I haven't brought this up in a long time....my past with X.
I have to say one of the most important components of a relationship for me is feeling special. I'm not speaking of specifics here, I guess it's just in looking at my past.
When X would cheat and sneak around on me it wasn't the fact that he was having sex with others that troubled me. Sure sex outside a committed relationship is not right but it wasn't that so much. What troubled me was when I was not made to feel special. Getting off with someone else, to me, isn't very special.
This showed it's ugly head when he started seeing, his now current husband and maybe one or two others prior to, behind my back. At first I assumed it was a sexual thing; for X had had multiple safe-sex partners during our relationship. He had a tendency to stray and for better or for worse I accepted that. It wasn't easy at first but I understood it to be merely a sexual thing so I somehow justified it. (Feel free to judge me all you want but I did what I did). What really troubled me was when the straying became something secretive, something private and moreover something special between those two. By this I mean: Choosing to spend key holidays, like Valentine's Day, with the other guy and not me, exchanging sappy cards and talking in hushed voices on the phone, writing love notes about how much they miss each other when not together, having dinners (on my expense but that's a whole other story).
My point here is that it wasn't about the sex. It was about the non-sexual intimacy. If they just had a sexual relationship, I could have dealt with it. I wanted my man to only want to be with me on Valentine's Day, only send me sappy love cards, only give me special gifts, have special dinners with only me, only send devilish little notes to me and yes ultimately only have sex with me.
Gay boundaries are strange. Some gay men see the sending of love cards and notes, and spending intimate (albeit non-sexual) cuddling time together as just a friendship. I don't. Having my partner do that with someone else would make me feel secondary. I would never cuddle with or send love notes to a friend, especially if he were partnered. I want all that to be unique to us and us only.
Sex is only one component to being made to feel special. To me, it's the other simpler things that are more important - being exclusive with sentimental cards, little love messages, token gifts and having emotional connections.
I will never put myself through not feeling special in the eyes of a loved one again. I always did (and still do) everything in my power to make the person I'm with feel like they're the only one. I would expect the same in return.
I don't know why I bring all this up. Perhaps it's because I talked to X the other day. I'm a forgiving person and wish him well. And would never do anything to jeopardize his current relationship. Some would say I'm too nice. Perhaps so.