It may be semantics, but I'm curious as to what everyone's position is on what cheating means to you.
As others have stated, cheating is breaking agreements within a relationship. If you agree to be monogamous and then pursue relationships outside of the one you're currently in, that's cheating. However, it's not cheating if you've both agreed that seeing other people is fine. Different folks have different levels of comfort when it comes to romantic endeavors which is why communication is key to avoiding any misunderstandings.
Cheating is when you don't tell, and lead your mate to believe you are being true. Being open and honest allows your mate to decide whether to accept the behavior or leave. Being dishonest takes away that choice and leaves the mate feeling duped and laughed at for their naivety.
Open relationships have to be agreed upon by both parties, with clear boundaries established in advance.
As long as both agree and are participating, there's no cheating involved.
I never forgot an architect/photographer in Lexington, KY, who said he had divorced his wife for cheating on him, remarking, "If she'd told me she wanted an open relationship, it would have been fine, but she did it behind my back, and that betrayed my trust in her."
Later on, he gave me this speech;
"It's been years since I've been with a woman, or found someone interesting enough to want to be with the rest of my life, but you seem to be that person. We can just be dance partners, be friends with benefits, have an open relationship, or have a monogamous one, whatever you want."
I was floored and nearly cried..I'd never heard anything so wonderful in my life. I opted for monogamous friends with benefits, and we got together most weekends to dance the night away and more.
If everyone is open and upfront about their relationships, the answer is no.
I've been in several open relationships where the man had someone on the side without telling me. When you betray your partner's trust it doesn't matter what the status of your relationship is (open or closed); it's still cheating. What I fail to understand is why would they lie about something when they don't have to? Makes the betrayal worse if you ask me.
I didn't vote because this isn't quite black and quite as you have set it up. As others have said, I think just being honest about an external relationship doesn't make it NOT cheating. If they disapprove, it's still cheating, just not lying and cheating.
If the relationship is open then it isn't cheating. Cheating is when you promise a commitment to a monogamous relationship (or some other limitations) and you break it. People who cheat will often keep secrets and lie about cheating. So it all boils down to taking advantage of a person's trust and breaking it. If they are open from the start about their other relationships, it's not cheating, but if you're with them for a year and they admit to having another relationship when you've been under the impression that the relationship was monogamous, that's cheating.
I think cheating is a matter of betrayal of trust.
You have a relationship that both parties knew was open, and both parties are happy to be open, then tell then the truth and you're not cheating - but honesty means nothing if your parner is expecting monogamy.
It's just like saying 'do I stop being a thief if I'm honest about the fact that I steal?'
It's betrayal of reasonable expectation that makes you a cheat - not whether you 'come clean'.
Unless your partner approves of an open relationship then anything that violates the relationship is cheating. I think too often no one discusses it, we each have our idea of what the relationship is and we feel violated because we are following the rules we think are in place while our partner is operating under a different set of rules.