What is Cheating in a Relationship? The Truth Most People Ignore

Why do people start cheating in a relationship? Is cheating or having the thought of cheating inevitable? Find out the real truth about cheating and love.

cheating in a relationship

Can you really define cheating in a relationship? As complex as the feeling of love may be, affairs and cheating in a relationship are just as complicated. But who defines cheating, and what constitutes cheating in a relationship?

Cheating in a relationship is funny business. Painful, most definitely, but it’s extremely hilarious to watch from a third person’s view. Have you seen how relationships change with time?

Have you noticed how we twist our own promises to our lovers to suit our needs as time passes by?

You kissed someone else because you assumed your partner was cheating? Or did you sleep with another person because your partner just wasn’t showing you any affection?

Is that cheating, or is that just you changing with the circumstances?

[Read: What is considered cheating these days? Defining the grey area of real cheating]

Cheating in a relationship

More often than not, things can sometimes be lost in translation when it comes to your relationship with a loved one. Without clear boundaries set, it’s even more likely that relationships won’t last past the initial honeymoon period.

It seems nowadays you can’t even fart or sneeze without your loved one having opinions about it. Why is this happening?

We don’t know why it’s happening, but as couples become more and more immersed into each other’s daily lives, problems seem to be occurring in a frenzy!

Just think about it for a moment. Have you been in a situation where the doubt of infidelity has been so small and so insignificant, but in the end, you ended up having a row with your partner and probably took a few days to resolve it while the dust settled?

[Read: How to deal with jealousy in a relationship and learn to overcome it]

Cheating and our own views

Cheating in a relationship can be a confusing affair. Recently, a friend of mine came to me with a dilemma. His girlfriend had left him because he often sent text messages to a female colleague from his workplace. [Read: The unwritten work spouse rules to keep things fun and uncomplicated]

This girl from work would call him occasionally to talk, to gossip, etc. His girlfriend came to him concerned, and even after he had comforted her over a few glasses of Portuguese Rose, she came right back at him with the sucker punch, “but you always see her at work, why do you need to talk to her even when you’re home?”

His response was somber, and there wasn’t much he could have said back, other than “she’s a friend who likes to talk, what’s wrong with that?” Of course, some level of flirtation probably took place, but let’s be big boys and girls here, who doesn’t accidentally flirt with someone attractive that you interact with, every day? *in all probability, you spend more time with your colleagues at work than you do with your partner* [Read: The biggest signs of an emotional affair you probably never noticed in your own life]

Infidelity creates its own circumstances

As a few months went by, a one-off, random office drinks party ended with my friend and his workmate sharing a kiss. Of course, my tone changed. But in the end, I felt this couple had a lot more going for them then, to allow a stupid kiss to get in the way.

Three years together, and a stupid kiss could ruin all of that? Who hasn’t done something stupid which they come to regret, or rather forget? But this is it. When he felt guilty about it and told his girlfriend about the kiss, she was obviously pissed off! But she went one step further. She told him she always knew there was something going on between them.

Fair enough, I thought. She was well entitled to believe that something could come from this because they had locked lips.

But it was her failure to reflect on their own relationship to understand that such a scenario was always a miniscule event in a wider picture. She assumed that that one kiss had started an entire illicit relationship between her man and the woman from work. And she just wasn’t ready to accept that perhaps, just maybe, it was an unfortunate event that happened by accident. It could happen to any of us.

[Read: Drunk kiss dilemma – So you accidentally kissed someone when you’re drunk. Now what?!]

Becoming the unfaithful one

Anyone can fall prey to such accidents, given the circumstances and chances of timing. No one’s a saint and no one’s a sinner if you really weigh the circumstances.

But as the American actor Henry Winkler once said, “assumptions are the termites of relationships.” They eat at you and your partner, and in the end, just like a termite loves to grind down on wood, the termite assumption eats at the tree you and your partner have grown together.

When is it cheating?

In today’s world, it seems that everything shared between a partner and a friend of the opposite gender is cheating. Absurd, right? Wrong.

You will be surprised at the amount of instances where relationships have ended over the most minuscule of things. With respect to sexual infidelity, cheating is only cheating if, ladies, you happen to walk into your room to find some butt naked chicka playing with your fella’s nuts *and I’m not talking about food here*.

Alternatively, cheating is only cheating if men, you happen to find your lady with her panties in a twist with another man. Well, unless you’re talking about emotional affairs.

Anything is remotely possible today. Think back about my friend, his example is exactly what is killing the average American relationship of a twenty or thirty something year old. We, as humans, are drawn in by our assumptions of situations without allowing ourselves to reflect on the positives. Sounds familiar?

