What Is Considered Cheating? When do you cross the line?
What is considered cheating?
This is one of the questions I’ve been asked very frequently while doing the research to my large, danish anonymous online workshop “Infidelity – Move on. Together or seperately”, and how I wish I could give a straight answer to that question.
The problem is that it’s such an individual thing determining when you cross the line to cheating.
What your partner sees as cheating isn’t necessarily what you consider to be cheating.
And what your ex-partner considered to be cheating could be completely different to what you neighbour sees as cheating.
I can sit here with all my nice couples therapist advice and rules of thumb, but for you to know where your line is, I invite you to take a look at what nearly 30 people consider to be infidelity/cheating.
What is considered cheating – I posted the question on my Facebook page to get answers:
“What is considered cheating?
When do you cross the line??
A lot of people have requested an article on this topic – and I’d love to write it but… I’d also like to hear what YOU think cheating is?
What is considered cheating – according to you?’’
And I received so many answers from both men and women.
Here’s a small selection of all the answers I received:
► “You’re cheating when you can no longer look your partner in the eyes and tell them the truth.’’
► “You’re cheating when you feel a need to hide something.’’
► “As soon as you do something you know your partner won’t accept.’’
► “You have to think about whether you’d want your partner to do the same to you.’’
► “You’re already cheating when you’re hiding or deleting messages.’’
► “When you’re doing something behind their back you wouldn’t do to their face!!’’
► “The second you start keeping it secret who you’re messaging and when you delete messages.’’
► ’’It’s very simple really: when you do something you wouldn’t do in front of your partner.’’
► “I think it’s simple: you’re cheating when you’re doing something with someone else that you wouldn’t want your partner to see.’’
► “The minute you break your partner’s trust.”
► “When you overstep your partner’s trust and boundaries.”
► “As soon as you’re meeting up with someone else and keeping it a secret from your partner.”
► “It’s infidelity when the boundaries you’ve agreed on in your relationship are overstepped. Regardless of what these boundaries might be.’’
► “When you do something you wouldn’t want your partner to know about.”
► “You’re cheating as soon as you’re doing something you should only be doing with your partner.”
► “Sex. Kissing is bad but I think it’s a bit much calling it cheating. Sex is – in my eyes – point of no return and it’s fair to call that cheating.”
► “Sending dirty messages to other people when you’re in a relationship is just as much cheating as if it was done physically.”
► “You know it yourself when you’re being too friendly.’’
What Is Considered Cheating?
► ’’Sex and kisses – regardless of how you kiss.’’
► ’’You’re in the wrong if you do something you wouldn’t have done if your partner was sitting next to you.’’
► ’’The cheating occurs when the trust and understanding between two people is broken.’’
► ’’If you cross your partner’s boundaries. Infidelity isn’t just physical, it can be mentally as well.’’
► ’’When you do something you wouldn’t do if your husband or boyfriend was in the room!’’
► ’’You’re cheating when your partner is feeling let down and when they feel that you’ve overstepped their boundaries.’’
► ’’It’s a tricky question. It’s a fine line between flirting and infidelity.’’
► ’’I think I find naughty messages to be ok but nothing physical.’’
Anja Lysholm, danish author of the book “Who are you cheating on” also gave me an answer to my question.
Among other things she wrote:
“In my book I’ve used the definition: ’’To have a relationship of sexual character to someone other than your partner without your partner’s knowledge or acceptance.’’ Unfortunately, too many people don’t talk about what is acceptable to them – before the boundaries have been crossed. To kiss someone else is not necessarily cheating nor having sex with someone else even. It completely depends on what agreements you have with your partner. Now please make sure you have that talk and make some agreements. You shouldn’t just assume that you agree on the matter.’’
And my wise colleague Anja is SO right.
Please have that talk before one of you upsets the other one by crossing a line you didn’t even know existed.
Ideally, you should have this talk about what cheating is for you and your partner respectfully.
And also what each of your own limits are before it’s even relevant for you to sit here and read this article.
The problem is just that…
Way too rarely do you have this talk with your partner, because why talk about a topic as uncomfortable as ’’cheating’’ when we’re so happy.
I completely get that.
It can quickly turn into quite an annoying talk to have and someone can end up really upset.
Nevertheless, it is so necessary to have this talk.
Also, there’s another problem…
There’s often a big difference between talking about cheating and having an opinion on this topic and the way you think and feel about it before you experiencing it and how you see cheating when it actually happens to you.
In other words:
If you’ve never experienced infidelity, you’re dealing with hypotheses and ideas about what you think is okay.
And that’s all right really and completely understandable.
As a starting point:
You just need to be aware that a lot of people are a lot ’’larger’’ in their thoughts and fantasies, than what they are in real life!
And this could easily come bite you in the ass, pardon my French.
For instance, you suddenly discover that your partner is flirting a bit with a colleague and have sent a few text messages – which is called micro cheating.
And reality is that a few years ago you told him/her that a little bit of flirting and “innocent” text messages was totally fine with you…
That was when you talked about it hypothetically, but now you see it, feel it, discover it, it actually feels like big time cheating on you.
And there’s the trouble!
Of course, the opposite could happen as well.
The most important thing is though that you’re very aware of what your limits are before you tell your partner about them.
And also, remember that it’s always okay to change your mind a long the way of a lifetime.
One way or the other.
And remember that you CAN easily have different opinions on what your boundaries are.
Well, I’d even go as far as saying it would be completely normal if you have different ideas on when you think you’re cheating.
Do you really want to know?
Another thing you could benefit from talking about is if you’d actually want to know if anything happens.
Let’s say you’ve agreed that it isn’t infidelity/cheating if your partner is dancing with other people, kissing their cheeks and giving them a long, warm hug and then one day it happens.
Do you want your partner to come home and tell you about it or would you rather he/she didn’t?
Again, you might find that your opinions on this differ a great deal.
Perhaps you want to know if your partner has been flirting with someone.
The thought of this might even turn you on but your partner might feel sick just thinking about you dancing with someone else!
What is considered cheating?
As you can see reading the examples above, there are huge difference between what different people consider to be classified as cheating.
Some people say it’s all very uncertain.
And yes, it certainly can be if you haven’t discussed what your boundaries are.
If you haven’t had a chance to have this talk with your partner, you can use these rules as guidelines.
Guidelines for: “What Is Considered Cheating?”:
1) If you’re in doubt, there is no doubt and you shouldn’t do it.
2) If you’re in doubt, have a talk to your partner about what your boundaries are.
Be safe ❤
Maj Wismann – Clinical sexologist and relationship therapist with own clinic since 2006 – Read more about Maj here <—
★ What Is Considered Cheating? Have you been unsure about where the line was? Have you experienced that your partner ever crossed the line? Please feel free to leave a comment and share your experiences with us. ALSO, this is such a sensitive subject so please be sensible enough to word whatever you write positively, be nice and show consideration. Thank you ❤
** Please remember to keep a nice tone, ALL negative comments will be deleted immediately; I wish to create a positive and supporting space, where we can help each other and because of this I have a zero tolerance policy to rudeness, condescension and negative inputs.
Read more about libido, sex drive & sex life:
★ Libido problems – Three big reasons it is low or non-existent ❗ ←
★ Stress and sex drive – Why your sex drive is affected by stress & and what you can do about it ←
★ Low libido in young women – 7 common causes + What you can do ←
Good advice, as always. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Keep up the good work