What constitutes cheating?

Discussion in 'Community' started by QCassidy352, Jun 2, 2005.

  1. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    #1
    Hopefully this is an appropriate forum for this topic...

    This is an issue of great importance to me right now. I am interested to know what you all think consitutes "cheating" in an exclusive romantic relationship.

    Does there have to be physical contact for it to be cheating? Would you consider it cheating if your significant other talked to a MOS (or same sex, if homosexual) for hours at a time on the phone, sharing personal thoughts, feelings, etc? How about spending time with a MOS in secret, but not doing anything except friendly, platonic things?

    If it's physical contact, does it have to be explicit sexual acts? How about a french kiss? How about flirtatious touching (on arms, back, etc)?

    I guess for me, it comes down less to specific acts than to this:
    If you could do it and tell your significant other about it, without either you feeling guilty or him/her getting angry, then it's not cheating. If either a) you feel guilty doing it, or b) you partner would be hurt if he/she found out, then it's borderline. If you feel guilty and they would be hurt, then it's definitely cheating.

    Please let me know what you think.
     
  2. CubaTBird macrumors 68020

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    #2
    hrm... if i had a gf.. and suspected her of cheating.. i would consider it her going more than the "just friends thing" with that other guy... like if she starts seeing him more than i... its kinda of a intuition sort of thing.
     
  3. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #3
    I'd agree with your definition there. It's about the limits and understandings in one's particular relationship. And about honesty. It's not a technical definition of levels of contact.

    For instance. I'm allowed to sleep with a 19-year old because it's the only age for a woman (17 and above) that I've not had sex with or won't as my wife ages. OK. That's a joke.
     
  4. QCassidy352 thread starter macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    #4
    I'd agree with that. I'm not a happy person right now. :(
     
  5. The Past macrumors 6502

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    #5
    LOL! Good one!
     
  6. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

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    #6
    The problem with the feeling guilty/being hurt definition is that many people don't feel guilty about anything - or are guilt-ridden about everything. Likewise, some people seem unflappable, others are put out over the tiniest thing.

    For me, cheating is doing anything romantic - be it physical or not. There are absolutely various degrees of cheating. The cheating that I think matters the most is that which involves emotional intimacy. Physical cheating is important because it is hurtful - if discovered - and potentially a health threat to the "innocent" party, but emotional wandering is a much more dangerous long-term threat to a relationship.

    If you were to sleep with some random stranger on a business trip, that's certainly cheating. But it's much less of a threat to your relationship than falling in love with another person.

    BTW, my personal opinion is that you shouldn't cheat - it's too much of a pain in the ass sooner or later - but, if something happens, do not tell your partner. It might ease your conscience, but it'll just hurt them.
     
  7. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #7
    Simplistically, my opinion of cheating is when you do something with another person that aggravates your significant other or would aggravate them if they found out.
     
  8. QCassidy352 thread starter macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    #8
    Well, that's why I think it depends on both the guilt of the first person and the reaction of the significant other. If your S.O. is sufficiently hurt, then I don't really think it matters if you felt guilty while doing it.

    Also, maybe "guilt" is the wrong word. Even if they have no real conscience, they know that it's something that they "shouldn't" have done, at least by societies standards - say, having sex with a stranger. Contrast that to, say, flirting with a stranger where the flirter doesn't see it as a big deal, but the partner does.

    I disagree that you shouldn't tell your partner if it happens. If you love your partner, you will want them to be able to decide what is best for them - based on ALL the information, not just that which you choose to tell them. I don't see someone choosing to stay with you based on a lie as a good foundation for a continued relationship.

    The only issue there is, what if they have totally unrealistic expectations? Such as, what if a significant other considered it "cheating" for you to even have platonic friends of the opposite sex? By only defining cheating by your partner's response, you run into what jsw mentioned - that some people are upset by the smallest thing, however unreasonable that might be.
     
