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Can I Cheat on a Cheater?

Mistress Maeve: Your guide to love and lust...


Published June 12, 2013 at 12:57 p.m.

Dear Mistress,

I recently found out that my significant other cheated on me. It was way in the past, and my partner came clean to try to fix things. I care deeply for my partner, but my ego is shattered. I feel I should get a free pass to cheat as well, but I want to ask permission. Should I ask? And, if so, how?


Fair is Fair

Dear Fair,

Learning that you’ve been cheated on is a serious blow, and it sounds like your self-esteem is taking the brunt of it.

You say that the cheating is ancient history, and that your partner wants to fix things. I’m a proponent of honesty, but I’m suspicious. Unfortunately, there are usually only two reasons cheaters fess up: They’re about to get caught, or the guilt is eating them alive (in which case, the confession is a selfish act to gain some relief). Check your gut — do you feel your partner’s motives were pure, or do you suspect foul play?

To get to your question, plenty of people open up relationships to other partners, but that decision should be made from a place of love and strength, not hurt and distrust. Before further complicating your situation by cashing in a “free pass,” I suggest getting to the bottom of your current relationship issues. As much as it will hurt to delve deeper into the cheating, it’s important for you both to understand the motivation behind the dalliance — otherwise, how can you move on?

Once you’ve put in the work to get to the root of the cheating, you can decide how to proceed. If you want to open your relationship up to non-monogamy, that’s fine — but don’t sleep with someone else for quid pro quo. An eye for an eye rarely works to repair a relationship.

True to you,


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