What Counts As Cheating In A Relationship?

August 31, 2018

Disloyal man walking with his girlfriend and looking amazed at another seductive girl

There are so many different factors that could lead to someone having an affair or cheating on their partner. It is difficult to know where to draw the line, especially when our definition of what makes a cheater is different.

One person might see flirting as the act of a cheater, while others might believe that the only thing that counts as a cheat is when you have an emotional connection with someone else. Others see it simply as sex. So what counts?

What drives us to cheat?

Most of us have either known someone who has had an affair or we are the guilty party. Our reasons are often as diverse as we are, which can make defining the act incredibly difficult. But before we look at what makes a cheater, we should look at what makes us cheat in the first place.

One of the biggest reasons is that we aren’t feeling satisfied in the relationship. Typically this focuses on sexual pleasure, but it can be for other reasons. If our sex life is dead we might be tempted to stray. This is the most common factor. Sex is typically a big part of it, because we want more experience. If our partner can’t give that to us, we might go looking elsewhere.

Another big temptation is our feelings for someone else. If we are attracted to someone else it can be difficult to reign those feelings in. The desire to kiss and fuck them can be overwhelming, and so instead of staying true to our partner, we experience someone new. It answers the “what if” questions, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Cheaters can leave their partners feeling worthless

Original source: Tenor

The confusion around cheating

These aren’t the only reasons why someone might be tempted to cheat. If someone is inclined to cheat then they might simply find any excuse that they can. However, what makes this topic more challenging to tackle is that our definitions of cheating don’t always match up.

I’ve had friends who believe that they haven’t cheated if they haven’t formed an emotional attachment. They could be having regular sex with someone else but still feel as though they were in the clear. Others believe that their partner has cheated if they so much as flirt with someone else.

Establishing our boundaries in the beginning can go a long way to ensuring that no-one is confused about where the line is. If you feel that sending a flirty text is cheating, then tell your partner this. You’ll be on the same page and it’ll save a lot of confusion.

Setting your limits can ensure no misunderstandings

Original source: Tenor

So what is it?

If you want to know what a cheat might do, there is probably nowhere better to look than Ashley Madison. The dating site for married people looking to have affairs conducted a survey. They were each to see just what their users counted as cheating. The list went as follows:

55% said it was “forming a deep emotion bond with someone else”.
46% said “sending naked pictures to someone other than me”.
44% said “texting erotic messages to someone other than me”.
29% said “maintaining an online dating profile”.
29% said “spending time with their ex-partner”.
18% said “casual flirting with someone other than me”.
18% said “thinking about someone other than me when having sex with me”.
18% said “going out to dinner with someone who is the opposite sex”.
16% said “communicating with their ex”.
13% said “fantasising about someone else”.

The fact that “maintaining an online dating profile” sits so high in this survey is astonishing. These people are maintaining an online dating profile and saying that it constitutes cheating. I don’t even think I need to say any more than that, do I?

Original source: Giphy

Form your own definitions

It seems that the main factor many have an issue with is the emotional attachment. If you can keep emotions out of it, it might be seen as more acceptable. This is typically because sex is a physical thing, but allowing emotions into it means having feelings for someone else. Separating the two can help a lot.

What is your definition of cheating? Do you agree with the list above? Are you like me and have difficulty figuring out just where the line is?

I would honestly love to hear from you. You can let me know what you think by leaving a comment in the box below. Share your thoughts and see what others have to say about this topic.

Lara Mills
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