  9. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #9

    Yeah that's a good point. But then, if you think the significant other is unreasonable, should you really be together in the first place? Of course, this is a very simplistic view. :(

    Plus, I think you spelt my name wrong. ;)
     
  10. feakbeak macrumors 6502a

    feakbeak

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    #10
    Well after recently being on the receiving end of some Jerry Springer level ****, I agree with jsw the emotional intimacy with cheating is much worse than anything physical. Most any adult knows what is appropriate for a committed relationship. Whether they follow that or feel guilty is another thing, but people know. If someone is naturally a little flirty but still committed you'll be able to tell that, even though it might bug you.

    As for whether you should tell someone or not I would give this advice. If you've cheated and it was just some stupid, drunken one-night stand I wouldn't tell your significant other at first. Maybe give it several months or a year and if your relationship is still going strong and you want to continue it I would then come out and tell that person what happened, how awful you feel and how nothing has happened again but that you wanted to be honest. Yes it will hurt, but I think they have a right to know if you plan on committing to them for the long haul. If things don't work out, never tell them because it would be unnecessary pain for the other person.

    If you cheated in an emotional and/or physical way you probably shouldn't be with your significant other and should move on and probably not tell the other person because your relationship is over, why hurt the person on the way out.

    Regardless if you tell them or not, the truth has a way of coming to light whether you like it or not.
     
  11. anubis macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    My view is not traditional and there will probably be a lot of people on here who disagree with me. Let me start out by saying that I'm in a good relationship of nearly 3 years.

    I personally believe cheating occurs with the mind, not with the body. That is, I believe in emotional cheating, not physical or sexual cheating.

    I think the foundation of a relationship is the emotional intimacy you share at a level with one person that is deeper than with any other person. Personally, I find the accepted social rule that a relationship occurs when there's physical contact/sex/etc, and cheating on someone means you're physical/sexual with another person to be extremely archaic. Basing "relationship" status on whether or not you're physical/sexual is, in my view, extremely shallow.

    That is, you see Jane and John walking down the street holding hands. Since they're holding hands, does that mean they're "in a relationship" or "together"? To me, no. Being "together", "in a relationship" means that you share your inner-most thoughts, feelings, essentially your 'true' self to one other person with whom you have a deep, unspoken trust and desire to connect on levels that are much deeper than just sex.

    It's for these reasons that I would not personally consider being sexual with someone other than your boyfriend/girlfriend to be strictly cheating. E.g., if my girlfriend went out and got drunk at a party and had casual sex with some guy, I'd be concerned, but it certainly would not result in the end of our relationship. If I found out she was seeing a guy behind my back with whom she was becoming emotionally intimate (as I described above), I would consider that a serious breech of our relationship and would consider it true "cheating". Sex is controlled by the "lower" portion of our brains. Our ability to form complex, emotional, intimate relationships is what seperates us from animals. As another broad example, if my girlfriend came up to me and told me she had a desire to have sex with someone other than me, and we talked about it before hand and set up ground rules (i.e. no emotional cheating), I would probably be OK with it.

    Now, with all of that being said, men and women think of sex a lot differently. The hypothetical situation I just explained would be highly unlikely, as women have what seems to be a biological disposition to view sex as more emotionally satisfying than physically. So it would probably be pretty difficult/unlikely for a her to explore a sexual relationship without it turning into an emotional relationship as well.

    Now, with all of THAT being said, my girlfriend would probably disagree with me. We have what American society dictates what a "normal relationship" should be, i.e. exclusive emotional AND sexual relationships. She definitely would not be OK with me having casual sex with some chick, and I can live with that.

    In conclusion, if I were a guy in a healthy, deeply emotionally intimate relationship with a girl, and I found out she got drunk at a party and had sex with some guy, I would not consider that a capital crime. If I found out she was constantly hanging out with some other guy, with whom she shared more feelings, thoughts, emotions, etc. than me, then we would no longer have a true relationship. If we were having sex, then our "relationship" would be viewed as nothing more than a "sexual partnership".

    I know my ideas will probably illicit a few gasps, but that's just the way I see it. My thoughts are progressive. Queen Victoria died a long time ago.


    P.S. Of course of we were talking about marriage, that's a whole different ballgame. I'm just talking about dating/premarriage relationships.
     