But I hear you saying out loud ‘what could be positive from my partner kissing someone else?’

Well firstly, it’s not as if they slept with them. They didn’t share a night of passion that they would normally have shared with you. Secondly, if you know about it, either they have told you themselves or you’ve found out yourself, but that doesn’t mean they are going to do it again.

If they do, then, of course it’s cheating in a relationship. But what if it happened in the heat of the moment, a one-time thing? It really could happen to any of us!

Okay, I realize you’re probably shaking your head and going, what is this guy talking about! But bear with me, when you’re wondering, what is cheating in a relationship, you really do need to give it a real thought.

Defining cheating in love

The definition of cheating in a relationship is changing with the times. Most relationships end when either one of the individuals involved does the unthinkable. They cheat. [Read: Having an affair with a married man]

In the U.S. alone, one in three marriages now ends in divorce, and a lot is put down to infidelity issues. In a recent national survey, twenty two percent of married men have strayed at least once during their married lives, while fourteen percent of married women have had affairs at least once during their married lives. And that’s the number of people that confessed to their deed! Can you even begin to think of the number of secret affairs going on right this minute?

During the 1950’s and 1960’s, cheating was seen as a pass-time. Both genders could openly do more things and people, but today is different.

With the techno-advanced twenty first century, all forms of communication are a blessing to us. We text, email, connect on social media, and interact much more. Socially, we are freer in more ways than ever before, but in trying to be a free spirit like a character out of a Paulo Coelho book, we cause ourselves harm too. The more we interact, the more problems we get into, and more temptations we come across.

So what is cheating?

When one talks about cheating in a relationship, some may think of a lover banging someone else. But as I said, times have changed. Flirting, kissing, cyber-sex, text-sex, email-sex, facebook-sex, even looking at the opposite sex is considering cheating! Forgive me, maybe I just won’t look at beauty the next time it passes me by.

Seriously though, because people have different opinions about what’s considered cheating, it’s up to you and your partner to decide what the “ground rules” are for the relationship.

What constitutes an act of infidelity varies between and within cultures and depends also on the type of relationship that exists between people. Even within an open relationship, infidelity may arise if a partner in the relationship acts outside of the understood boundaries of the relationship.

Many people agree that there are six basic qualities to healthy, loving relationships. Respect, trust, honesty, fairness, equality, and good communication. Everyone is different when it comes to dating rules, so people should sit down with their partners and agree on what counts as cheating in their relationships.

Discussing these details, however uncomfortable they may seem, is actually the best way to create boundaries in love and avoid cheating in a relationship.

Relationships and cheating are two complex terms that inevitably unite at some point in our lives. The temptation of cheating enters every single relationship, in the form of an invitation or a doubt, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. So what is cheating then, really?

Have you ever understood the bond that relationships and cheating hold with each other? The more we’re aware, the more we tend to cheat. So what is cheating then?

Is it wrong to flirt with someone else when you’re in a relationship? Of course, everyone *knows* flirting with someone else is cheating.

Acknowledging this as the truth only makes you a liar and a cheat, because all of us flirt, whether in front of our partner or behind their back.

The French author Leon Paul Blouet once wrote that flirtation was ‘attention without intention’.

Whether you agree or not, we are all flirts in our own way. The only difference is that men do it obviously, and women are more subtle.

You’re only cheating if you actually follow up on your sexual innuendos.

Flirting can destroy trust, but whether you agree or not, everyone is a flirt.

Flirting, relationships and cheating

Flirtation is used today in most scenarios, to persuade a cab driver to take you somewhere out of their reach, to win over business deals, to persuade someone to employ you, to get a nickel off your overcharged fare, and what not!

The problem with flirting is that an individual does not always know when they are doing it. You could be talking to someone for one minute. And the next thing you know, you’re touching each other like a petting zoo. [Read: How to flirt by touching]

But let’s be realistic here. If there is a slight intention in the flirtation, then that is a different story, and anything but acting on it with the intention of having sex should not be taken seriously.

Flirting is fun, and an essential and universal part of human interaction. Everyone indulges in it, whether it’s in front of a partner or behind their back.

Our achievements in everything we do are merely side-effects of the essential ability to charm and impress others with our own abilities. An exchange of admiring glances or a bit of light-hearted flirtatious banter can brighten the day, raise self esteem, and strengthen social bonds. So before you throw a tantrum and ask your partner to stop flirting with others, ask yourself about your own flirting abilities and look beyond this age-old dilemma of cheating.

