People Claim These Things Can Be Considered Cheating (30 Posts) Interview With Author
Finding out that your partner has been unfaithful is heartbreaking. After all, few enter into long-term relationships expecting their trust to be broken. So when an affair comes to light, whether purely physical or emotional, your relationship is hanging on a thread. You’re suddenly hit with a whirlwind of feelings and the harrowing decision of whether or not to move forward.
But even the most careful cheaters leave trails and eventually get caught in their web of lies. The problem is that only in hindsight do you realize the signals were there all along, they just completely went over your head. So recently, one Redditor decided to learn more about people’s experiences and the ways deceit makes love crumble to pieces. They reached out to the Ask Reddit community with a question: "Where does cheating in a relationship start for you?"
People immediately jumped to the comment section to share what infidelity means to them, as well as some of the subtle signs our partners may be going astray. We’ve gone through the thread and gathered some of the most illuminating responses to share with you, so continue scrolling and upvote the ones you agree with most. Below, you'll also find in-depth interviews with the author of this post and relationship expert Gary W. Lewandowski Jr. And if you know any other indications of infidelity in a relationship, be sure to share them with us in the comments.
Psst! After you’re done reading this post, check out our earlier piece filled with wild and infuriating stories from people who accidentally caught their partners cheating.
Withdrawing emotionally from your partner and offering that energy to someone else. Cheating doesn't have to be kissing or f*****g.
If you would be unwilling to tell your partner about an interaction, then it's probably time to start thinking about what you're doing.
We managed to get in touch with the Redditor who sparked this discussion, and they were kind enough to chat with us about their post and cheating in relationships in general. The user told us they posted this question as a way to cope with a breakup they’re currently trying to get over. "My girlfriend of 3 years overstepped some boundaries a couple of times which meant I had to leave her since the trust was broken," they told Bored Panda. "Also, I wanted to know what other people's boundaries in relationships are because I was uncertain if mine are actually reasonable."
The Redditor explained they did not expect their post to blow up as much as it did. In just over a week, the thread has amassed over 3k comments, proving the question deeply resonated with many members of the community. "The topic of infidelity is tied to strong emotion and a lot of people have had their own experiences that certainly came with a lot of pain," the user guessed the reason for such engagement.
I'd say, having romantic feelings for someone else and following through on those feelings with the other person.
Crushes, fantasies, and whatnot happen all the time for pretty much everyone. The difference between cheating and being human is what you do with those feelings.
It's all about intent and actions. Just having feelings is only natural.
If you would be upset if your partner did it to you, it's cheating.
I think the two basic litmus tests are
Would you tell them/do it in front of them?
Would you be okay with it if they did the same thing?
If the answer is yes to both, it’s probably fine. If it’s no to either, then at minimum you’re on dangerous ground
"I am really grateful for all the responses because I learned that there are a lot of people who think like me and share my values. It also taught me to be more open to different ideas. In the past, I was pretty suspicious of open relationships, for example. But at the end of the day, if it works for others and makes their life more bearable, who am I to judge?"
The author of this thread believes that people cheat because they are missing something in the relationship. "They might communicate poorly with their partner. Or it might even be something within themselves that their partner was never able to give them in the first place," they told us. "They lack self-awareness or lie to themselves and make one bad decision after the other leading them down the wrong path."
Honestly it's about intentions more than anything. If my SO started pursuing someone romantically that's cheating - doesn't matter if it's lovey dovey texting or f*****g. If my SO was at a party and a drunk person kissed him suddenly against his wishes, that's not cheating.
At the end of the day it comes down to them wanting to be with another person and they aren't being honest about it. The polite thing to do, even though it's painful and hard and sad, is to break up. Breaking up is never s**ttier than cheating.
Lies. It always starts with lies. Be it texts or snaps, if one of us have to lie or hide, it's wrong and should not happen.
If you wouldn't want your partner to know, it's cheating.
I wouldn't flirt with someone else in front of my partner, so I don't flirt with people when he's not around either.
To get to the bottom of this question, we reached out to Gary W. Lewandowski Jr., Ph.D., a psychology professor at Monmouth University, relationship expert, and author of Stronger Than You Think: The 10 Blind Spots That Undermine Your Relationship…and How to See Past Them. "According to research, the most common signs of cheating include growing apathy toward the relationship, spending time with a rival, and changes in routine. Importantly, though these are signs of potential cheating, seeing these doesn’t mean cheating is automatically happening," he explained.
