What is considered cheating?

Cheating has and will always be a sensitive subject to engage on for many as almost everyone has been down that road before. There are people who are able to recover from it and continue to seek happiness and there are those who just give up on love because of the consequences of being cheated on had on them. It doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor, no one can be 100% sure that it wont happen to them as such is a part of life. The interesting thing is that it’s not always clear where the line is between harmless fun and cheating. Men, women, and people from different backgrounds all have their own perception of what cheating is. Everyone, of course, is entitled to their belief, but it is important to make sure you’re on the same page with your long-term partner about what that means. Broadly, cheating can be defined as being emotionally or sexually unfaithful to your partner who you are in a closed relationship with. Having intimate physical or emotional contact with another person is typically considered cheating.


Emotional Cheating

Emotional cheating is defined by someone channelling emotional time, energy, and attention to someone else outside of the relationship. The partner in the relationship who does this then spends less time with their significant other, leading to feelings of neglect.

Physical Cheating

Physical cheating is defined by one person in the relationship becoming sexually involved with someone else. Typically, physical cheating also covers simple physical acts of intimacy such as holding hands and kissing.

What Is Considered Cheating? 

A 2013 study from the University of Michigan addressed this very topic by asking a pool of undergraduates to rate 27 different behaviours on a scale of 1-100. A score of one indicated that they didn’t think the behaviour was cheating if their partner did it with someone else, while a score of 100 indicated that they definitely thought it would be cheating. The study showed that there is no direct “definition” of cheating, with the possible exception of sex. It’s on a sliding scale, with some people believing some behaviours are more damaging than others.

Other Behaviours That Many Consider to Be Cheating

Here are some other behaviours, beyond those discussed in the Michigan study, that cause people to accuse others of cheating:

  • Touching and grabbing inappropriate areas.
  • Buying gifts, paying bills, or going to dinner with someone other than your partner.
  • Texting in the wee hours.
  • Sending explicit texts.
  • Going on a date with someone other than your partner.
  • Going to internet chat rooms with the intention of exchanging phone numbers or to meet up.
  • Meeting up with your ex’s.
  • Clubbing e.g. bumping and grinding with someone other than your partner.
  • Exchanging phone numbers with someone other than your partner.
  • Flirting and teasing with someone else.

What Is Micro Cheating?

Micro cheating refers to a set of behaviours that flirt with the line between faithfulness and unfaithfulness. While people have different definitions of micro cheating, using a dating app, frequent texting, and flirting tend to fall into this category. While micro cheating may not be bad in and of itself, it can be a slippery slope to full-blown cheating. What starts as harmless flirting or a harmless friendship can quickly escalate into something else.

What Does All This Mean?

There are many different things that can be considered cheating, some of which you may not have thought about. In general, most people consider sex and other types of intimate physical contact to be cheating. Other friendly acts, like lap-sitting or going to dinner together, may or may not be called “cheating” depending on who is talking.

Is Flirting Cheating?

For most, the act of just flirting is not considered cheating, though some may think that flirting behind your partner’s back is cheating. If the flirting is just harmless and it does not get out of hand, it can hardly be considered cheating. However, if the flirting is a symptom of neglect in the relationship, it can very quickly get out of control and lead to something more significant.

How Anxiety or Anti-Attachment Issues Can Affect Cheating

As you can see from the above information, there is a wide range of behaviours that are somewhere in between cheating and not-cheating, like spending lots of time with another person, or forming a deep emotional bond with someone other than your partner.How a person views something their partner does depends on where they are at emotionally. If they are feeling anxious or insecure in the relationship, they’re more likely to view what their partner does as a sign of cheating. On the other hand, if a person does not want to be in a monogamous or committed relationship, he or she is less likely to consider intimate physical relations with another person as cheating.

How Men and Women Differ on What They Consider Cheating

According to a 2014 survey by Victoria Milan, an online dating site for people who are in relationships, there are some clear distinctions between how men and women view cheating.

Here’s what they discovered:

  • 72 percent of men said sexual affairs were worse than emotional affairs.
  • 69 percent of women said emotional affairs were worse than sexual affairs.
  • 76 percent of women would forgive their partner for a strictly sexual affair
  • Only 35 percent of men would forgive their partner for a strictly sexual affair.
  • 80 percent of men said they would forgive an emotional affair.
  • Only 30 percent of women would forgive an emotional affair.

Women Care More About Emotional Cheating

In general, women are more likely to define actions as cheating that indicate emotional attachment with another person. Holding hands also falls in this category, because it’s something that a couple would do, as opposed to a pair just hooking up. In general, women would be more forgiving of physical cheating, so long as the man was not in love with the other person. Men tend to be more sensitive to physical cheating and are less likely to forgive their partner for having sex with another person. At the same time, they are less likely to view some of the more emotional behaviours as problematic, like spending lots of time with another person.

It is important to always make sure that your relationship is well taken care of, pay attention to it so that it can be a fruitful journey for you and your loved one, no one wants to be in a relationship that is draining in every aspect so make sure you are never in the comfort zone to the point where you feel no need to put in the effort in your relationship. Cheating is easy but can be avoided when the love is constantly felt and worked on.

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