Flirting and text messages

Relationships and cheating have come really close ever since text messages came into our lives. Normally, this starts as cheap fun in an office atmosphere, but again, if it’s not acted upon, why are we getting ourselves worked up over words?

Haven’t you ever texted a friend back and forth and found yourself flirting? Have you ever commented on a friend’s social media post, or sent a DM, which then turned into flirting, all without intention? But you know you weren’t cheating on your lover, right? So what is cheating then? Is it cheating if your partner does the same thing?

Everybody knows that a text is just a text, and nothing else. When you start reading between the lines, you’d not only confuse yourself more, but you’re probably damaging a relationship over nothing.

This is where trust comes into play. If you’ve found your partner texting fascinating messages to someone else, then don’t assume it’s cheating. In fact, you should ask what it is they were doing and clear it up. The worst case scenario could be assuming something without knowing all the information. What could be assumed as cheating could easily be harmless fun, though it’s difficult to see your partner flirting as an amusement.

The course of true love never did run smooth. And remember, actions speak louder than texted words. If it bothers you, and you think that’s cheating, talk to your partner about it.

Cheating with a glass of wine

A drunk encounter at a party with an ex-lover or a colleague at work can at times end up with both of you kissing each other. Or worse, the moment may just feel right and even before you know it, you may find yourself in someone else’s bed.

So did you just cheat on your partner? Quite frankly, you just did. But then again, as painful as it can feel, it was an accident. So again, what is cheating?

Is kissing someone else cheating?

The ultimate betrayal (apart from sleeping with someone else) is cheating via ‘the kiss.’ Yes, you’re not kissing the person you should be kissing, but you’re not exactly shagging them either.

What would be worse, you finding out that your partner kissed someone else, or you finding your partner sleeping with someone else?

It may be a mistake that you come to regret, but of those of us who are victims of this scenario, don’t let a kiss kill your relationship. You may feel insecure at first because you feel as though this should never have happened, but in reality, shit happens, heck, so do a lot of other things. You feel disgusted, victimized, unworthy and unloved, but don’t let yourself feel as though you’ve just experienced a scenario out of Carrie’s pages!

Life doesn’t imitate sitcoms, so don’t let yourself be fooled. Of course, the feeling of guilty conscience comes into play and may cause a situation whereby the victim finds it hard to regain the trust.

In life, we face many drawbacks, and in relationships we face them more because of the level of emotions involved. I’m not condoning everything, but neither do I condemn it. But, to endure yourself in misery, it depends on how you can get over it.

Getting over an unfaithful incident

What’s happened cannot be undone. Instead, you could take your own fate and decide to commit the exact same act upon your partner. But why? To feel that justice will be served? Hardly. If anything, trying to regain any kind of justice in a relationship isn’t possible. That doesn’t exist.

Justice is not served from relationships, love is, and to truly love is a test of one’s ability to move on. Just remember as Gandhi once said, ‘an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind’. [Read: Getting back with an ex for sex]

If you don’t want to feel miserable endlessly, you will have to try and forgive, forget or move out of it. There are far worse things in life that can happen to you, ones that are more worthy of your sorrow. The life and love we create is the life and love we live. If you face the situations that cheating seems to be defined as, it’s the belief in yourself and the way you think that will get you over this situation.

Ask yourself what is cheating, and define your boundary of faithfulness.

Too many relationships fail because the boundaries are not set at the beginning. But even if they are set, we get drawn into what is considered cheating by those that define it around us. We set boundaries based on what we see in the movies or in our friends’ lives. It is only up to you to know what is worth the value and what isn’t.

Perhaps, I’m an optimist, or even an idealist. But we only live once in this lifetime and to let your eyes believe you’re being cheated makes you blinder to the bigger picture.

In life, we all make mistakes and we all learn from them. But in love, when we make mistakes we don’t allow ourselves to learn because we are restricted by whatever boundaries are conceived upon us.

Today, the temptation to cheat and even the opportunities to cheat have increased ten fold. Opposite sexes spend days and nights together over work or while socializing, and it takes a small oversight to make a huge mistake. We don’t live in a fairy tale romance where there’s just one good damsel and one prince charming. We’re surrounded by lovely fairy tale people all the time.

So here we go again, what is cheating, really? [Read: Dating facts]

Define your own boundaries in a relationship, and you’ll be a lot happier in love. Cheating and relationships go hand in hand, but that’s only if you define it by the rules of old romantic novels. So what is cheating again? Make your own rules and let us know what they are!

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...