The sneaking around.
The second you start plotting to do something behind my back. You're violating the trust of the relationship.
My ex kept telling me I'd ruin our relationship if I met his friends (both girls, both exes). He also said I wasn't entitled to meet his friends (we've been dating for 5 months and he said he wanted to live with me someday). Basically I started getting uncomfortable about his relationship to these women and he would tell me I was accusing him anytime I asked anything about them. Literally anything. I don't know if he was doing something physical or actively in a romantic relationship with them, or just felt his friendships were a bit flirty or inappropriate and didn't want me to know but... not worth putting up with it.
When any sort of romantic investment in another person starts occurring. If my partner was texting someone and saying they loved them in a romantic way that would be enough to end things. Because at that point, they have made up their mind and have stated their intentions.
Noticing new suspicious behaviors in our partners can immediately sound the alarm that things just don’t add up anymore. Sure, they may have alternate explanations, but you can’t help but listen to what your gut is telling you. Then, you need to be sure your concerns are valid before jumping to conclusions and deciding what to do next. Usually, that can be done by getting confirmation from your partner, the person they’re cheating with, or simply finding cold, hard proof.
The Redditor told us that being cheated on is one of the biggest fears most people have in a relationship. "If your partner cheats, that immediately plunges everything into uncertainty. You cannot comprehend why the person you trusted the most could do such a thing," they told us. "The future you imagined vanishes and whatever you do, you will not get satisfying answers as to why that happened. You might even question your own self-worth or become distrustful of others."
Watching an episode of a series we’re watching together on Netflix without me.
If the text messages need to be deleted, it’s cheating.
In the lying. If you want to f**k someone else, tell me. Maybe we can come to an understanding or maybe we can't, but the strongest relationships I've ever had were the ones where one of us would see a hottie (of either gender) walk by, and the other would nudge so we both could appreciate that s**t.
I once was in a relationship where we had an agreement that if my girlfriend (who was very bi) needed sex that didn't involve a penis, she had the green light to go and get it. I acknowledged that there are factors in that kind of sex I can't replicate so that was totally fair. I never suffered from it, and she seemed happier for it.
But when most of us think of our loved ones having an affair with someone else, we often envision forms of physical intimacy. However, that’s not always the case. "It’s also possible to engage in emotional infidelity where a person forms a deep emotional connection with someone other than their partner," relationship expert Lewandowski said.
"With emotional infidelity, a partner starts to spend quality time with someone, share more substantial feelings (their insecurities, dreams and aspirations), they may share secrets, or simply just seek out this other person to share things with before they even share with their partner. Though not everyone considers these behaviors by themselves cheating, they are certainly 'gateway behaviors' that make physical cheating more likely," he continued.
If there’s a grey area, it’s cheating. If you know they will be upset, it’s cheating. If you have to hide it/lie/omit details. It’s cheating.
For me, an ex of mine that would later cheat on me started a tinder profile in which she claimed she "just wanted to find friends" and she certainly found quite a few of them. Obviously, she didn't just want friends.
It could be as small as reaching out to an ex to say happy birthday, but most people have the intent to do something well before it is executed.
Well I count emotional affairs as cheating, but this can be difficult to define. Because I want my partner to be able to have good, supportive, close friendships with other people. I just don't want them to replace me, or for him to be closer to them as he is to me. And I don't want it to cross obvious boundaries (physical intimacy).
I generally walk the line of if something bothers me I talk to him about it. Afterwards if it still doesn't feel right and I'm not happy then I would need to make a decision.
"When it comes to your own behaviors (physical or emotional), you don’t get to decide whether you’re cheating or not…your partner does. So while you may think your behavior is completely innocent (e.g., flirting), if your partner isn’t comfortable with it, they could consider it cheating," he told us.
According to Lewandowski, signs of emotional infidelity include reluctance to discuss someone, emotional disengagement, being inconsiderate, and avoidance. "You may also notice more signs of dissatisfaction, guilt, anxiety, anger, and criticism from your partner."
Cheating occurs when boundaries have been broken. What those boundaries are, is going to differ between relationships.
