What Counts as Cheating: Painting the Real Picture of Unfaithfulness

You see them together, catch them talking for long hours, or you happen to have seen the text messages they sent to their new lover, which they always close with a smiley emoji. You confront them, telling them they’re cheating. But they get away with it, saying it was all for fun, no more, no less.

“Having fun” is how most cheaters call the times they spent with another person behind their partner’s back. Truth be told, sometimes, you can’t really say they’re lying. Apparently, a study revealed that husbands who think their wives are cheating are proven right only 50 percent of the time. That makes us think, when do we call a behavior a good enough sign that a person is being unfaithful? What counts as cheating for us may not actually be something we should worry about. How do we exactly define cheating?

What Counts as Cheating?

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When can you say your partner is actually cheating? Before the digital age set in, drawing the line between being unfaithful and just having fun was easier; but changes in the way people live and view relationships have made it harder for us to see the difference. Now let’s take a closer look at the painting of infidelity that we all dread and get to know the surefire signs and learn exactly what counts as cheating.

1. The want to have physical contact

This can mean a lot of things. Sleeping in the same bed, hand holding, kissing, hugging, or sitting on someone’s lap—if they feel the want to do all that with someone other than you, something’s off. Having close physical contact with best friends is not really eyebrow-raising, but if your lover just wants to do it for no reason, then they might actually be interested in that someone. They probably think your relationship is no longer meeting their expectations, so they’ve decided to seek it somewhere else. Sitting on someone’s lap can be dismissed as just another gesture showing close bond, but really long hugs, hand holding, kissing, and sleeping in the same bed make for a very different story. And if flirting has become their habit, maybe you’d want to look into things deeper.

2. The urge to build an emotional connection with someone else

When they call someone when they’re upset and that someone is not you, something is not right. It starts off as a friendship, which is too pure to question. But sometimes, this grows into a bond way tighter and deeper than what it’s only allowed to be. They start sharing their deepest thoughts with someone and talk to them to relieve themselves of stress. They extend emotional support and receive the same. With this comes the possibility of increased sexual tension, which then turns into an emotional affair that can ruin your relationship.

There’s nothing wrong with letting your partner ask for some pieces of advice from someone whom they believe knows better; what counts as cheating is when they start sharing their most intimate thoughts and feelings with the person, something they long stopped doing with you. When that happens, you should prepare yourself for some confrontation.

3. The need to keep things a secret

This is where everything boils down. If there’s that need to keep something a secret, then there’s that knowledge that it is not right. It does not matter if it’s something physical or emotional, if a relationship with a co-worker or a close friend has turned into a secret that can never be revealed, it can be considered as cheating.

Everybody’s definition of cheating and infidelity differs. While that is understandable, it actually makes things more complicated. Some use the fact that there’s no definite picture of cheating as an excuse to brand their affair as nothing more than just having fun. What matters most here, though, is gathering the strength to investigate further, compile pieces of evidence, and confront your cheating partner about your suspicions.

It can be hard, but it’s better than staying in a relationship where your existence is slowly becoming irrelevant to the person you invested so much emotions in.

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Amanda Thomas

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