There are so many different types of relationships these days. There are casual relationships, committed relationships, open relationships, confusing relationships…
So it comes as no surprise that the topic of what is considered cheating in a relationship often comes up. This is especially true when the relationship between two people who are seeing each other hasn’t really been defined…
Because this is such a common issue, I wanted to dedicate today’s article to it.
Cheating is an extremely complicated problem that rears its ugly head in so many relationships so I want to make sure that you’ve got all the tools you need in order to ensure that it doesn’t make an appearance in your relationship and undermine everything that you worked so hard to build.
First, we will be going over what actually counts as cheating in a relationship, but then I will be exploring the different solutions available to you. Whether cheating has already happened or not, there are tools and techniques that can help you to restore your relationship and keep it safe from having to deal with this again!
What is considered cheating in a relationship: Determining your definition
When someone comes to me asking about what constitutes cheating, the first thing I go over with them is the importance of defining infidelity within their relationship.
Many people forget that each person is going to have their own definition of cheating! Sure, Physically having sex with someone who is not your significant other is a pretty clear cut definition of cheating, but then it will also depend on whether or not your relationship is exclusive, whether or not you’ve determined that you have an open relationship, etc.
As your relationship with this person develops, I can’t stress the importance of having this discussion enough. In addition to that, you two are going to need to define cheating and make sure that you’re on the same page.
For example, I was working with a client who came to me for help because her boyfriend would flirt with other women when he was out at night with his friends.
Nothing would happen physically and he would openly tell her about it, but the fact that he was being flirtatious with someone other than her made her feel like he was straying. Her boyfriend, on the other hand, did not share the same point of view as her. He felt that it was harmless fun and that he would never actually cheat.
As you can imagine, Sabrina and Lucas got in a lot of arguments over this topic and we had to work together to improve their communication skills. Both partners need to know what their significant other expects of them, what they find appropriate and what they don’t, and as I often say, no one can read minds!
You guys have to talk about this stuff.
Fortunately, Lucas came to understand where Sabrina was coming from and was able to make an effort to avoid doing things that he knew would make her uncomfortable.
When it comes to what is considered cheating in a relationship, here are a couple of things to keep in mind when you talk to your partner:
How do you both feel about flirting with members of the opposite sex, knowing that nothing physical will happen?
Would it make you uncomfortable to know that your significant other was developing a close friendship with a member of the opposite sex at their place of work?
How would you feel about your partner having flirtatious conversations with someone on Instagram?
There is a difference between emotional affairs and physical cheating. Emotional cheating is a little more abstract obviously, and some people feel that it’s not a big deal to flirt with others whereas some people feel that it’s just as bad as being physically intimate with someone else.
That’s why you and your significant other really need to discuss what is considered to be cheating in a marriage or a relationship and make sure that you’re on the same page. In my research, I’ve come across some interesting statistics related to infidelity and what is considered cheating in a relationship:
Percentage of marriages where one or both spouses admit to infidelity, either physical or emotional: 41%
Percentage of men who admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had: 57%
Percentage of women who admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had: 54%
The average length of an affair: 2 years
Percentage of men who say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught: 74%
Percentage of women who say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught: 68%
So you can see how important it is to really have a clear picture of what you two expect from one another and what your relationship is going to need in order to stand strong in the face of any challenges or temptations.
Then, of course, we have the physical infidelity definition which is a bit more straightforward. Most people consider this to be anything involving physical intimacy with someone who is not their partner.
It can have more devastating consequences, greater pain, and more distrust. But again, for some people, a drunken kiss with a stranger on the dance floor doesn’t mean anything, but it might not be the same for their partner!
If you’re having trouble defining infidelity with your partner, I highly encourage you to reach out to me or a member of my team by clicking here.
I realize that it’s not always easy to communicate about these things because they can feel like a touchy subject, or you just don’t know how to approach the situation, but we are here to help.
As a team of dedicated love and relationship coaches, our goal is to help couples navigate through challenging situations so that their relationships can reach their full potential.
Cheating: What do you do if it’s already happened in your relationship?
This is tough. If your relationship has already been subjected to cheating, it comes as no surprise that you would be in a difficult spot right now. Bouncing back from being cheated on or from cheating on someone is a challenge and can place a huge weight on your relationship.
I do want to say however that it’s far from impossible! I work with people every single day who come to me for help in repairing their relationship after cheating and I am happy to say that as long as the desire to fix it is there, anything is possible in love!
Take Antoine for example. He found out that the woman he had been with for four years was having a full-blown affair with one of her friends that she had known for a long time.
He only found out because she had left her iMessages open on the computer when he went to check on the status of something they had ordered online. And there it was: Messages dating back to almost six months that made it blatantly clear that she had been cheating on him.
When he first approached her she tried to deny it, but as the conversation continued, she confessed that it was true.
Antoine was very conflicted about the situation at first and felt that he was going to leave the relationship, but after he thought about it for a few weeks, he realized that he believed in their relationship and was willing to forgive her. She was so sorry and had expressed that she was willing to do whatever it took to save their relationship.
With some time and reflection, Antoine had to admit that their relationship had been suffering and that he hadn’t been making an effort to be open to listening to her needs.
The fact that she strayed outside of the relationship to fulfill her physical and emotional needs was a direct result of the problems that existed in their relationship. There was a lack of communication, things didn’t feel fresh or exciting, and in fact, the entire thing had started to feel lackluster, monotonous, and predictable.
We worked together on revamping their relationship so that both of them would feel cherished and excited to be together, outlining what was causing their bond to dissolve, and we found a solution to every problem that they are facing as a couple. Today I am happy to say that they are now engaged and are happier than ever!
Surviving cheating in a relationship
The key to success is communicating about what you both consider to be cheating in your relationship so that you can make sure that you can act accordingly. Have conversations about what you find to be acceptable, what you expect from your partner, and how you two can create an environment in which you both feel comfortable and happy.
If cheating does rear its ugly head in your relationship, you’ll both need to make the active choice to forgive and move forward.
If you want your relationship to survive, you have to choose your relationship and your partner every single day and work as a team to find solutions, pinpoint why this happens and what needs to happen in the future in order to protect your relationship from having to deal with this again, and how you can lay out a better foundation.
Like I said above, we are here to help you every step of the way so please don’t hesitate to reach out.
For more in-depth information on how to survive infidelity, I encourage you to read this article.
I sincerely wish you all the best in life and love,
Your coach when you want to know what is considered cheating in a relationship