This New Dating Site Promotes "Ethical Cheating" (Yes, Really)

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What is 'ethical cheating'? Is it OK? We have so many questions ....

OpenMinded is a new online dating website for, both, men and women who are in open relationships and looking for outside partners.

Brandon Wade, the creator, calls it a "Dating Site for Ethical Cheaters." The site launched in April as a space to find non-monogamous relationships.

"Ethical cheating" can best be defined as someone who's currently cheating and hiding it, but they wish it could be done differently and there could be honesty about it.

Not sure about you but that still sounds like cheating if you ask me. There is no cheating necessary in a poly or open commitment.

Strange enough, there is a growing desire for new dating sites like these  sites that create a community for those looking for partners who are in open or flexible relationships. Most sites available now are rife  married people looking for sex outside their marriage (and singles willing to give it to them). But nonetheless, they're sneaking around, engaging in extramarital affairs. As the increase in the open, swinging and polyamorous population grows nationwide, the demand is there for a new type of dating. Perhaps a more open and transparent type of dating site, such as OpenMinded, is the solution.

Of course, I wanted to know more about this new site, as well as some of the other websites out there for people in more flexible monogamous relationships or what I call relationships in this age of "new monogamy," so I asked around.

Brook Urick, PR Manager for the company, admits the site is for open relationships. I asked her if members were truly looking for relationships or hookups? She said they're looking for an both, an emotional and physical connection.

Keep in mind, half of the members that join the site are single and the other half already coupled. Yet, when I asked Urick whether or not it was helpful for people looking to find hook ups outside of their relationships she responded by saying, "The term 'cheating' strikes a negative chord, but within the growing community of people in open relationships, cheating is done ethically and openly."

I was completely dumbfounded by this answer. If couples are in open relationships, doesn't that mean there is no need for cheating? Isn't that the whole point to an open marriage? Whenever anyone goes outside of their primary monogamy agreement, regardless of the "openness" of the original promise, betrayal can happen. Isn't "ethical cheating" an oxymoron?

Sites like this discuss consensual non-monogamy, but "ethical cheating" implies that partners agree that cheating — going behind each other’s back — in a non-monogamous marriage or committed partnership is okay. Perhaps we need to redefine the word "cheating." 

When I inquired about jealousy, they claimed their members aren't jealous. These folks were happy that their partners could find sexual intimacy with other partners and the site is simply a means of encouragement for those relationships. Brook says, " ... monogamy is optional and intimacy with more than one person is accepted and encouraged."

Wade, the creator, says that OpenMinded does not encourage infidelity. He says that the site is like "like anti-cheating" and creates "an online arena fueled by honesty and acceptance which is the foundation of open relationships."

Perhaps the word, "cheating" is, for some people, inspiring. It brings up images of forbidden relationships, naughty sex, and illicit hookups. Maybe that's what this site and others like it are selling. Maybe it’s exciting and that excitement is mutually shared — in an ethical way — with a partner who knows what the other is doing and gives full out permission to do it.

One benefit to using this site in particular is that they're very concerned for the safety of their members. They're upgrading their standards and will soon be offering third party background checks and video verification to make sure people are who they portray themselves as.

However, I'm not sure that's enough to win us over on this "Ethical Cheating" logic.

Watch for my next article on BeyondTwo.com, a site for the polyamorous community. Dr. Tammy Nelson is a sex and relationship therapist and the author of "The New Monogamy."