Is there such a thing as 'respectful cheating'?

All Woman

POPULAR reality TV star Mehgan James has had social media abuzz following her disclosure that cheating is not a bone of contention in her relationship, once it is done 'respectfully'. James commented while responding to a question on infidelity on the new reality TV show, Notorious Queens . The former Bad Girls Club star explained that cheating respectfully means “cheating where I don't find out, [and] having control over your other women”. She also added that cheating was only disrespectful and would warrant a break-up if her partner brings home a STD, gets someone else pregnant, or is gay.

James, who said outside of these three things she could work through just about anything with her partner, quickly came under fire from fans and fellow guest La'Britney. She blasted James for normalising cheating and accused her of lacking standards, but the other guests seemed more empathetic with James, using their own lives as examples, with one even noting her criteria for “cheating respectfully”.

Does James have a point that respectful infidelity is a thing, or this just another weak, outlandish theory used to cope with cheating partners? All Woman readers weigh in on whether such a thing exists.

Kevin, 34, carpenter:

There is no such thing as cheating respectfully. I don't care if your partner does not know the person, if you do it discreetly, or anything like that. Once you commit to being exclusive, then going outside of that is disrespectful. Once you have to hide any engagement with anyone at all, take gifts or anything like that, or even if you feel guilty after, any kind of intimate dealings that would cause problems if I find out about it can never be respectful.

Marsha-lee, 39, sales representative:

Cheating is cheating; I don't believe there can be a respectful way to do it. I think that even thinking about doing it is betraying your partner. I don't care if the person is a thousand miles away and you cover your tracks, the person doesn't get in the way, or any of the many reasons some people like to give that should somehow make their partners feel better about what they have done. The people who believe there is such a thing are narcissistic.

Oshane, 31, soldier:

Respectful cheating is number one in the book of insane excuses. How can anything that goes against the agreements in your relationship be respectful? This is just one excuse to help the cheating partner not feel guilty about what he/she is doing.

Kelsie, 43, pharmacy technician:

It might seem crazy looking at it from the angle that cheating is wrong, but I do believe that one can cheat respectfully. For example, I am in a committed relationship, I have a great partner, but there is an issue and my partner does nothing to rectify it no matter how many times we discuss it. I met someone who happens to be everything I want and more in that area. We hang out a lot and I get to enjoy that missing component. There is, however, no intention to pursue anything further with the person and he doesn't live in the same parish and he has not even seen a picture of my partner...

Rajeev, 27, teacher:

Respectful cheating is an absolute non-factor — it does not exist. I believe that there are levels of cheating and some may cause more pain than others, but that is as many categories as cheating goes. Cheating might sting less if your partner is not up in your face with their actions, if, for example, you don't get the disrespectful calls that you hear some people talk about, if they don't go bareback, or if they make sure that the person does not meet any good friends or family members.

Felicia, 32, sales rep:

Respectful cheating, I guess, would be not rubbing it in your partner's face, you know, and being so careful there is no way for them to find out and be hurt. Sometimes you don't want more than a one “touch” or maybe even just enjoy a person's vibe and things might end up in a one kiss and you cut things off to make sure you don't further cross the line, and of course, if it's a long-term thing you make sure the person knows his or her place.

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