Let us be honest — we all are a tiny bit insecure when it comes to our significant other. We would always like to know them the best. However, sometimes, a certain feeling takes over, and we can’t help but think — are they seeing someone else behind our back? That brings us to the bigger questions — are they cheating? Why are they cheating? What is cheating even?
It is easy to get confused about matters of the heart. So take a deep breath and calm yourself down. Then take a look at this guide where we talk about what is considered cheating and everything relevant to it.
Cheating or not?
At multiple points in your life, you have heard of the word ‘cheating.’ As a kid, you have heard it in schools. In more typical scenarios, you have heard people being cheated in business or trade. In common terms, cheating would mean to act in an unfair manner to gain an advantage.
However, when it comes to relationships, cheating takes a more painful and messy form. When the heart is involved, distinguishing it in rigid words becomes almost impossible. In one way, we can phrase that when one partner starts seeing someone else behind their partner’s back, it can be considered cheating.
But then again, we have witnessed complicated situations and relationships where it is not easy to apply the term ‘cheating.’
What do Psychologists say?
Psychologists consider it as cheating when one of the members takes a one-sided decision to get involved with one or more individuals to satisfy the desires they cannot fulfil in the relationship.
While thinking of what all can be considered cheating, we should also think of why one cheats. According to psychologists, there are specific psychological patterns that probe a person into the habit of cheating:
- They see cheating as an escape to avoid a bigger conflict within the relationship.
- They cheat to show that they are the ones in control and cannot deal with power structures.
- They may be narcissistic or may have extremely low self-esteem.
- They may be feeling hopeless about their relationship but do not want to or cannot put an end to the relationship.
- They are not sexually satisfied.
There is no straight cut way or reason as to why a person cheats. The mental and emotional state says a lot more about their cheating habits than anything else.
What do Marriage Counselors say?
Cheating has been one of the most common reasons why numerous marriages have seen their ends. But what exactly is considered cheating? According to marriage counselors, what matters the most is what the couple want out of their relationships.
Every couple has its way of conveying feelings, handling different things, satisfying desires, and likewise, different ideas of what cheating might be. Similarly, for one couple, being friendly with other people may be completely alright, while for another couple, being too familiar is seen as an instant offense.
One great way to understand whether your or your partner’s actions can be considered as cheating or not is whether you are willing to talk about it with them or not. If you prefer to keep it a secret, it is probably because you know that what you are doing is wrong and will either hurt your partner, not be accepted by them, or end your relationship.
What do Polyamorists say?
As mentioned earlier, there are certain relationships where the term ‘cheating’ may not be applied so easily or according to common standards. For example, what about in a polyamorous relationship?
Polyamorous relationships are relationships where an individual may have more than one partner, with each others’ consent. Here, the standard definition of cheating does not apply as there may be more than two people involved. Then what can be considered cheating in such a scenario?
When asked a polyamorist, they mention that every relationship has specific terms and conditions that each couple builds for themselves. For monogamous relationships, cheating is when one partner starts seeing another person behind their back.
In a polyamorous relationship, the definition of ‘cheating’ is precise to that relationship only. It is according to what the people involved think and want. Some are very specific about what they want, while others are more about whether they are happy in the relationship or not.
What do Relationship Advisors say?
On this topic, relationship advisors talk about cheating being more associated with emotions than being physical. Being physically involved comes second. What comes first is a certain emotion that catapults into physical attraction.
Every human being craves love and affection. Therefore, if someone were being kind to us or looking after us, we would be attracted to them. However, there are certain levels of attraction that we need to think of here.
Your partner is not the only human being in your life. On a daily basis, you meet many people. If someone were kind to you at your work or school, you would be attracted to them, but on a social level.
This then brings to the question — how satisfied are you with your relationship? If you are happy with your relationship and are content with how things are going, there would be no basis for why you would be attracted to someone else physically or emotionally.
However, if the relationship is lacking something, it is then that one may start relying on more positive people for more, thus leading them to cheat.
Would Physical Affairs be considered cheating?
A physical affair would mean when one partner has physical relationships with someone else other than their partners. It may also involve kissing or even holding hands. But how do we determine whether they are considered cheating or not?
In traditional relationships, having a physical relationship with someone other than your partner is considered cheating. There may be various reasons and intentions behind why one may have physical affairs. The most common cause is being sexually dissatisfied in their romantic relationship.
What about Micro-Cheating?
Micro cheating is a little harder to define as it dwells on the fine line between what is cheating and what is not. It sometimes is even done unconsciously and without any bad intentions.
One can categorize behaviors such as flirting over social media, having dating profiles, casually flirting with random strangers, or still being in touch with their ex under Micro-cheating.
However, whether it is considered cheating or not depends on how the couple perceives these actions. Micro-cheating does not necessarily mean that your partner is cheating. However, if you are uncomfortable with this behavior, let them know.
Does Financial Infidelity count?
Financial infidelity is when your partner is not transparent to you about their shared finances with you. For example, taking debt or spending money without your knowledge.
You would want complete transparency in your relationship, and thus, it may hurt you and break your trust when you get to know that your partner is using the money from your joint finances without your consent.
But is it considered cheating? Well, lying and hiding in the first place itself is quite a blow to any relationship. Whatever may be the reason, lying about shared finances can damage your relationship and your future financial standing.
Thus, we conclude
We will have to note that cheating is not a simple occurrence and has many reasons building up behind it. It may be due to hidden flaws within the relationship or the individuals involved in it. Whatever it may be, the best way to face it all is to communicate.
If there is a problem, do not ignore it and talk with your partner about it. After all, they are your significant other, and if you can’t speak to them openly, then what’s the point?