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Self_Consuming_Cannibal's avatar

[NSFW] When it comes to a relationship what is your definition of physical cheating?

Asked by Self_Consuming_Cannibal (4236 points ) January 23rd, 2013

It seems as though many people believe you have to actually have sex with someone in order to be considered a cheater. How far do you think someone has to go in order to be a cheater?

Do you think it’s cheating to have threesomes or have sex with other people as long as your s/o is ok with that?

To me, cheating is about the deception of another or the breaking of pre-established rules that you, as a couple agreed upon no matter how mild or ridiculous they may seem to the “norm”. As long as you have your S/Os blessing I personally think anything is “fair game.”

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33 Answers

Shippy's avatar

I agree fully with your last paragraph. Deception is cheating. It is taking a promise and breaking it. So cheating is really not a great word for it.

Emotional cheating is also to me, breaking that promise.

Just a side note. I wouldn’t automatically break up with a person who cheated on me. It would be how she/he handled it afterwards that would make it important. Like I see some that would just break up like the click of a finger. Sexual contact really is a small issue compared to other much bigger things that exists in a partnering.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Physical cheating is breaking the rules of your relationship with regard to physical intimacy, however those rules may have been defined by you and your partner(s). The scope of a relationship is defined by those who are party to it and no one else.

Unbroken's avatar

I understand and agree to extent where @Shippy and @SavoirFaire are coming from. Generally I agree.

However I have to admit physical intimacy with someone other then my partner whom I am emotionally involved with and interested in deepening or continuing the relationship makes me uncomfortable and and upset at myself, even to the point of feeling guilty, even if we have not had a monogomous conversation asof yet if that is where I feel like it is going. Maybe it is because I know they would be upset disappointed or hurt or jealous should they find out about it.

Emotional cheating is highly overlooked in my opinion. It is harder to quantify and therefore easier to justify or ignore. But the fallout and the damage done by it can be just as harmful if not more.

And to further sign on with @Shippy I don’t always think it immediate grounds for scrapping a relationship.

A cheater has the potential to serial and in most cases is. But if you are in a commited with this person this probably isn’t the case and is more likely a symptom of problem in your relationship. If the indiscretion is admitted to discussed throughly and understood, as well as patience and dedication to heal the relationship then there is a chance there is something worth saving.

ucme's avatar

When you hide the condoms.

tedd's avatar

It’s arbitrary and probably a case by case thing. At the point when you do something physical to express something emotional, is a good guide-line though.

Seek's avatar

If you’re lying, you’re cheating.

That’s all.

rojo's avatar

@Shippy, @rosehips
How does emotional cheating differ from daydreaming or fantasizing? Where is the line drawn?
@Seek_Kolinahr If I am watching, I don’t know, Baywatch or something else where they run in slow motion, and my S/O asks “What are you thinking about?” and I say “Nothing” am I cheating?

Seek's avatar

@rojo Could be. I don’t know.

If it were me, the answer would have been “Pamela Andersons’s gigantic tits”, but that’s the relationship I have with my husband.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I completely agree with Savior Faire. If your SO is agreeable to an open marriage and you follow the rules you’ve both agreed to, it’s not cheating. Although I hear one partner usually ends up getting feelings of jealousy or neglect sometimes, seems like a tricky slope.

bookish1's avatar

As @SavoirFaire said, it would depend on what I had agreed on with my partner.

I have had relationships where my girlfriend encouraged me to date and even fall in love with other people. It would have been cheating to have unprotected sex with them, though. That was a hard (pun intended!) limit. I’ve also been in a relationship where we could fool around with other people, but it would have been cheating to become emotionally intimate with someone else. In that case, I broke up with him rather than cheat, because I had feelings for someone else that I just couldn’t shake. And yes, in case you were wondering, I am quite capable of being monogamous and have been faithfully many times. I just like to talk about it instead of keeping it all a mystery until you’ve crossed some invisible line you “should have known about.”