However, cheating (or not respecting boundaries) is a symptom of a much larger, fundamental problem with the relationship. That problem is usually a breakdown of communication, but could be (but not exclusively) intimacy issues, abuse (mental, physical and/or sexual), mental health of one or more in the relationship. To put it more plainly, people in fulfilling, well functioning, stable relationships don't cheat.
When you’re hiding the nature of a “friendship” from your partner and the rest of the social circle because it’s becoming slightly more than a friendship and you aren’t shutting it down, you’re hiding an affair.
First tier would be texting another dude in a non-platonic way.
Second tier would be actually hanging out with this person behind my back and lying about where you were.
Third tier is any kind of non-platonic physical contact, holding hands to f*****g, it's all the same to me.
Edit: lots of replies about holding hands: yes is very PG rated, but you don't hold hands with someone you don't have feelings for. You don't hold hands with someone you're not emotionally invested in. You can f**k someone and not be emotionally invested in them. To me holding hands is almost worse but in a different way.
The suspicion that you’ve been cheated on is a terrible feeling that can make it feel like your whole world is quickly turning upside down. If you’re unsure how to ease your worries, Lewandowski explained that it all comes down to communication, like with all relationship problems. "In a non-accusatory way, explain to your partner how you feel. Remember, most people don’t cheat in their relationship, so odds are that your partner isn’t being unfaithful. With that in mind, you can also focus on strengthening aspects of your relationship (e.g., spend more time together doing new and exciting activities) to help you feel more confident about the state of your relationship," he concluded.
I am aware my opinion is going to be in the minority.
Pretty much physical stuff is the only thing I consider cheating. She can flirt with guys, hell even have an only fans and I wouldnt care, but if she lets someone fondle her boobs or kiss her thats crossing a line for me.
This is solely dictated by the boundaries that you and your partner set in your specific relationship. Best way to avoid this kind of trouble is to have healthy communication between each other and setting these boundaries early. If you come to a disagreement, either manage a compromise or find someone else who’s boundaries match your own.
Personally, I don't mind flirting in public with a stranger if it's fully understood that it's not going anywhere and contact information isn't exchanged. Emotional cheating is a precursor to physical cheating a represents a need for couple's therapy. My wife of 10 years physically cheated on me with someone she had known for 2 weeks. I wanted to go to therapy and fix things given we had 2 kids. She didn't. She regretted it later when things approached divorce, but it was too late. I had begun to move on and why would I want to be with someone who didn't choose me?
As cheesy as it sounds, it starts with your motive, intention, and conscience. I think there's a clear cut difference between physical cheating and mental/emotional cheating, but it all relates to your honest motive, intention, and conscience.
For exampple, there isn't anything inherently wrong with texting with another person if you are married or dating, but if you know in your heart that you are texting or engaging in conversation that makes you feel guilty or it would make your partner upset, you may be doing something wrong, even if you technically did not cheat. If at any point you are justifying your actions or defending your actions/feelings/thoughts from a technical perspective, you may be at the start of doing something wrong.
As long as you keep it in your mind, just fantazising about someone else, you're in the clear as far as I'm concerned. Sexting and surroundings, such as flirting, are considered a less serious degree of cheating and I may be willing to forgive it, depending on circumstances. From the actual kiss onwards you're in the breaking up zone in case I find out, as far as I'm concerned. For this there's no forgiveness by any means, never.
First step of cheating to me is dishonesty, lying and hiding stuff from your S/O is a red flag.
For me it was: i’m going few days vacation with my male friend. We will stay in the same hotel room but sleep in a different beds.
I told her I am not comfortable with this, but she went any way.
the second your partner gives in to the temptation of wondering if the grass is greener. as soon it’s acted on the flood gates are open. if you can’t take being approached in public by a stranger asking for your number with the intent to go out then that sums up your current relationship.
I think there's emotional and physical cheating
Emotional Openly flirting, nudes etc
Physical kissing onwards
Cheating starts at lying, even by omission. I am okay with private conversations, meeting people she wants to meet, going away on business trips or going out and coming back late at night. But lying to me about it or about what happened? Or simply not telling me something I don't want to hear ? That's cheating.
* "I will go out tonight, to see people you don't know and talk about things you don't care about": we are in the clear, it is fine.
* "I saw X and Y last night at their place": if I know for sure that it is not true, then there is some cheating involved.
It only works if you are not a creep, or even jealous. There needs to be mutual trust and respect. When trust and respect are gone, the relationship is gone too.
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