I'm going to separate all the 'I think' statements from the definition you provided and the specific instance you provided. The specific instance: Your hypothetical SO at the time trusted you will hold to your end of the relationship while you are at the party or wherever else. In failing to respect that trust, while they actively believed that they could trust you -- how is this not active deception? Your definition and yet you have a strange way of applying it to the instance you provide.I don't consider the "you meet someone at a party and decide to start a relationship with them and dump your current SO" cheating so long as you're not actively deceiving, because you notify them as soon as possible.
These are rather malleable values you write about. So, essentially the way you have set it up - you can really never cheat as long as the person is informed, after. So all one needs to do to live with a clear conscience is to call the SO as soon as you find someone else who is more attractive (however you define this) and have already started seeing them is to inform them of the same, after???? The idea of starting a relationship at a party is a strange one to begin with... Does this not strike you as a lame attempt to set up an individual book of rules that excuses poor consideration of and respect for the SO and rather unethical behavior and clearly fits even your definition of cheating.
This is not hairsplitting it just doesn't fit your own definition -- letting someone believe that you are with them, regardless of how long this was for, while you break that trust is deception -- it doesn't matter what you call it in your book. You can use whatever personal rules of conduct you deem fit but you haven't explained how this is not active deception.If you don't notify your SO as soon as possible, yes its cheating. Hair splitting, I know, but cheating in my book requires deception about what is going on. There is no deception here, so there is no cheating.
In what world is the above behavior ethical?It would be cheating (and unethical) to start a relationship with someone else and not notify your SO asap. But is there a difference between a text message saying I'm dumping you at 10pm and one at 12pm? Not really. Yet under your definition one would make you a cheater and one wouldn't. Intent matters more then the exact timing. (Note, dumping via text message is lame. I'd rather wait and be considered a cheater under your definition and tell someone at least over the phone then do that. )
Firstly, having already addressed the strange definition of deception, here is what would be ethical in the above situation.
1. You have problems in your relationship and think you want out -- tell the person you're with just that and deal with the consequences. Don't wait until you get to a party and meet someone else.
2. You meet someone you can't resist and are committed to someone else, you don't start a relationship with said person. You go home and think about why this would be a bad idea first....there's a thought. Impulses can be controlled. That would be ethical behavior. I assume you have committed to the SO - does that not mean anything?
3. If you must follow your impulse after thinking through the consequences carefully then FIRST have a conversation with the person you are seeing and let them know that you are not wanting to continue the relationship. Take the time to explain why and be man/woman enough to listen to what they have to say, preferably face to face. This does not imply a text message or a phone call to INFORM them that you are done and have found someone else, it involves an in-person conversation where you provide an explanation and they get to express their part.
4. You take some time to both let your SO get over the conversation and, to be fair to the new person, to get distance from your last relationship. Then you could ethically consider a new relationship....really.
You are clearly missing the point -- while in one case, the person makes an attempt to hold on to the SO and in the second, they don't wish to do that. This only takes into account how you/said hypothetical person who is upgrading their SO feels. Neither considers the SO who is being deceived in either situation (how is it different for her/him - someone they trusted violated that trust) or the new person who is also deceived by not getting to meet and date someone who is truly unattached. It does not take away from the detrimental effects on the SO or the new person - unethical behavior towards both.Edit: Lets be honest. We all know exactly when someone is cheating and when someone just hasn't notified their SO they are dumping them yet. In 99% of cases its the former. I'll use a I'll know it when I see it type test here.
P.S. How old are you John Doe?