What Counts as Cheating
A few of my readers shared with me their very personal feelings and thoughts on my latest blog “Virtual Affairs – Are Considered Cheating?” So I decided I would do a follow up and share my personal opinion on the topic even further and expand on this hot topic.
Unfortunately, the internet has created a whole new way for people to cheat. Instant messaging, chat rooms, and websites devoted to making connections, have made it easy for people to get romantically involved with someone else without their lover or partner knowing.
In fact, there are many websites specifically dedicated to helping husbands and wives cheat on each other. Not only is it easy to find romantic interests online, but a lot of people do not consider online affairs to be cheating.
In a very broad sense, cheating involves betraying a partner’s expectations about the type of contact the cheater has with others.
When a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, violates one’s expectations about what is appropriate, people feel betrayed. Keep in mind that relationships are not based on logic, but are influenced by our emotions.
As a result, cheating is difficult to define because people differ in the type of contact they feel it is appropriate for a partner to have with someone else.
For example, some of my interviewee’s believe that it is unacceptable for a partner to:
Flirt with others
Engage in sexual talk with someone else
Exchange personal e-mails or text messages
Deny being married or in a relationship
Spend time with specific individuals
Engage in specific types of contact—sleeping in the same bed with another person
Purchase intimate gifts and presents for others
Chat online with someone else
Have sexual contact with someone else (physical infidelity)
Become emotionally involved with someone else (emotional infidelity)
Develop a crush or feelings for another individual
Share their most private thoughts and feelings with someone else
Become best friends with someone of the opposite sex
And the list could go on and on….
Again, the main point is that individuals differ in what they consider to be an acceptable form of contact with other people.
At one extreme, some couples think it is acceptable to have sex and fall in love with someone else, some people view flirting with another person as being inappropriate.
Cheating is complex because the definition varies so widely. However, when someone violates a partner’s expectations, the emotional outcome is the same—their partner feels betrayed and rejected.
Cheating is also problematic because couples rarely discuss exactly what their expectations are.
In any given relationship, what one person considers to be acceptable may differ from what a partner thinks is appropriate. Many problems arise in relationships because people do not see eye-to-eye on this issue.
And to make matters worse, many people do not like to define what counts as cheating. Many people prefer not to define what counts as cheating because by keeping the rules vague and ambiguous, it makes it easier to cheat. If you don’t know what the rules are, you really can’t break them—or some people like to think.
It’s a lot easier to deceive both oneself and a partner about cheating when the rules are not clear.
After all, how can it really be cheating if two people never meet face-to-face?
But, thinking that way actually makes the problem worse because it lowers the threshold – there is less guilt involved. And with a lower threshold of guilt, people feel more comfortable doing it.
Not only is there less guilt involved, but online affairs are also easier to hide – people don’t have to worry about a lot of issues that come along with having a more traditional affair, as such:
being seen in together in public
contracting sexually transmitted diseases
finding a time and place to cheat
hiding phone calls and so on.
Unfortunately, while it is easier to start an online affair, they can be just as problematic as a traditional affair
Online affairs always involve some form of emotional attachment. And being emotionally attached to someone online causes individuals to devalue their current romantic partners. People are more likely to notice their partner’s flaws and shortcomings when they have an online romance.
And as people become more emotionally involved online, they have less give to a romantic partner. So, online affairs, own their own, can create a lot of turmoil and distance within a romantic relationship.
Not to mention the fact that online affairs are often the first stepping stone to having a more traditional affair.
So, contrary to what some people think, online affairs are not harmless at all. They can cause a lot of heartache and pain, online affairs can also be dangerous because leave people vulnerable to be taken advantage of. While online affairs tend to be easier to start than a traditional affair, online affairs always leave an electronic trail making them easier to detect.
If you don’t desire the drama that goes with cheating of any kind, you have ultimate choice…you can either do what is best for you and your body and tell no one OR you can be open with your lover/partner and talk to them and share that you are feeling the desire to go outside the parameters of your originally agreed relationship boundaries to explore alternative sources of pleasure.
What is important to remember, are you choosing what is light and right for you and your body or are you cutting off your needs to keep the “peace” in your relationship?
Always choose YOU! Live with passion and joy, Zee