  12. feakbeak macrumors 6502a

    feakbeak

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    #12
    Anubis, I'm not gasping at your beliefs. Your logic makes sense to me and I agree with that part of it, in theory. The problem happens in practice. Although I agree with you that it is the emotional aspects of a relationship that really make it a "relationship", I think most people link the physical aspects of their relationships to the sharing of of their thoughts and emotions. It's a physical act that symbolizes what you share in other aspects of your life and like the emotional aspects, I think most want that to be exclusive as well. I think women link the physical to emotional more than men, as you've said, but all humans do it to some extent whether we are conscious of it or not. I'm more like a woman in that regard, I can't be phsyical without my feelings getting all worked up and that's fine by me. However, I don't look down upon or think ill of those who can separate the two and just have casual sex for enjoyment, provided they are responsible about it.

    I could be wrong, but I think if you and your girlfriend agreed to allow her to have sex with another guy you would end up feeling quite jealous because in our brains somewhere we connect the physical acts with emotional intimacy and that connection is very strong. You might be able to rationalize it now, but when it happened I think you'd be very uncomfortable and feel as if your relationship was devalued. After all, three years is a long time. I understand that everyone is attracted to other people but to act on it can cause real problems with your emotional relationship, which we both agree is the foundation of everything. I'm not saying the arrangement you stated is not possible, but I think VERY few could execute that without serious emotional reprecussions. It's playing with fire and if you have a good relationship why would you want to risk a great emotional connection with someone over lustful desires?

    Note that I realize you were not serious about actually doing something like that with your relationship, I'm just speaking hypothetically as well. Although, I do know what it is like to have your significant other cheat on you physically and emotionally. The emotional is much worse, but the phsyical automatically causes emotional trauma as well, it does not occur in isolation.
     
  13. Tamer Brad macrumors regular

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    May 13, 2005
    #13
    It's cheating if it's outside of the boundaries of your relationship.

    If your girlfriend was to say it was okay to sleep with other women, it would not be cheating to do so.
     
  14. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

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    #14
    That's right – it depends on the relationship you have. For example, some people have open relationships where they see other people and both parties are entirely happy with this situation. On the other hand, some people would consider the behaviour QCassidy352 describes in the opening post – such as spending time in secret with a member of the opposite sex, even if it were entirely platonic – as being unfaithful.

    I'm with mad jew on this one. If it's illicit behaviour that would cause your partner hurt and distress if they were to discover it, it's cheating.
     
  15. QCassidy352 thread starter macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    #15
    I agree with that. It's easy to say that you would be ok with your partner having sex with someone else, but consciously or not, sex is connected to at least some degree of emotion for most people.

    In the cynical mood I'm in now, I'm tempted to say that people, like the majority of animals on earth, are not really meant to have lifelong, monogamous relationships, and that when we try, we set ourselves up for failure. But that's probably just the pain talking...
     
  16. feakbeak macrumors 6502a

    feakbeak

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    #16
    Yeah, probably the pain. Don't give up hope on everything and everyone yet. Well, I guess you can, but realize you won't always feel that way. Did you get my PM?
     
  17. crachoar macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    I didn't bother reading anybody else's posts, but I doubt anybody said this:

    If you're emotionally hurt, I'd consider it cheating (or maybe, a misunderstanding on your part). If it's just a single guy that she spends a ton of time with, maybe it's a relative you never knew about, like a cousin? Maybe it's a friend from college? An ex-boyfriend? Her gay 'shopping buddy' (man, if I had a nickel for every 'gay shopping buddy' I had) Who knows.

    Talk to your girlfriend first. Tell her straight up that you're jealous, angry, or whatever. However you handle things or react after that is entirely up to you...

    Just remember - if she is cheating - being a dick just gives her more of a reason to leave you. But if you're not in love with her after that, I guess that's not an issue...

    You know, in Japan, it's acceptable to have sex with another partner, as long as you don't love them or care for them. It's just a transaction.

    Ah well, the world is nuts. Good luck.
     
  18. redeye be macrumors 65816

    redeye be

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    #18
    That is just great!

    ...

    Next time maybe try to read them through, even if it's at a glance.
     
  19. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #19
    Would you be more upset if your S.O. slept with another person, or if they fell in love with another person but never consummated it physically?

    There have been psychological studies indicating that most men are more upset when women "cheat" by having sex with another man. Most women are more upset when men "cheat" by falling in love with another woman.
     
