Sometimes it’s hard to determine when you’ve crossed the line. There was a time when cheating had a simple definition, but nowadays we are more complex and less accepting of betrayal of any sort in a monogamous relationship. The answer of course is going to be different for every couple.
One of the best questions you can ask yourself is: “Would you be uncomfortable if your partner acted the way you do?”
The rules are about what constitutes infidelity are different for everyone, and you probably shouldn’t let me or anyone else give you a pre-made prescription for setting comfortable boundaries and expectations in your relationship.
What is cheating? Having sex with someone other than your marriage partner is the distinguishing factor that makes an affair a betrayal. That’s cheating. Furthermore “any” situation that has you in a compromising position with someone other than your own partner. For example, going out with someone “without sex,” sexy chats online with the opposite sex, or downloading porn, when you are supposedly in a committed relationship is in my opinion also considered cheating.
A broad rule of thumb is anything that you are doing with someone with the opposite sex (or same sex) that you would not want your partner to know. It’s a matter of integrity and trust.
Relationships, simply put, are about relating. If you can’t have effective communication with your partner, if you’re withholding things that need to be said, then you’re “cheating” your love partner out of something valuable. For most couples it is the deception and the feeling of being betrayed.
Rule #1: If you are separated there can be no hook-ups allowed. Generally speaking couples who separate do so for two reasons: #1 to work things out separately so they can get back together or #2 to use it as a gentle step toward divorce. Choose your reason for separation and act accordingly. Hooking up with someone other than your partner during separation is cheating!
It’s important to know that there is nothing that cannot be forgiven. Nothing! The choice is only and always your own. I know. It’s difficult and it can be done.
Larry gets LoveNotes… “About 4 months ago I discovered that my wife had sex with her golf instructor. I was devastated and ready for divorce. I love her, but how can I ever forgive her and continue living with her. We separated for 6 weeks and missed her so much that I turned to the Internet and found your article on forgiveness. I called and after an hour with you my life has changed. I had a hard time forgiving her, but like you said if you do decide to forgive, never bring it up again. It wasn’t and isn’t easy, but I did it and I’m glad. I feel better and she feels better and we are still together doing everything we can to start over. Thank you, Mr. James.” – A. M., Orlando, FL
• Flirting (provocatively) with a member of the opposite sex. (Clarification: Provocatively is the keyword.)
I personally feel that the following could be classified as cheating:
• Discuss things of a sexual nature with a member of the opposite sex.
• Giving gifts to a member of the opposite sex unless they are a relative.
• Have sexual contact with someone other than their partner.
• Deny being married or in a relationship. Some think this is the first step to cheating.
• Chatting online with a member of the opposite sex unless your partner knows.
• Getting private dances at strip joints.
• Exchange personal e-mails or text messages, especially if your partner does not know.
• Sharing personal information and emotional feelings with someone other than their spouse. This is never a good idea.
The caveat is this: If it begins to get emotional, it’s time to cut the string. An “emotional affair” is an affair which excludes physical intimacy, and is usually based on emotional intimacy. An emotional affair can also be referred to as an affair of the heart. It is a phenomenon that is not limited to married couples, affecting people in serious relationships of every type. An emotional affair may begin innocently as a friendship with a person outside the relationship.
Over time, the partner becomes infatuated, obsessed in some cases, with this friend – and eventually tries to become friendlier, spending more time with him or her at the cost of the relationship that person is already in. Where one partner is in a committed monogamous relationship, irrespective of whether marriage is planned or not, and irrespective of if the couple is already married or not, an emotional affair can be considered a type of chaste non-monogamy without consummation. When the affair breaches an agreement in the monogamous relationship of one of the partners to the affair, the term infidelity may be more appropriate. to me, that’s stepping over the line.
Most guys — 74%, according to an AskMen.com Dating survey — think that cheating starts with a kiss. In other words, sexual contact constitutes cheating. For women, however, a kiss doesn’t even have to be part of the equation.
If you are not sure what constitutes cheating on your partner – perhaps it’s time to have a conversation with your partner to spell out what you consider appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Or, call a relationship coach for clarification.
Your comments, please!
BONUS Articles: My Partner Cheat? Never! 29 Red Flags That May Suggest a Cheater
Forgiveness… What’s it for?
What Counts As Cheating Now
Cyber Cheating = Emotional Infidelity!
Hmmm… Are You At The Risk Of Cheating?
Copyright © 2015 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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