Infidelity & Singledom

This is a bit of a strange topic. I'm not even sure what I'm asking exactly, but it's something that has been on my mind and I just wanted to get some opinions on it.

I have a close friend that I will call S (I work with her, but we are also close friends outside of the office). She is in a long-term, monogamous relationship. Twice during our friendship, she has done things that I personally think of as cheating on her partner, although I know she doesn't feel that it was. This weekend, she attended a work event that I didn't go to, and at this event our inebriated boss made a pass at her. She didn't reciprocate and is, in my eyes, blameless, but it happened in front of others and the potential problems it could cause in her work life is making her understandably nervous. Because of that, we talked about it a lot today and I gave her advice on how to handle it.

My issue is this - while we were talking today, she said something that she has said to me before when discussing one of the previous events that I consider to be cheating. We have a mutual friend that we are both just as close to, that I will call C. The three of us are very close and spend a lot of time together - but on occasions like this, where she thinks her actions could be viewed as unfaithful, S will talk only to me and not to C. Her explanation for why is that C is married, and the thing she said to me was: "Because she's married, she might take it the wrong way. It's different with you, you're single so I feel more comfortable talking about these things with you."

I feel like she is saying that because I am single, I automatically condone cheating. She is my friend and she requires support and advice in these situations, not condemnation, so I don't come down on her when she talks to me - but I certainly don't approve, and I feel I've made it clear on other occasions that I have a very firm stance on the topic of infidelity. If she said she spoke to me and not C because she feels C is judgemental and I'm not, that would be different. Instead, she is saying that she assumed C will be judgemental because she's married, and I won't because I'm single. A small paranoid part of me also wonders whether my sexuality factors into her belief that I condone infidelity (more than once, people have assumed that my open bisexuality means that I'm promiscuous and anti-monogamy).

The other thing is - wihout going into the long story of how I know this, I do know C is actually aware of this, and is equally offended that S think her marriage means she would be a judgemental friend and can't be confided in. So we actually both seem to be equally as offended by this opinion!

Has anyone else ever had a similar situation? Have you ever had confirmation that people view you, and your moral stances, in a different light based purely on your relationship status?

I don't know if I've explained myself very well - it's a bit of a confusing subject. I've used words like "condoning infidelity", "moral stances" and "disapproval" because it's the easiest way to try and and explain what I'm trying to say. I hope that hasn't offended anyone or made anyone feel judged.

I have been in a somewhat similar situation. But one of the things I've learned is to not get too caught up in trying to figure out why people do the things they do. She might be phrasing it in terms of you and C but it's probably more about her and her attitudes towards marriage and fidelity. Like maybe she thinks what she does wouldn't be ok if she was married.

If you do want to persue this further, maybe you could ask her why she thinks a single person would be more understanding. Try to keep the conversation a bit abstract though, about single people and married people, rather than about you and C. That way it will be easier to disagree without taking offense.

I agree with rose hip, probably just ask her about it.

I don't think she's particularly implying she thinks you condone cheating, it's just that you have more of an objective veiw as you aren't in a relationship. Someone who is married has very openly and definitely made a comittment to be with one person and only one, so it makes sense that S would expect their opinion to lie in line with that.

Her knowing that you are anti-monogamy and promiscuous probably is a factor, but not in a bad way. It just lets her be more open with you, knowing that you can understand and respect the desire to be with more than one person at once.

You probably all just need to sit down with a coffee, and get it out in the open. It sounds like you all know what's going on with all of you, you just haven't made the connection as a group, and doing so will only do you good *hugs*

In terms of having been in a similar situation, sort of but not really. I definitely don't condone cheating, but am certainly pro-polygamy and promiscuity. I'll probably find myself in this situation at some point, or more likely the subject of it, due to being in a very comitted relationship, and still enjoying sleeping with (certain) women.

I not condone cheating and I'm single.

She seems to be making assumtions and maybe you could ask her straight out.

I wouldn't get caught up in her personal life, it might end up sore one day

The thing to remember is everyone has different views on what is or isn't cheating (unlike most people i consider looking at/having crushes on/fantasising about others when you're taken to be cheating but the majority don't) and there's no convincing someone your view is right and theirs isn't.

