This article was published on May 27th, 2020
the action or state of being unfaithful to a spouse or other sexual partner.
No matter whether where you fall in the LGBT spectrum, the overwhelming majority of us have been in relationships that have ended because of infidelity. The fact of life is that relationships don’t always turn out how we want them to, and cheating is often times a life lesson that we all learn one way or another. There are many reasons why a relationship can falter, but the most common – and arguably one of the most hurtful – is when your significant other(s) cheats.
For many heteronormative relationships, infidelity can be the absolute dealbreaker, but those same rules may not necessarily apply to members of the LGBT community. Gay men have gone to task in recent years on rewriting the guidebook on relationships that are not dictated by societal norms. A great debate is going on within LGBT circles on whether it is possible for gay men to sustain monogamous relationships with one another, or if they even have to.
The Goalposts Have Shifted
Not only is the LGBT community forging a different blueprint when it comes to relationships, the digital world of dating has meant new opportunities for gay and bisexual men to interact with one another, with each person able to categorize their relationship status and what they are expecting in their partner(s). With ‘open’ rules and expansive sexual playground for gay men, terming something an act of infidelity may not actually work in their world the same as it would in a heterosexual relationship.
Infidelity is a word and an act that is open to interpretation, so depending on who is asked, it may or may not be cheating. For instance, if you are in a relationship that is considered monogamous and one partner sleeps with someone else, then clearly that is infidelity, but in the same relationship, is cybersex with a stranger also defined as infidelity? It all really depends on how a relationship is defined between the people involved to determine the red line between open and unfaithful.
Trust and Respect in a Relationship
Thousands of years ago, monogamy was not the norm, but in the present day, monogamy is seen as the standard that many aspire to – something that comes with its own pressures and expectations, no matter what part of the spectrum you fall under. Now that gay and bisexual men have become more interwoven into society’s fabric, the act of liberation from what are considered heterosexual constructs has been a battlefield for decades. While there are plenty of gay men that gravitate towards monogamous relationships and raising families, there are a large percentage that shun the conventional and rail against how they perpetuate sexual hierarchies that are impossible to ignore. Queer people have been conditioned by the general public and media since birth to conform to the status quo in order to be accepted and happy, but this stereotypical image is one that is open to being shattered by many in the LGBT community that are vigilant in transforming societal norms.
Cheating as the Default?
Gay men have often been shamed into thinking that there are hard and fast rules into building loving relationships, but many of these stances have been harmful as they may be viewed as restrictive to many. This toxicity is just one component of why many in the community are susceptible to cheating, and often repeated cheating that becomes a cycle. And while the practice of monogamy is just a fraction of the equation, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the default. The gay community has the power to form their own constructs, which may or may not fall in line with conventional heteronormative practices.