Can you really define cheating in a relationship? As complex as the feeling of love may be, affairs and cheating in a relationship are just as complicated, says Roberto Rossi. But who defines cheating, and what constitutes cheating in a relationship?
Cheating in a relationship is a funny business. Painful, most definitely, but it’s extremely hilarious to watch from a third person’s view.
Have you seen how relationships change with time?
And have you noticed how we twist our own promises to our lovers to suit our needs as time passes by?
You kissed someone else because you assumed your partner was cheating? Or did you sleep with another person because your partner just wasn’t showing you any affection?
Is that cheating, or is that just changing the circumstances?
Cheating in a relationship
More often than not, things can sometimes be lost in translation when it comes to your relationship with a loved one. Without clear boundaries set, it’s even more likely that relationships won’t last past the initial honeymoon period.
It seems nowadays you can’t even fart or sneeze without your loved one having opinions about it. Why is this happening?
Only god knows, but as couples become more and more immersed into each other’s daily lives, problems seem to be occurring left, right and center!
Just think about it for a moment. Have you been in a situation where the doubt of infidelity has been so small and so insignificant, but in the end, you ended up having a row with your partner and probably took a few days to resolve it while the dust settled?
Have you been in that situation when in looking at what is positive in the relationship, you instead focus on the negative? There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s up to you to find the torch that can take you there.
Cheating and our own views
Cheating in a relationship can be a confusing affair. Recently, a friend of mine came to me with a dilemma. His girlfriend had left him because he often sent text messages to a female colleague from his workplace.
This girl from work would call him occasionally to talk, to gossip, etc. His girlfriend came to him concerned, and even after he had comforted her over a few glasses of Portuguese Rose, she came right back at him with the sucker punch, “but you always see her at work, why do you need to talk to her even when you’re home?”
His response was somber, and there wasn’t much he could have said back, other than “she’s a friend who likes to talk, what’s wrong with that?” Of course, some level of flirtation probably took place, but let’s be big boys and girls here, who doesn’t flirt in life?
Infidelity creates its own circumstances
As a few months went by, a one-off, random office drinks party ended with my friend and his workmate sharing a kiss. Of course, my tone changed. But in the end, I felt this couple had a lot more going for them then, to allow a stupid kiss to get in the way.
Three years together and a stupid kiss could ruin all of that? Who hasn’t done something stupid which they come to regret, or rather forget? But this is it. When he felt guilty about it and told his girlfriend about the kiss, she was obviously pissed off. But she went one step further. She told him she always knew there was something going on between them.
Fair enough, I thought. She was well entitled to believe that something could come from this because they had locked lips.
But it was her failure to reflect on their relationship to understand that such a scenario was always a minuscule event in a wider picture. She assumed that that one kiss had started an entire illicit relationship between her man and the woman from work, and she just wasn’t ready to accept that perhaps, just maybe, it was an unfortunate event that happened by accident. It could happen to any of us.
Becoming the unfaithful one
Anyone can fall prey to such accidents, given the circumstances and chances of timing. No one’s a saint and no one’s a winner if you really weigh the circumstances.
But as the American actor Henry Winkler once said, “assumptions are the termites of relationships.” They eat at you and your partner, and in the end, just like a termite loves to grind down on wood, the termite assumption eats at the tree you and your partner have grown together.
When is it cheating?
In today’s world, it seems that everything shared between a partner and a friend of the opposite gender is cheating. Absurd, right? Wrong.
You will be surprised at a number of cases where relationships have ended over the most minuscule of things. With respect to sexual infidelity, cheating is only cheating if, ladies, you happen to walk into your room to find some butt naked chick playing with your fella’s nuts (and I’m not talking about food here).
Alternatively, cheating is only cheating if men, you happen to find your lady with her panties in a twist with another man. Well, unless you’re talking about emotional affairs.
Anything is remotely possible today. Think back about my friend, his example is exactly what is killing the average American relationship of a twenty or thirty-something-year-old. We, as humans, are drawn in by our assumptions of situations without allowing ourselves to reflect on the positives. Sounds familiar?
But I hear you saying out loud ‘what could be positive from my partner kissing someone else?’
Well firstly, it’s not as if they slept with them. They didn’t share a night of passion that they would normally have shared with you. Secondly, if you know about it, either they have told you themselves or you’ve found out yourself, but that doesn’t mean they are going to do it again.
If they do, then, of course, it’s cheating in a relationship. But what if it happened in the heat of the moment, a onetime thing? It really could happen to any of us!
Defining cheating in love
The definition of cheating in a relationship is changing with the times. Most relationships end when either one of the individuals involved does the unthinkable. They cheat.
In the U.S. alone, one in three marriages now ends in divorce, and a lot is put down to infidelity issues. In a recent national survey, twenty-two percent of married men have strayed at least once during their married lives, while fourteen percent of married women have had affairs at least once during their married lives. And that’s the number of people that confessed to their deed! Can you even begin to think of the number of secret affairs going on right this minute?
During the 1950’s and 1960’s, cheating was seen as a pass-time. Both genders could openly do more things and people, but today is different.
With the techno-advanced twenty-first century, all forms of communication are a blessing to us. We text, email, have mobiles and interact much more. Socially, we are freer in more ways than ever before, but in trying to be a free spirit like a character out of a Paulo Coelho book, we cause ourselves harm too. The more we interact, the more problems we get into, and more temptations we come across.
So what is cheating?
When one talks about cheating in a relationship, some may think of a lover banging someone else. But as I said, times have changed. Flirting, kissing, cyber-sex, text-sex, email-sex, facebook-sex, even looking at the opposite sex is considering cheating! Forgive me, maybe I just won’t look at the beauty the next time it passes me by.
Seriously though, because people have different opinions about what’s considered cheating, it’s up to you and your partner to decide what the “ground rules” are for the relationship.
What constitutes an act of infidelity varies between and within cultures and depends also on the type of relationship that exists between people. Even within an open relationship, infidelity may arise if a partner in the relationship acts outside of the understood boundaries of the relationship.
Many people agree that there are six basic qualities to healthy, loving relationships. Respect, trust, honesty, fairness, equality, and good communication. Everyone is different when it comes to dating rules, so people should sit down with their partners and agree on what counts as cheating in their relationships.
Discussing these details, however uncomfortable they may seem, is actually the best way to create boundaries in love and avoid cheating in a relationship.