Flirting or cheating?

Hugs to all my beloveds who are winding in and out of love’s embrace.

Now, let’s get to work! Some say flirting is harmless: some of those same people would argue that engulfing a penis in one's mouth isn’t sex (we won’t mention names, given the trend to repent) while others insist that the mere thought of indiscretion is cheating. Given our culture’s penchant for bending the English language (and morals) to suit our purposes, wouldn’t it be nice if we had a few less erroneous benchmarks for foul play? Here are a few to consider:

Fondling, sniffing, rubbing, licking, French kissing, dry humping, being on or around a naked body other than the person with whom you are in a committed relationship, without their express knowledge and consent, is CHEATING!

Pursuing, calling, texting, sex-ting, skype-ing, emailing and stalking someone other than the person you are in a committed relationship with, and not telling them, is LYING by omission—not to mention out of integrity.

Having lunch, sending flowers, meeting for drinks, working late with, having long intimate discussions with, or saying you’re just friends with someone you fantasize about, etc., without telling your partner the truth about how you feel is DISRESPECTFUL.

Here’s the deal: if you don’t have trust, feel safe and have respect in a relationship, you don’t have a great relationship—you have a hostage. Telling the truth can be scary and uncomfortable, yes. Sometimes it’s even painful and could end your relationship; however, the alternative is far worse. Pay now or pay later, but pay up we eventually will.

So let’s turn over a new cultural leaf, those of us who have found ourselves trolling around the boundaries of integrity, and cross to the other side. Let’s use ours, theirs and everyone’s Hindsight to illuminate the path that truly leads to real and lasting love.

And listen in as she and Maryanne discuss why her blog "Why Men Need to Cheat" on HuffPo got so many thousands of responses!

Some questions from listeners:

Q~ Dear Maryanne: I love your new book! I've been dating a man who clearly has an unhealthy obsession with pursuing women. We love each other and share a deep connection on many levels. Yet I don't feel right about staying with someone who relentlessly pursues others. I am finding it difficult to leave the relationship behind as we are also business partners. Any advice?

M~ You may want to expand your definition of love to include his unhealthy obsession with other women OR follow your intuition and strong urge to change the nature of your relationship. Just because we “love” someone or have a “strong connection” with them doesn’t mean we have to be in a relationship, move in or marry the person. Some people, for one reason or another, just aren’t a good fit for you that way. Why not enjoy the realm of acquaintance, close friend, or companion, rather than trying to force that person to be someone they clearly are not? Instead, go out into the big, beautiful world filled with millions of other single and available folks and find someone who does fit. According to statistics, for every healthy single person roaming the planet there are 1.45 million potential partners. Just because you let go doesn’t mean you can’t Love!

Q~ I love my boyfriend, but lately he’s been acting strange—he wants me to make animal sounds when we have sex. Is he joking and wants to see if I will do it, or does this actually turn people on? Isn’t there a sick name for that?

M~ If the mooo fits… The question is: does it turn you on? You say you love your boyfriend, and that’s great, but sounds like maybe this is where you draw the line with your beloved. And the “sick” name you’re referring to is Zoophilia. Yes, it’s a real thing and definitely a fetish for some, but loving someone doesn’t mean you need to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, including audible cud chewing or pulling on his “udder.” If it’s clear you’re not inclined to join him, if I were you I would be looking in the fridge, freezer and under the bed (and anywhere else) for animal evidence to see just to what extent my BF had gone off the deep end.

Q~ My husband and I have been off and on for eight yrs. I left him five yrs. ago for being a jerk, really, but nothing like violence. I remarried him mainly for my kids: he's a good dad to them. I also feel that there is unfinished soul business between us. I feel we learn from each other and that I'm here with him for a reason. However, he's still this big jerk half the time: am I a masochist?

M~ Most unconscious relationship patterns are a breeding ground for personal development. However, whatever unfinished soul work you and your husband may have would probably be best hashed out with some less ambiguous boundaries than being married with children (if not for the kids’ sakes). Given that you seem to be the only one in the relationship who believes in your fate, I would say you sound like a woman trying to rationalize why your husband (not the father of your children) is treating you like crap, and agonizing over why you signed up for another go. People don’t change unless they want to; even then it takes a kind of vigilance that few of us have the chops for. Whatever you decide to do, know this: it’s amazing what we can get used to! Where do you want to be at 70, 80, 90, years old and with whom? With a jerkoff, or someone who you can look back and share warm and happy memories with? That, my dear, is the gift the great Divine gave us all—free will to choose!