  20. crachoar macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    No thanks. My night sucked, wasn't in the mood for reading the same cookie-cutter reponses over and over. I'll take your suggestion into consideration, if I feel like it, next time. :D
     
  21. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #21

    Sorry to hear that but it really doesn't help anyone if you just come into a thread and add some thoughts without having a little look to see what direction the thread has taken.

    I hope tomorrow's a better day. :)
     
  22. groovebuster macrumors 65816

    groovebuster

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    #22
    For me it is as simple as that:

    1. Cheating starts in the mind, not with actions.

    2. Cheating is defined by your partner, not by yourself. Ideally both partners agree on what cheating means to them. That is something that should be well discussed before getting too close with somebody. The bigger the disagreement on that subject, the more somebody will definitely get hurt in the future and it should be considered to end the relationship, since it doesn't have any future anyway...

    groovebuster
     
  23. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #23
    My wife has a friend whom she shares all sorts of things of tis ilk with.. thanksfully her friend lives very far away, but the 2 of them are on the phone constantly for very long periods of time clucking away like 2 hens. When they hang up, the tell each other "I love you". Now, sometimes it ticks me off.. but most of the time I ignore it. But if your GF is sharing these things with her friend, perhaps it's more like a sybling thing. In which case, you shouldn't be ticked. However, if your GF is more willing to share this info with her friend and not you.. well, then you've got a problem that needs to be solved.
     
  24. ziwi macrumors 65816

    ziwi

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    #24
    I like groove buster's number 1 and agree.

    I think it can be defined by doing some simple self test - an example the Golden Rule - Do unto others as you would have them do unto you type thing.

    If you find yorself questining behavior then perhaps you should not be doing it ;)

    Project from one partner to the other - if you are doing something is it OK for the other to do the same thing and you would not have any issue? If so then it is probably fine. Conversely, if they are doing some thing and you wouldn't because you feel it is wrong then it is wrong.

    The problem is that each person has their own idea of right and wrong so the projection method would be an issue due to no difinitive right or wrong. Going back to the groove buster - if you have the thought of something 'more' ever occuring in your mind then the path is set. I like to think of it as the 'when Harry met Sally rule' - a man and a woman can not be friends without the thought or potential of something more happening - and I think that is true - at least from a guy's perspective.

    Also it would seem that if your relationship is the most important then you would come first and have more interest and have more time expended upon versus the other.
     
  25. efoto macrumors 68030

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    #25
    Cheating is definitely user defined on a per-relationship status. You really need to sit down and discuss what would potentially hurt you both and figure out some base level guidelines that you are both comfortable keeping.

    That said, it is very hard to hold some lines in practice. I am a very jealous person in most aspects of life, especially when it comes to relationships. When I started dating my last girlfriend things progressed very quickly and she initiated ‘the talk’ about what made her uncomfortable for me to do. I countered with a few things she did that irked me wrong, and we agreed, no problems. A while later, I was out to dinner with my best friend (a very attractive, tall, slim, volleyball player) who my gf was very jealous of, having never even met her! We had said it was fine to go out with our friends (of other sex) as long as things didn’t progress, which I was not worried about.

    Out to dinner with my friend, and then afterwards she asks if we can go downtown and if I would take some photos of her again (as I have in the past) because she likes to have nice pictures for her family and friends (apparently she likes my photos :D ), so we go downtown and long story short, a friend of my gf sees us, freaks out, calls her, etc etc. I get home later in the evening (as planned) and my gf just flips and starts crying saying she knew I was downtown taking photos of my friend, etc. I was like, I know, that is what we do sometimes, it doesn’t ‘mean’ anything to me, its for her.

    Point being, some things are just downright hard to take. Apparently she felt there was some romantic attachment to me taking photos of my friend (since photography is a big hobby of mine). She saw a major connection between my friend and my hobby, and her mind ran with it. She was wrong, and I made her see that, but the initial discussion was crazy!

    I guess my point is that no matter what you define, the major point is that you both TRUST one another, because situation will always LOOK bad, but seldom are that way. If you cannot trust her, there is no point in being with her, it only causes you pain.
     

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