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3 Actions That Define Cheating

three elements that define cheating

Is going to a friend’s bachelor party at a strip club considered cheating? What about flirting and teasing? Or what about carrying condoms if you and your mate don’t use them or aren’t sexually active?

These are all issues that have come up over time by couples at my events or that I’ve coached. It seems every millennial has an entirely different set of rules that determine where the line is drawn for cheating. While this is normal coming into a relationship, it’s important that you and your mate get on the same page about what constitutes cheating. This way, you can be sure you’re not crossing your partner’s boundaries to the point where they feel betrayed.

I recently came across some advice from the late Dr. Shirley Glass, regarding what exactly constitutes whether a relationship [outside of your own] is an affair or not and I believe she was spot on. Here are the three factors:

1. Secrecy – “Suppose two people meet every morning at seven o’clock for coffee before work, and they never tell their partners. Even though it might be in a public place, their partner is not going to be happy about it. It is going to feel like a betrayal, a terrible deception.”

2. Emotional Intimacy – “When someone starts confiding things to another person that they are reluctant to confide to their partner, and the emotional intimacy is greater in the friendship than in the [relationship], that’s very threatening. One common pathway to affairs occurs when somebody starts confiding negative things about their relationship to a person of the opposite sex. What they’re doing is signaling: ‘I’m vulnerable; I may even be available.’”

3. Sexual Chemistry – “That can occur even if two people don’t touch. If one says, “I’m really attracted to you,” or “I had a dream about you last night, but, of course, I’m [in a relationship], so we won’t do anything about that,” that tremendously increases the sexual tension by creating forbidden fruit in the relationship.”

These are three elements that are clear, concise and easy to agree with. They are also at the root of many of the other reasons folks draw their boundaries where they do.

So the next time you’re discussing what constitutes cheating or not, ask your mate if one of these three elements is why they drew the line where they did. I found that when it came to those issues I mentioned above, going to a strip club was considered building sexual chemistry with another person, the flirting and teasing consisted of both sexual chemistry as well as emotional intimacy and carrying around those condoms were done in secret.

Trust takes forever to build, yet only a moment to destroy forever. Make sure you and your mate are on the same page about what your expectations are around infidelity. Your trust is not worth damaging over something you weren’t aware of.

What Say You, Folks?

Are there things your partner considered cheating that you don’t? What are they and why don’t you think they are?

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2 Responses

  1. I have some scenarios for people to consider…

    Is ogling other women/men cheating?

    How about flirting with them?

    Is going out for a coffee with the office hottie being unfaithful?

    Looking at porn on the Internet?

    Masturbating to live web cams?

    Receiving private dances in lap dancing clubs? Or just watching?

    How about if booking an escort if there is no penetrative sex?

    Everyone has a different idea of where you cross the line – the boundary.

    I wonder how many couples have the same views on what constitutes as cheating or if it’s something they have even discussed?

    Believe it or not some men think that if they receive oral sex that it’s not cheating, because in their mind they convince themselves they aren’t doing anything. It doesn’t occur to them that receiving pleasure on their most private parts from another person is inappropriate in a monogamous relationship.

    Some also class having sex with an escort as not cheating as there is no emotional attachment. Whatever way you dress it up it is infidelity.

    A client of mine who was considering proposing to his partner of 6 years recently told me that he hadn’t been unfaithful although he frequently indulged in mutual masturbation with naked women!

    Men and women being unfaithful will always find a way to justify their actions.

    1. Thanks for putting those scenarios out there Rebecca! Only by opening up a dialogue about the topic can couples get on the same page w/ each other. It can be a touchy topic, but we have to get comfortable talking about it!

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