between one religion to another, it is also based on the accepted mores of the society of which one is a member. So, quite a bit of the base rules in a society are generally put into place to help preserve and extend the tribe. For instance, many of the cultures that condone multiple wives come from a time and place where the survival rate was very low for humans, or quite simply there weren't enough guys to go around for the women.

But, in the "western" (as in world, not US west) society I live in, here are my answers:


# How can atheists and agnostics practice faithfulness in their relationship?

OK, I hate to say this, but this first question is loaded with a presupposition on your part I fear - and that presupposition is that old (and extremely insulting and illogical) concept that if an atheist doesn't have a sky-daddy to make sure he's not a bad child, he will go off and do horrible things. I always flip the question back - are you saying that if you DIDN'T believe in a god you'd be an adulterer, or murderer, or thief, or whatever? If that is the case, then I am worried about where this society is headed. I am good because I KNOW right from wrong, I have a conscience - and my conscience is not from some deity or book, but from my innate drive to do the right thing. In fact I find that virtually all atheists are much more moral than most xians I know (except for my few xian friends who live their faith, are a true testament to their beliefs, and who respect the beliefs of others - or lack thereof).

So, as far as I am concerned, I come from a very, very broken home. My dad was married 5 times (he died 20 years ago at 47) and my mom has been married 4. I happen to have lived with each one through their respective divorces. I swore that I would work to find the right woman, that we would wait a long time before having children, and that we would have a stable home before ever having children. We were married young - she was 18, I was 20 - and we waited 6 years before having our first child. We now have five kids, a grandson, and we have been happily married for over 26 years - all without a single god. Our children are fantastic, great kids and young adults who have been raised in a loving, stable home.


# What is your concept of cheating in the relationship?

Now here's something weird - and probably different from what others may say. I believe that "cheating" in a relationship is an "affair of the heart" - IOW I believe that you can have an emotional affair without ever laying a hand on another person. In fact, I believe emotional ties are much, much stronger than physical ones. However, your definition of "cheating" and "adultery" must be agreed upon by BOTH members of a relationsihp. So, just because you may think that a "one night stand" isn't adultery, if your "Significant Other" thinks it is, then it is. Incidentally, my wife and I have not - and even if she had I love her, as she loves me, and we realize that if that did happen it was a long, long time ago and a large part of a successful marriage is trust and forgiveness.


# What is your understanding about faithfulness?

I think I just answered that.


# When you can call somebody a cheater?

I think that a cheater is defined by the SO. IOW if you are a part of an "open relationship", and both of you are perfectly fine with it, then consensual sex - with knowledge and condonement of the SO - is not adultery.


So, I think the definition of "adultery" and "cheating" lies in the eyes of the beholder.


Hi LotusGeek

//are you saying that if you DIDN'T believe in a god you'd be an adulterer, or murderer, or thief, or whatever?//

Nope! we are all good without reward!


and I'm happy for you that you learned from what happened in the past and you made a successful life for yourself!


Thanks for your great comment

Lotus Geek - that's a fantastic success story.  You're a top guy.  I would agree with your definition of cheating - it means breaking the agreement, whatever that was.  - What does SO and IOW mean? 

Yes, for instance if your partner and you made a rule that you should not drink more than 3 beers t a time and you drink 5, then you are in fact breaking an agreement between you and your partner.  


I for one cannot wrap my head around why inserting your penis into another woman is somehow a more egregious break of contract, or why there is such a negative connotation to cheating even among the non religious community.  


Is fantasizing about another woman a break of contract?  How many men or women fantasize about someone else?  


If anything, labeling a man as a dog for having sex outside a relationship in which he is not being satisfied in a sexual manner OR a woman labeled as a slut who is not being satisfied in a sexual manner is diluting the reasons cheating occurs.  It is highly situational and I know that if a woman I was deeply in love with cheated on me, I would not think badly of her but desperately wish to get therapy and rebuild our relationship so that I can make her happy and make amends with her.  If she in fact wasn't being satisfied by me then I would be heartbroken, not because I felt she is a slut or a bad person, but because I would not adequately be able to make her complete in what is a very important part of our humanity - which is our desire and need for sex.


But like I already mentioned, a lot of the time it is ignorance or fear of leaving the person you are currently with.   


I think of it like suicide.  A person attempting suicide has an issue - they are depressed or just don't want to live any longer.  A person cheating is not content or completely satisfied with their current relationship or just simply doesn't like the person anymore but doesn't know how to end it.  






"How can atheists and agnostics practice faithfulness in their relationship?"

one's lack of belief in a deity has little bearing on being faithful to their partner.  Again, atheism is only a negation.  You will have non believers who cheat on their spouses with abandon, and you will have others that would never entertain even the thought.  It has to do with your morals, and morals that are not informed by a fear of punishment by a deity are not necessarily bad.   indeed, it seems to be less moral to do what you think is right simply because you expect reward or fear punishment (either here or in some afterlife).  faithfulness is practiced by individuals based upon their own worldview, and i don't think of atheism as more than a lack of belief in gods. 


"What is your concept of cheating in the relationship?" 

Cheating, in my opinion, is engaging in intimate (be it social or sexual) relations with someone who is not your spouse, lover, partner, etc.


"What is your understanding about faithfulness?"

My understanding of faithfulness is devoting those intimate parts of yourself, physical and emotional, to someone who has the same committment to you.


"When you can call somebody a cheater?"

When someone you're involved with, regardless of whether the state or church has declared you as married, hides an intimate relationship from you.


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