What is Considered Cheating in a Relationship?
By Elizabeth Barrera
Unfortunately the recent holidays in 2017 opened my eyes to lots of issues residing within family members and friends - all grounded by the same problem: divorces in place caused by infidelity.
On Christmas Eve, a family member close to me announced that he was going through a divorce because he was cheated on. He requested time and space, and for us to not pity him or his family at all. Later that week I had dinner with one of my childhood friends and found out that the reason behind her divorce was for the same reason as my family member’s. The explanations behind each cheating incident began with something along the lines of “I’m not in love with you anymore” and “I can’t do this anymore, it’s not going to work out.” Then after mild confusion about getting back together, the cheating fell into place.
Both were understandably angry and upset, and ready to move on from such toxic people. Watching my family member choke back the tears that were forming in his eyes broke my heart immensely. He’s always been like another father figure in my life - protective, kind, sweet, loving, funny, and full of wisdom. So watching him hurt with such pain caused my heart to ache for him - and the same feelings formed as I listened intently to my friend’s misfortune. Both stories left me appalled, especially because 1) they came from people I loved, and 2) it left me questioning what exactly “counted” as cheating in today’s society.
To gain more clarification, or at least an insight from the outside world, I decided to Google search what “cheating” meant. Google defines cheating as “acting dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage, especially in a game or examination; deceive or trick; be sexually unfaithful.”
Urban dictionary, of course, gets a little more detailed in terms of the definition. My favorite definition, however, was: “Someone who is in a committed relationship and breaks the trust of his or her partner by getting physically or emotionally involved with another person. Common forms of cheating include kissing, feeling each other up, vaginal, anal, oral sex and any other contact that involves the lips, hands, and genitals. Emotional cheating involves forming a close bond with someone of your preferred gender and basically forming a second relationship. This may or may not include physical cheating.”
Urban dictionary’s definition, to me, was more clear and outlined all the different forms of what most people seem to define as cheating. I understand that everyone has a different definition when it comes to cheating, so here’s a breakdown of what is commonly considered as cheating:
- When you’ve had sex with another person (sober or drunk)
- Falling in love with another person
- Inappropriate contact with another person (this classifies as anything you wouldn’t do with a family member)
- Engaging in dating sites
If you’re still confused as to what “counts” as cheating, then let me put it in a different perspective for you. Your significant other is texting their ex nonstop? Your significant other is getting handsy at the club and trying to sneak in a kiss? Your significant other is DMing someone on Instagram but won’t show you the messages or deletes them so you won’t see them? I’m not necessarily saying any of these are cheating, but I am saying that respecting your partner is important. If you’re not okay with your significant other doing any of those things to you, then don’t do any of that to them. You shouldn’t be doing anything you wouldn’t be okay with them doing.
If you want to keep your significant other in your life, then I suggest staying away from anything that will identify you as shady. Respect your significant other and don’t do anything that will ultimately hurt them and cause a breakup. Be smart and put yourself in the victim’s shoes before partaking in anything that constitutes as cheating.