What is cheating? You’d think it was a pretty straightforward answer, but different people have different answers on what they consider cheating. Crazy, I know. But people have rationalized crazier things to themselves, so maybe they don’t think they’re cheating. Who knows? What seems like a black-and-white issue has now turned into a gray one. Hopefully, this article can help break down some of the haziness that’s come up and clarify some rationalized behavior that might be more toxic than you think.
What is Cheating?
Before we get into what cheating is, we should probably touch on commitment. Cheating would not be a thing if commitment wasn’t also a thing. Commitment in a relationship is a daily choice to be with your partner. It is deciding to work through any issues and continue to be present with your partner. Commitment takes trust, and infidelity and cheating break that trust. If you can’t trust your relationship, you shouldn’t be in that relationship because you can’t fully commit to that person. Without trust and some level of commitment, you’ll find yourself in a toxic relationship sooner rather than later.
Without a doubt, physical cheating is probably the easiest example of cheating on a significant other or maybe the most cliche example. I’m not talking about non-monogamous relationships because they play from a different ruleset than traditional relationships, but cheating. Simply put, physical infidelity is having a physical or sexual connection with someone outside your relationship. So if you want to be free and be with other people, save your partner the pain of infidelity. You can’t eat your cake and have it too.
I don’t know what would hurt more, someone physically cheating on me or having an emotional affair. I guess it depends on the person, but both suck at the end of the day. Seeking an intimate emotional connection outside of your relationship is a slippery slope. It’s one thing to talk to a friend about something and another to have an emotional affair. Leaving your relationship and searching for emotional intimacy outside of that relationship leads to an emotional separation in your relationship. Just do yourself and your partner a favor and leave the relationship you’re not happy in, or communicate with them and tell them how you feel and work on it together. DON’T EMOTIONALLY CHEAT. It shouldn’t be this hard.
Digital infidelity is the gray area I was talking about earlier. What does it mean to digitally cheat on your partner? Do you consider liking the picture of a model cheating? Is watching porn cheating? Is flirting with someone in the comments or DMs cheating? I can’t come out and tell you yes or no to these questions because it all depends on your relationship. Communication is key. Communicate expectations with your partner. Maybe you aren’t comfortable with your partner watching porn. Maybe you don’t trust yourself to have Snapchat because it is too tempting for you. Whatever the case may be, sit down and talk with your partner. Communicate boundaries and expectations for your relationship; otherwise, someone might get hurt on accident (or on purpose.)
Communicate what is and isn’t acceptable for your relationship. Set expectations so that you know boundaries. It’s the whole Rachel and Ross “were they on a break or were they not on a break” situation. If you allow miscommunication and a lack of communication to seep into your relationship, then expectations for your relationship won’t be met. It’s hard to respect boundaries when they haven’t been communicated.
Infidelity hurts and can fill us with insecurities, hate, and heartbreak. If you aren’t happy in your relationship, then it might be time to evaluate and leave that relationship. It’s better to do that than to betray someone’s trust. Someone who has chosen to be with you and committed to you. Cheating is grimy and for cowards. If you feel like you can’t tell your significant other about something you did or about a friendship at work because it might sound or look bad, then you might want to examine why you feel like that. Why keep a friendship a secret if nothing salacious is happening?