Marriage is a very serious commitment, more so it could be argued than just being in a relationship as it's so much harder to disolve (although it may be simply financially unviable to some). I for one, when being told about the things S tells you, would imagine "what if it was my relationship, and my partner doing that?" and think of how i'd feel and react. My emotional and moral response would likely be much, much harsher than if i was single and didn't have a partner i was in love with to consider myself in that situation with, so i can completely understand her being comfortable to discuss it with you and not C as you can be more objective and less biased.

Maybe she's in denial that what she's been up to is unfaithful. Try asking her outright if she would admit everything in detail to her partner, without concern he won't be 100% ok with it. If she wouldn't, then she can't deny any longer that she's been unfaithful, and should tell him everything, then its up to him to choose to work it out or not. If she insists she would tell him then call her bluff, tell her to go ahead and tell him or you will, and if she doesn't, then actually tell him. Either way he deserves to know what she's been up to, and if he isn't ok with it be given the choice to work it out or stop wasting his life with her and move on to someone who will be faithful.

Personally, the fact she isn't comfortable to talk about it openly with BOTH her close friends and acknowledges that it could be taken "the wrong way" screams out to me that she knows she's doing something wrong. I've been in your situation, at first i buried my head in the sand and kept loyalty to my best friend, but then i started becoming good friends with his girlfriend. She became a very real living breathing person with thoughts and feelings and i realised i couldn't live with myself being a knowing party to him cheating on her and lying to her and risking her sexual health. I told her everything, and even though i lost him as a friend over it i don't regret my decision one bit, because i know if i were ever the victim of a partners infidelity and somebody knew, i'd 100% want them to tell me, even if it turned out we had a different definition of cheating and i was ok with what he was up to.

Basically most people want to be told what they already believe as it reaffirms that belief as opposed to having it challenged. As a single person who is open minded, pro alternate relationship types etc you are more likely to present her with that.

C on the other hand is more likely to challenge her belief that she has done nothing wrong.

I would just think she thinks this way because C would probably immediately project "what if he did this to me" or "what if I did this to him" onto her relationship, whereas you have more of an objective view!

The agreement is between her and her partner/s. Many couples feel it is not appropriate how flirtatious my husband is and how open he is about perving, our relationship is our agreement though not theirs.

The same applies, it doesn't matter what you think is cheating. All that matters is does her partner think it is cheating. I don't mean to say you shouldnt be so nosy, I mean the person she needs to talk to about it is her partner. I think your role in this is supporting her in how she might want to broach the subject with the OH.

My original wording seems to be a bit confusing, as everyone has assumed I was saying I am anti-monogamy and promiscuous. I'm not. In fact, I'm the opposite - I was saying that I have experienced people assuming that I am those things, purely because I'm bisexual.

To clarify what I mean by feeling that she is cheating while she doesn't consider it to be so - twice she has had fights with her boyfriend on a Thursday night/Friday morning, had a dalliance with someone over the weekend, then make up with him on the Monday. She's told me she doesn't consider it to be cheating because during that fight, she considered them to be "broken up" or "taking a break". However, I know on both occasions that there has been no kind of discussion between them of that nature, and I know that she would definitely not tell him about these dalliances, which leads me to suspect that he wouldn't agree that they were split up at the time. Seeing what happened the first time, I actually suspected that the same thing was going to happen the second time because I sensed her attraction to the person she ended up cheating with - the fact that I could see it coming, also makes me believe that the "break ups" are somewhat engineered by her in order to have this excuse to sleep with someone else.

Don't get me wrong - personally, I absolutely do not approve of her actions on these occasions. However, I know my role as a friend is one of support and advice when asked, not judgement. I wouldn't say anything to her that could be seen as condemning and make her feel she can't confide in me. I do think I'll start a general conversation around views of infidelity so she knows where I stand, though. It may be irrational, but her assumption that I will be of the same mindset as her regarding infidelity due to my singledom doesn't sit quite right with me. I want to make sure she knows where I stand on the general subject. In making this thread though, I was more curious whether this was a common mindset or something other people had encountered, which it seems like maybe it is.