What do you consider to be cheating in a relationship?

I am asking this out of curiosity: what does 'cheating' mean to you? I've heard it differs between men and women, and I am wondering if that's true. If generally speaking it is, then it might explain a lot of underlying miscommunications in arguments between couples.

Where do YOU draw the line between "that's fine", "that's insulting (but not technically cheating)", and "that's cheating"?

Note: in the following questions, please consider who "the other person" is to you. That might explain where/why you draw the line. Is "the other person" a random girl/guy you meet who you think is hot? Is this an ex? A best friend? Someone you had a crush on before? Someone who seems interested in you (whether or not you're interested back)? Someone who is openly flirty with you?

If you flirt with someone else, either in front of your partner or behind your partner's back, do you think that's cheating, disrespectful, or just fine?

If you make sexual innuendos (flirt provocatively) with someone else, is that cheating?

If you talk on the phone/text/email/IM, etc. everyday with someone else, is that cheating, disrespectful, or just fine?

If you go on vacation with someone else instead of your partner, do you think that's cheating?

If you hang out with someone else, instead of your partner, and feel closer either emotionally or physically, is that cheating?

If you confide in this other person about fights you and your partner have or other things - things you don't tell your partner for whatever reason - is that cheating?

If you grind on someone else on the dance floor, is that cheating to you? Or disrespectful? Or just fine?

If you go to a strip club, is that cheating? How about if you get a lap dance?

If you touch someone else's boobs, crotch, butt, lips, etc., is that cheating?

If you kiss someone else, do you think that's cheating?

If you have oral sex with someone, do you think that's cheating?

If you sleep with someone else once, is that cheating?

If you sleep with someone else repeatedly, is that cheating?


For any of the above: how about if your partner does it?
  • Flirting, innuendo, confiding in, hanging out with, kissing, dirty touching, or sleeping with someone else
    Vote A
  • Flirting, innuendo, kissing, dirty touching, or sleeping with someone else
    Vote B
  • Confiding in, kissing, dirty touching, or sleeping with someone else
    Vote C
  • Kissing, dirty touching, or sleeping with someone else
    Vote D
  • Just sleeping with someone else
    Vote E
Select age and gender to cast your vote:
I'm a GirlI'm a Guy
This is interesting. Even though a large chunk of folks seem to draw the line at physical contact with another person, it seems that a majority of people think cheating begins before that point. I, for one, would have to agree; still, it's interesting.
Hmm ...so, we have our first vote that cheating only constitutes sleeping with someone else. Not dirty-touching, kissing, flirting, any of the rest. Only sex. I am very curious to know his thoughts on this. Are the others inappropriate, or acceptable?


Most Helpful Guy

  • Wow that is a big list.

    I would consider it cheating if my girlfriend was making sexual innuendos with somebody of the opposite sex if she was getting turned on by it. If she was just really joking it wouldn't matter much to me.

    Any physical contact besides hugging I would also consider cheating. Hand holding or touching the opposite sex in any other way would make me feel like she is flirting with another person and enjoying their company way too much.

    • Haha, sorry for the long list - was trying to list some common complaints I've heard.

      I can hear where you're coming from. Do you feel like the same applies to you when it comes to the opposite sex? Just curious.

    • Yes definitely. I don't talk with other women in a sexual way or have physical contact with them if I'm in a relationship. I also don't go to strip clubs if I'm in a relationship because getting a lap dance is practically like being dry humped by another woman.

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Have an opinion?

What Guys Said 7

  • To me it's not cheating to confided to a person of the opposite sex. the only problem that would come from it is "what did I do that you can't trust me with it?"

    • I agree. I think that's where the line gets sticky. Because it could - depending on how far it goes - create an emotional intimacy that your partner feels left out of. If you trust that other person more than you trust your own partner with certain things...

  • I have had physically cheated and also been cheated on by and with partners that were supposed to be exclusive. I have also have had emotional cheating and have experienced my partner having emotional cheating. This was so much worse. My ex wife fell in love with someone she hadn't slept with. Confessed to me and then we separated. We were never the same and divorced. I dated someone i loved and slept with a one night stand while traveling and i felt amazing guilt for hurting someone i loved so much. I value emotional bonds much more than physical and have come to terms that saying that woman or her saying that guy is hot is so much better than her wanting to spend time sharing her feelings with someone else...

    funniest quote i ever heard from someone i just started dating.
    "oral is like handshakes, really no big deal"
    my immediate reply without missing a beat, "thanks for that info, i won't be kissing you or shaking your hand"

    worst thing i ever hear from my ex wife " i think we shoudl take a break, there is someone else and I'm confused" she was adamant nothing had happened and as it turns out he didn't want to be with her once she left me, but she no longer felt the same about me and we never were the same again. Got back together for 6 months and ended in ugly divorce.

    physical or emotional both not good. Emotional usually worse in my opinion.

  • I think that cheating could start anywhere as early as flirting in these steps.

    Cheating is all about intent.

    I could flirt with a girl in my bio lab because I think she's cute but I think that it becomes cheating when I flirt with her in order to get her to do something with me.

    I could get really drunk and kiss a girl. That doesn't mean I want her over my girlfriend.

