An advice column about sexuality, gender, dating and overall queerness
By Molly Whuppie /// Staff Writer
If I am a girl and I am dating a boy, but I’ve been hooking up with another girl… Am I technically cheating? —Trying to Figure my Shit Out
Dear Trying to Figure my Shit Out,
My immediate response is: yes. Yes, yes, YES! But that means I am assuming that you are in a committed, monogamous relationship with this boy, and that you haven’t told him about this other lady, which…. I would say, yes, is technically cheating.
However, let’s break this down. It all depends on what agreements you have with your partner. All couples/people have different boundaries in their relationships. While most people typically think that cheating occurs when a person is intimate with someone besides his or her significant other, everyone has different boundaries. The only way for you to know those boundaries is to communicate with your partner about what you both feel comfortable with.
While I never think that cheating is the best answer, cheating is rarely the problem itself. Most people cheat because they are not getting what they need out of the relationship and, for some reason, are unable to communicate or be honest about what is really going on. So if cheating is rarely the source of the problem, why can’t people just communicate what they need? Well, it can be really difficult to have those conversations. It can be much harder to tell the person you’ve loved that you are no longer happy in the relationship. Cheating, in other words, is often an easy way out.
Regardless of why you cheat, it is never okay. You need to be able to have those conversations with your partner… and if you can’t… DON’T CHEAT. Cheating is selfish and will be more hurtful in the end than just being honest from the beginning about what is not working in your relationship.
But you probably already know all that. Forgive me if I am misreading your question or if I am too harsh in what I am about to say, but what you are asking is about gender legitimacy. Would you ask this question if you were hooking up with a boy?
I am guessing you wouldn’t be asking. Which should cause us to wonder why you are asking. To be fair, you are not alone in this particular dilemma. In fact, this question relates to the question from two weeks ago, “how do lesbians have sex?” The only reason you are questioning whether hooking up with a girl should “count” as cheating is because women are not seen as a threat. Why is it that many cisgender straight guys find two girls (whatever their orientation) making out hot, but when it’s two guys making out, that’s disgusting?
Like it or not, this is because women are treated and seen as objects. In the technological age, advertisements and commercials present women as sexual objects to be attained.
Therefore, it seems to me that the reason you are asking this particular question is because, in a man’s world, another woman is not seen as a threat to a relationship. Which, when you really stop and think about it, is ridiculous. As I’ve noted before, often when girls hook up with other girls, that hook-up (or series of hook-ups, or relationships or something else) is seen as a phase. Sometimes, queer girls are also told that they must be confused or looking for attention. This is blatantly homophobic.
So my suggestion is to figure out what you want from your boyfriend and hookup-girlfriend. Even if your boy doesn’t mind you hooking up with just other girls, he is just playing into sexist stereotypes and assumptions about female relationships––so educate him, or date someone who will advocate for you and who is attentive to your needs.