Whether you are entering into a new relationship or have been with your partner for years, it is always a good idea to touch base on what qualifies as cheating. While cheating might seem pretty black and white, it is definitely a grey area and behaviors that might be acceptable to one couple might be considered cheating for another. Social media and technology further complicate things and have also increased the opportunities for cheating.
People can have emotional, physical and physical/emotional affairs. Why people stray is a topic for a different post (check in next week). With physical affairs, there is little or no connection with the other person and the relationship is purely sexual. An emotional affair develops when one partner becomes emotionally invested in another person who is not their partner. The relationship might start out as a simple friendship, but eventually you start turning to the outside person for support instead of your own partner. Physical/emotional relationships are exactly that: a combination of the two. While I think most couples would agree physical and emotional affairs are off limits, where does pornography or dancing fit into the picture? Or chatting with an old boyfriend on social media? These are not easy conversations to have and I would say there is no right or wrong way to approach these situations. It is what is best for each individual couple.
If you and your partner have different views on certain activities it might be helpful to take a look at the intentions behind the act. If one partner thinks talking with an old partner on social media is okay and the other doesn’t – what is the intention of the action? Do you want to reconnect because you are genuinely curious and hope your ex has done well for themselves? Or are you looking for something else that your current relationship can’t offer? At the end of the day a relationship should make both people feel safe and respected which might involve some compromise. Something to ask yourself that might help define the boundaries is if your partner could watch what you are doing, would they be okay with it? If the answer is no, you are crossing the line.