Q~I recently met someone who meets all my criteria for a soulmate, and I am incredibly attracted to her. She’s happily married but I know she feels a strong connection with me too. I normally would ignore any impulse to connect with a married woman, but I am wondering if there are any circumstances under which someone should wait and see, or if I am deluding myself that there is one perfect person for each of us, and in my case that person is with someone else?

M~ Like my mother always says…Next! According to studies there are lots of soul mates for each of us, (haven’t you heard we are all one?) as a matter of fact, for the average healthy person there are precisely one point four (1.4) million potential partners for each of us who falls into that category. So don’t get yourself (or anyone else) into a bunge over this; you know better! It’s potentially way too messy, and then there’s the part about disrespecting her spouse, and then maybe she isn’t the one, etc. …oy! Move on, High Plains drifter. Think of her as an augur that someone else who’s just right for you is closer than you think.?

Q~My girlfriend and I have been dating on and off for 2 ½ years. She is 29 and I am 30. The relationship she was in before lasted 6 years and was the only one she had been in prior to ours. He was 27 and she was 20 when they met. They broke up many times as well as walked away from an engagement. She was not completely honest about her feelings for him when we began dating and because of that she has never let go of him, and vice versa. Although he does not live near us and I am sure she has not physically cheated on me, she continues to keep an open dialog with him that pushes the boundaries of platonic friendship. When confronted about this, she has lied about their communicating on more than one occasion. I think that they use each other as an emotional fallback when they are in need of attention. It has become such a problem that by not ending the communication I doubt she truly respects me and my position on the subject. She has tried to stop texting and emailing him but eventually it starts up again. He is also in a new relationship and is not honest with his partner either. I am starting to doubt her morals and feel truly disrespected. - Adam (Kansas City, MO)

M~ Let me ask you this: what exactly are your boundaries and non-negotiables? Because it sounds to me like you got yourself involved with someone who wasn’t, and still isn’t, emotionally available. That’s a deal-breaker in my book. If you don’t want to be second fiddle—or should you simply feel, as you said, that this is really a matter of morals and respect—draw the line. I say you have done your due diligence and found out that this person and you have different definitions of each. The way I see it, you have a few choices: a) if you’re a patient guy who believes she is worth the wait, do nothing and hope she loses interest—in which case, it was a matter of time healing all wounds; b) set a real clear boundary, i.e., no more contact or I am out; or c) simply back up a little and move yourselves to dating status rather than boyfriend and girlfriend, which is probably the most appropriate, given that she seems to be torn. This way you can see other people and at the same time let her reevaluate just how much you mean to her! Best of luck!

Q~I have difficulty in maintaining relationships. After certain time I feel like changing my girlfriend. Is it normal or do I expect something from my relationship which I haven’t discovered yet? After getting into relationship I start feeling pressure. At the same time when I am not in a relationship I am desperate for a company. What is the meaning of this psychology and why is this happening?” - Axel (22, Pune, India)

M~This distinction you are making is to be applauded. So many men get into relationships when what they seek is companionship. They succumb to all the seduction and trappings of the femme fatale to avoid loneliness, yet feel smothered by the ultimate demands that await after the glow has dimmed and passion has given way to the reality of life’s routine. I can tell you this, however: all relationships will at some point stare in the face of the day-to-day. There will be one who illuminates something special even in the ordinary, and you realize your interest in the person doesn’t wane nor wax as the moon but rather deepens, and that, alas, you are not only willing but eager to stay. I say, no need to analyze, rather to realize that you are learning about yourself and about what separates a good relationship from a GREAT one. You’ll find your true litmus test for those special someones, the ones who remarkably show us the real freedom and gift in commitment. My advice, just say no until you know! In the meantime you may want to spend some of that time alone, getting to know what about being alone scares you so much. Blessings!