    Dirty touching could be as casual as it is cheating. I saw a girl in an inmate outfit last night at a party with 'GUILTY" across her butt. I was drunk so I slapped it. She spun around and said did you slap my ass? I said guilty as charged. I thought it was hilarious I didn't want to have sex with the girl or really even talk to her. I just wanted to get a pun out.

    Now crossing boundaries with sex would be a distinct cheating scenario. Thais is the point where things become black and white.

    • Hmm ...you make a point about intent and about what seems to be harmless or not. How do you reach a compromise with your girlfriend if some of these things, intentioned or not, make her uncomfortable? How do each of you meet halfway?

    • If it makes her uncomfortable either you make sure she can trust you. My girlfriend knows my schedule and I try to spend as much time as possible with her but whenever something comes up or I go out to do something I call her and tell her. We trust each other, Its so much easier that way...

      But whatever it is you're doing that is bothering her I would be best to quit now and just make things easy on yourself.

  • To me, cheating is pursuing or engaging in sexual conduct with someone outside your relationship without the awareness or approval of your significant other.

  • To me cheating is doing something that you wouldn't want your significant other to do

  • i have issues with confidence and security. I'm also very paranoid. so pretty much everything on that list would at the least highly offend me and I'd say 98% of it is cheating to me.

    my girl knows this and does some of these anyway. its really annoying cause I simply don't leave. call it weakness, stupidity, love, whatever. so basically I just convince myself that whatever she did that upset me is somehow my fault.

    • Why do you blame yourself? Has she heard how you felt? It seems to me this is the sort of thing that's important to work together on, as a couple. It means protecting the integrity of your relationship - no matter what your stance on it! If she does it anyway, it doesn't sound like she's respecting your feelings. What do you think?

    • Its easier to convince myself its my fault than to grow a back bone and do something. as for the integrity of the relationship, it was doomed from the get go cause I'm in it.

  • i don't see how people don't think flirting is cheating... making someone think you want to do sh*t with them is just as bad as actually doing it

    • Personally, this is where my heart is as well. Even if the other person doesn't respond, your partner does; your partner gets the impression you want to do something with someone else. Shouldn't your partner's feelings come first, before that other person's, when you're talking in a sexual context? Maybe it's just my biased... That's why I get irritated when I hear excuses that cheating is so ...acceptable. Like it's your "right" to shop around. If you wanna shop ...stop dating, imo.

What Girls Said 10

  • Uhm I'm a pretty low key person when it comes to that stuff. I'm not the jealous type, so if another girl wants to confide in my boyfriend, go right ahead. If she wants to hold his hand...fine. But only if its a best friend kinda hand holding. Kiss him...I'll bitch her out and let him know I didn't like it at all. Do it again or anythinkg beyond, he's history and she can have him.

    • I hear this. If he doesn't stop her from kissing him, then it seem he's not being totally faithful, does it?

    • Well no, and I know I'm not perfect and have had moments of weakness. Can't really dump a boy for a mistake I've made myself. So long as he doesn't make the same mistake again.

  • Flirting, innuendo, kissing, dirty touching, or sleeping with someone else is cheating. it's not wrong to talk/confide in someone or hanging out with someone, that's what friends are for.

    • I can agree with this too. That IS what friends are for; sometimes you just need a second opinion. But does it make a difference to you if you never introduce your partner to the person you confide in? If your partner never meets this other person?

    • I don't think you need to introduce your partner to EERYONE that comes into your life, if they become an integral part of your life then yeah you probably should but if you just speak to them occasionally then I don't see the need.

  • Doing something with another person that isn't your partner like flirting,hanging out etc...in my opinion is cheating...or just ask your partner what he/she thinks about the behavior you have with this other person. I think actions speak louder than words! my point of view..cheating is all of the above.

  • I'd say kissing, groping.. even hand holding (because that's something that should be shared as an intimate gesture with your SO) Flirting is kind of a grey area for me. As long as you aren't purposely leading the person on. If it's in fun.. and harmless.. then no I don't see a problem. If you are deleting text messages.. then I'd say you're on your way to the dark side.

  • I think that he can be friends with whoever he wants, as long as he's still mine. He's allowed to have other friends, as am I. Yes, the kissing, dirty touching, or sleeping with someone else are the obvious signs of cheating, but if he feels closer physically or emotionally with somebody else, it would be time to rethink things..

  • All of it. Emotional cheating is worse than physical to me. My guy has BEEN cheating on me. With possibly two girls since 2016 and I had no idea till February 2017. Claiming we were in an open relationship, news to me. Im trying to work through the issues but I can't trust him.

  • A b c d e f etc

  • All of them

  • All of the above

  • Everything that you asked, it's all cheating to me and if my boyfriend did it...which he has...

    • How did you respond? Was he able to see eye-to-eye with you when you explained how you felt?

    • Show All
    • He had sex with another girl? :-( That breaks my heart just hearing about it. You're very strong... I don't think lashing out is a horrible thing in that situation. I'm glad you two could make it work, and that he was really sorry. I wouldn't have been able to forgive him for giving himself to someone else; I would have been heartbroken every time I looked at or thought of him. 3 year anniversary? Congratulations!

    • Its hard to look at him, but I would suffer more with out him. And thank you =)

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