I’m not necessarily always going to be interested in polyamorous arrangements, but there are some things I could never go back to… The default unspoken agreements of monogamy. Like how you should feel guilty for checking someone out on TV, or having a dream? What the fuck. People actually do that to each other? I really think it is messed up for your partner to limit your behaviors and even your thoughts because of their own damn insecurity.

jonsblond's avatar

@rojo How does emotional cheating differ from daydreaming or fantasizing? Where is the line drawn?

I hope you don’t mind if I answer this. Daydreaming and fantasizing involves the mind of one person (you). Emotional cheating involves two people. When a person begins to confide in, think of and spend more time with someone other than their spouse, that is emotional cheating. When you think of this person all day and you can’t wait to hear their voice. When you imagine doing things with this person instead of wanting to do things with your s/o. When you have good news to share, this is the person you run to, not your s/o. When you need comfort and you go to this person, not your s/o. When you give more of your attention to this person and less attention to your s/o. This is emotional cheating.

JLeslie's avatar

For me, pretty much any physical contact that is not appropriate for platonic friends is physical cheating. Kissing, touching, any of it. However, an accidental bump into each other, or a hug between friends, all fine, assuming there is no emotional cheating mixed in with it.

If a couple has an agreement, and the agreement is adhered to, whatever the boundaries or lack thereof are, then it isn’t cheating.

Seek's avatar

@bookish1 Hear, hear!

zensky's avatar

Cheating is as cheating does.

rojo's avatar

@jonsblond Thanks. That makes sense.

And, it puts me in the clear with @Seek_Kolinahr since I am pretty sure Pamela Anderson was not thinking about me at the same time.

zenvelo's avatar

So I am sitting here thinking @JLeslie was close to my idea of physical cheating, until I thought what I would consider grounds for major relationship discussion. And I realized heavy french kissing would not, in my opinion, be crossing the line. It might mean communication needs to be opened with my GF, and maybe it would require relationship work.

But it isn’t physical cheating. For me, sticking my penis in another’s orifice would constitute physical cheating.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I would think anything intimate you would do with your s/o would constitute cheating. A hug, a kiss on the cheek is ok, but anything else is crossing the line.

JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo Why are you sticking your tongue in someone else’s mouth? Just because you can? Do you like the other woman? Did your SO piss you off? Is it not cheating when your SO french kisses another guy?

wundayatta's avatar

It seems like a lot of people say you should talk to your SO first, so you can know the status of each little action you take. Looking at a video of Pamela Anderson. Looking at Playboy. Watching porn. And if your SO says he or she is uncomfortable with any or all of these things, do you then forswear them forever?

I don’t stare at other women in front of my wife. I think it might make her uncomfortable. I don’t look at porn in front of her for the same reason. She doesn’t like it. There are a lot of things I won’t do because I don’t want my wife to feel uncomfortable, but I will do them if she’s not around. It seems polite to me. And caring. As long as she’s reasonably happy with our relationship, I think we’re doing just fine.

I have friends that I talk to about things that I don’t talk to my wife about. I do not feel she needs to be the first person in line. I don’t expect her to come to me all the time, either. She has a couple of close friends that she talks to all the time, and I think this is very healthy for her. She used to rely on me all the time, and—I don’t know if this was related, since there were many other reasons for our problems—those were times when we were in trouble.

I don’t believe in a relationship where you are primarily reliant on one person, your spouse. I think it is healthier to have many strong relationships, and I think it is good to not share everything with your spouse. Not that you are keeping secrets, but just that you have multiple sources of support in your life.

However, I do think that secrets are ok, too. Having secrets doesn’t mean you have a terrible relationship, even if the secret is from your spouse. There are all kinds of secrets, and plenty of good reasons to keep them—the best of which is to not cause people gratuitous pain. I believe that the best society is a polite society, and politeness is about caring for each other, which means trying not to cause pain.

Some people believe that it doesn’t matter how much pain you cause, but honesty is the most important thing. It’s the only way to have a decent relationship. I’m not sure where this notion comes from. I think it has to do with things people believe therapy has taught them, or perhaps from the addiction movement, but I think it is a mistaken notion.

