Cheating is probably one of the worst things that can happen in a relationship. It's a clear violation of trust and can leave you feeling lost, betrayed and devastated. The thing about cheating is that it often comes with a lot of lies, manipulation and guilt.
So what exactly can be considered as cheating? Here are ten things that count as cheating within a relationship.
- Hanging out with an ex
If you're still hanging out with any of your exes, it can be seen as cheating within a relationship because you're giving another person attention that should be given to your partner. You might think it's no big deal, but if you're still hanging out with an ex then that means you have feelings for them and they have feelings for you — which is why they should not be hanging around at all.
- Flirting with someone else
Even if it seems like harmless flirting to you, it isn't okay to flirt with other people when you're in a relationship with someone else. It doesn't matter if they haven't noticed or don't seem to mind because it's still wrong and it's still cheating on your part.
- Talking behind your back.
In most relationships, it's common for one partner to confide in a friend about something the other did (or didn't do). Chances are you've had a conversation like this with your best friend at some point: “I can't believe he forgot my birthday again! What a jerk!” But when this kind of conversations start to become more routine, it's no longer just venting — it's gossip.
“It may seem harmless, but talking behind someone's back is always damaging to the relationship,” says Shapiro. “It's a form of betrayal and shows that there is a lack of respect. Talking behind someone's back is also disrespectful because it puts the person in a compromised position.” If word gets back to your partner that you've been maligning them, you're not only disrespecting them but setting yourself up for distrust.
- Using your social media to like other people's pictures.
Cheating comes in many forms — some obvious, others not. But one of the things that counts as cheating within a relationship is using your social media to like other people's pictures.
In a recent interview on The Bert Show, an Atlanta-based morning talk show, clinical psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula discussed the topic of social media and relationships. When determining whether or not liking photos on Instagram or Facebook is cheating, she says it depends on the person doing the liking: “If you're in a monogamous relationship, then I think if you're liking pictures that are sexually provocative or suggestively provocative, yeah, I would say you're flirting.”
- Emotional cheating.
When you share your day-to-day life with someone, it's natural to form a close bond with them. But that doesn't mean you should confide in them about matters pertaining to your relationship. Even if this person is “just a friend,” you can't deny the fact that you have feelings for them, and that's considered cheating, even if nothing physical happened between the two of you.
- Talking on the phone all night long.
Cheating is a very big deal in relationships. It's one of the things that can end your relationship in an instant. All couples are different and have different boundaries, but one of the Things That Counts as Cheating Within a Relationship is Talking on the phone all night long.
A lot of people feel like this isn't cheating because there's no physical contact involved, however, talking on the phone all night can be just as bad as cheating physically. If your partner has a romantic conversation with their ex girlfriend for five hours and never tells you about it, does that count as cheating? I think so!
No matter what your partner has to say about it or how they try to justify it, if they're spending most of their time talking to someone else instead of being with you, that's what counts as cheating!
- Texting other people all day long.
Texting other people all day long is one of those things that counts as cheating within a relationship. (OK, cheating would be the actual act of having sex with someone else, but it can be hard to prove that!)
Why is texting other people all day long cheating? In general, it's not. If you've taken the time to make sure your partner knows you're madly in love with him or her, then they're fair game for contact. But if your partner is gone most of the day, and you're texting them constantly, you might be crossing the line between being friends and being paramours.
Texting can also make it hard to see the big picture — even if you're trying not to be a cheater. Sure, your partner might notice if you disappear for a few hours or if you don't pick up their calls, but they might not realize that they're missing out on a lot of important communication from you.
- Lying about something that would hurt your partner's feelings
You don't think of yourself as a liar, so the idea that you might be cheating on your partner by lying probably never crossed your mind. But one of the things that counts as cheating within a relationship is lying about something that would hurt your partner's feelings if she knew the truth.
For example, some people are tempted to lie about how much money they make or how much debt they have. If you're not in a secure financial position, you may feel like it's better to lie about it until you are. It makes sense; no one wants to be with someone who has less money than they do. But that doesn't justify lying about it. The longer you continue the lie, the more likely it is you'll get caught. And being caught in a lie is a relationship game-ender.
- Talking about how unhappy you are in your current relationship with someone other than your partner
This type of communication isn't just unfaithful but can be unhealthy for your relationship. If you're constantly complaining to friends and family about your significant other, then that is what will define your relationship. You'll always see them in a negative light rather than focusing on the positive things they bring to your life.
If you're currently dating someone and are having trouble figuring out if what you're doing counts as cheating, don't worry! We've defined the nine things that count as cheating for your convenience. Now you know exactly where you stand with your partner. If you have any more questions about other grey areas, though, be sure to let us know.