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What is Considered Cheating?


Infidelity may be one of the most painful experiences for an individual to experience. Many people have been exposed to such unpleasant events in their life. For each relationship, the definition of treating may be different. For some, only intimate physical interactions such as kissing and sex may defined as cheating. For others, emotional attachments such as feelings of love may be crossing the line.

It may be difficult to have a discussion about this problem with your partner. Chances are that one of you have either been cheated upon or had cheated on a previous partner. You mat find that your partner has a more strict or more loose definition regarding what is acceptable. This article will help you and your partner in your discussions about what is considered cheating in your relationship.

What is Considered Cheating?

Physical Infidelity

1. Intercourse

Nearly all relationships define intercourse as cheating, and it is safe to assume that your partner believes that intercourse with someone outside of your relationship is unacceptable. Intercourse opens up the potential possibility of sexual transmitted diseases, pregnancy and emotional attachments. For most relationships, intercourse is an unforgivable action and will likely result in the end of the relationship.

2. Oral Sex

Oral sex, while not technically intercourse, is defined as cheating almost nearly as often as intercourse. Like intercourse, oral sex allows for sexually transmitted diseases to enter into the relationship. It should be assumed that oral sex is an unacceptable action for a person in a monogamous relationship.

3. Manual Sex

Physically stimulating someone with your hands is normally not an appropriate action for someone to take. Either giving or receiving physical stimulation from someone else in this manner should be avoided. To be succinct, any genital stimulation in any capacity is generally considered an act of infidelity.

4. Kissing

Passionate kissing of a partner outside of the relationship is generally considered cheating. Kissing on the lips may be the most serious, but even a peck on the cheek or loving kiss on the forehead may be viewed with suspicion. A kiss on the hand, even in jest, may be viewed as unacceptable. Avoid kissing or being kissed to avoid any concerns.

5. Holding Hands

Holding hands is often a precursor to more serious breaches of trust. Some people may view holding hands as cheating, while others may find no fault in it. It is best to assume that your partner does not want you to physically touch another person in a manner that may be viewed as an emotional bond.

6. Hugging

Hugging may be viewed in a wide variety of ways. There are many kinds of hugs and they are often innocent. A goodbye hug to an old friend may be acceptable, as long as the hands remain around mid back. Avoid jumping into the arms of someone else or nuzzling their neck, as these may be signs of attraction or emotional connections. Long hugs that last for over five seconds may be viewed as unacceptable for some people.

7. Lap Sitting

Sitting on the lap of another person or allowing someone to sit on your lap is often considered cheating. Additionally, wrapping your legs around someone during a hug or placing genitalia needlessly close to the genitalia of another person is often viewed as unacceptable. Speak with your partner about any questions that may arise regarding close physical interactions.

8. Physical Interactions in General

Any physical interactions that you believe would make you uncomfortable if your partner did it with someone else should be avoided. For example, sharing an inner tube on a water slide with someone of the opposite sex may be unacceptable for some people. A guiding hand on the small of the back may be a friendly gesture or a sign of interest. When in doubt about the limitations of your relationship, simply avoid unnecessary physical contact.

Emotional Connections

1. Love

There are many kinds of love. The love between family and old friends is different than the passionate love between people who are interested in developing a relationship with each other. Butterflies-in-the-stomach love is often viewed as unacceptable. Many people view this kind of love as worse than intercourse, as this has the serious potential to end the relationship.

2. Bonding

Emotional bonding may be normal, however it should be avoided. Emotional connections may be viewed with suspicion, as they can easily turn into feelings of love. Caring for someone is acceptable, but it is best to share your emotional energy with your partner rather than someone outside of your relationship. This said, some people have no problem with their partner forming emotional bonds with other people.

3. Time

Spending extensive periods of time with another person may cause feelings to arise that could lead to the end of your relationship. While no actions or connections may be made simply by being near another person, the potential exists. For some people, especially those with a history of partners who cheated on them, spending time with other people may be viewed as unacceptable.

4. Sharing Secrets

Sharing secrets with someone outside of your relationship may be problematic for some people. Sharing secrets about your relationship with another person is often unacceptable. Keeping the secrets of other people may cause emotional attachments to be developed. If you believe that your partner would be unhappy if you shared something with someone else, then avoid doing so out of respect to your partner.

5. Events

Going out to an event with someone may be viewed with suspicion. Going out to a banquet with someone other than your partner may cause feelings of jealousy to arise. Lunch meetings with a coworker may cause emotional feelings to develop. Sharing a hotel room while traveling with an old friend may cause your partner to become concerned.

6. Talking About Your Partner

Speaking with another person about your partner, especially someone that you could potentially develop a relationship with, may be seen as a problem. Complaining about your partner to a close friend may lead to slanderous or harsh comments. Sharing sexual encounters about you and your partner may lead to feelings of embarrassment or exposure. Avoid speaking about your partner unless it is uplifting and gracious.

Personal Communication

1. Sexting

Sexting, while not physically cheating, is still often viewed as unacceptable. Sexual emails, phone calls, letters and any other media should be avoided. Sharing sexual desires is also considered cheating by many people. It is best to save your sexual energy for your partner and avoid speaking with friends about such topics.

2. Pictures

Sending pictures, especially naked pictures, is commonly unacceptable. Sharing pictures on social media is normally acceptable, however some people may be concerned about revealing or sexual photographs. Limitations on photographs vary widely from relationship to relationship, so speak with your partner if you have any concerns.

3. Constant Conversation

Frequent or extended conversations with someone who is not your partner may cause concerns for your partner. If you speak with someone every day or have hour long phone calls with an old friend every week, then your partner may be concerned. Obviously, conversations with people who your partner knows you are not attracted to are acceptable.

4. Exchanging Information

Exchanging phone numbers and email addresses with people who you are attracted to should be avoided. This may lead to the development of a relationship. Your partner should be the focus of your romantic energy. Instead of finding new people to speak with and share your life with, try to learn more about your partner.

Signs of Cheating

1. Suspicion

Partners who are cheating or thinking about cheating often begin to act strangely. This will often manifest as suspicions about your actions. They may ask whether or not you are cheating on them. They may want to look at your phone or check your social media accounts. Often times they will ask you what you are doing or who you are talking to. Agitation and mistrust may grow as they continue to act in an unacceptable way.

2. Secrecy

Cheating people may begin to hide their phone and messages. They may close their laptop or put away their phone when you show up. If their phone indicates that they received a message and don’t answer it, but constantly look toward their phone, then you may want to let them know that they can answer their phone. Secrecy may manifest as nervousness or unusual behaviors.

3. Avoidance

They may begin avoiding you or become disconnected. They may become disinterested in you, but become intensely interested in their phone. If suddenly they don’t want to spend time with you or their messages become distracted, then they may be developing a relationship with someone else. Previously attentive partners whose interest suddenly disappears may be a warning sign.

4. Rudeness

Rudeness, anger and displeasure may be a symptom of a cheating partner. They may be upset at themselves and are unable to control their emotions. Instead of stopping their actions, they may choose to force you to take the brunt of their frustrations. They may become defensive if you bring up your concerns. They may also become passive aggressive and blame you for trivial issues in their life.

5. Guilt

Guilt often appears in people who have taken an unforgivable action. They may begin to become emotionally unstable or concerned about meaningless actions. If your partner suddenly becomes unbearably apologetic, then perhaps there is something deeper. Crying at strange times or avoidance of a certain restaurant or business may be signs as well. They may stop looking into your eyes, holding your hand, or having intimate contact. Whatever the case, they will no longer act the way they once did. Their guilt is eating at them, and they can no longer be as loving as they once were around you.


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