Some things need to be talked about. Others don’t. You can’t make a blanket statement about it. You have to decide on the merits of the case, and sometimes it is very difficult to decide. But you need to think about the consequences of revealing a secret, and try to estimate the harm it will cause and the benefits it will cause. I think most people greatly underestimate the harm and overestimate the benefits, and it usually based on past experiences, which are one time events.

Cheating is placing your selfish benefit over that of others you care for. Cheating is pretending to care for someone you don’t really care for, in order to extract benefits from them you otherwise do not feel entitled to. Cheating is pretending to love someone, or simulating love for someone that hides what you really feel.

Cheating is not about body parts; it is about emotions. When people define it as body parts, they make the same mistake that so many do in our society: that sex can be separated from emotions. If you are emotionally separate from your spouse, it doesn’t matter whether you fuck someone else or not; you are cheating. You can’t protect yourself by not having an affair. As long as you don’t deal with your lack of love for your spouse, you are cheating.

And similarly, if you love your spouse, but also love someone else, you are not cheating. Your obligation to your spouse is emotional; it is about love. Vows often talk about physicality, but that is an archaic remnant from our biology and patriarchal religions—religions (including Judaism and Christianity), that only a few thousand years ago all condoned polygamy, and some of which still do today.

The rules about monogamy are based on economic concerns and on inheritance. They are not principled. They are not based on emotion or love, I don’t believe.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

If you have any sort of intimate physical contact with another person, and you lie or hide that info from your SO, you’re cheating.

Self_Consuming_Cannibal's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate I’m not trying to debate, I’m just curious. But going by what you’re saying does that mean as long as you tell the other person what you did then it’s not cheating?

Blackberry's avatar

A relationship is a contract. There are terms to contracts. You break the terms, you break the contract.

Debating the morality of cheating is entirely different. Other than that it’s pretty black and white.

captainsmooth's avatar

If you are doing something with someone that you have to hide from your significant other, that is cheating, whether it is physical or emotional.

If it is something you talk about with your SO, it really isn’t cheating. It is up to the SO to decide if this is something they want to accept in a relationship or not.

I had a friend who had an open relationship with his wife (who wasn’t necessarily happy with the whole arrangement but agreed to it).

When he told her about other women, she was OK with it. When he didn’t, which for some reason at times he didn’t, she wasn’t too happy about it.

JLeslie's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate I’m interested in exactly what you mean also. i don’t know what lying has to do with it, unless you mean if you do something you feel you will have to lie about because it will bother the other person, then that is how someone knows it’s cheating? Meaning, if I will do it right in front of my husband, whether it is a kiss or sex or even an email and he is ok with it, then it is not cheating?

Seek's avatar

If your husband knows about it and is OK with it, it’s not cheating.

zenvelo's avatar

@JLeslie What I am defining is the point at which I feel I have crossed a line, gone beyond a point of no return. I’ll admit that when I was married, especially when it was falling apart, that I was tempted. And I was close to swapping tongues a couple times. But I don’t think I would consider that cheating at the time.

JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo But, your wife would have?

downtide's avatar

Anything you feel you have to hide from your partner is cheating, even if there’s no actual physical contact (an online relationship for instance). A physical relationship with someone else isn’t necessarily cheating provided that you and your SO have agreed on it beforehand.

It’s not what you do, it’s hiding what you do.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I just meant that if you have something to hide, that its cheating. Obviously if your partner is okay with it, then it’s not. But if it something you know you shouldn’t be doing because it would hurt your SO, then it’s cheating.

ucme's avatar

The only cheating I get away with is a family game of monopoly & even then I feel guilty, just a bit.

Shippy's avatar

@rojo When you spend loads of time, swapping emails, chats over coffee, fantasizing, sharing your thoughts, your secrets, your fears, your very intimate self with another.

rojo's avatar

@Shippy OMG!!! I AM CHEATING WITH FLUTHER!!

in fact just this morning SheHe told me how boring it was without me. We are such sluts

Shippy's avatar

@rojo Yes BUT…....

are you thinking about their jelly bits when you masturbate?

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