Cheating in a relationship is one of those things that everyone believes they understand, but it only takes asking two or more individuals what they think cheating means to realize it’s not as simple as you thought. While most people may agree that “having sex” with someone outside of a monogamous relationship constitutes cheating, that’s where the mutual understanding ends. Let’s get down to the definition of cheating in a relationship in this blog article!

Definition of Cheating in a Relationship

There are various definitions of cheating in a relationship I have heard from people. I’ve heard so much that I don’t know where to begin. To help clarify the situation here is an authoritative definition of cheating in a relationship by experts.

#1. Cheating is a breach of trust.

When you get into a committed partnership with someone, you typically expect them to be faithful to you and your shared commitment. Cheating, on the other hand, can be considered the polar opposite. “Cheating is a betrayal of trust.” “Betrayal is a breach of trust,” explains clinical psychologist Dr. Joshua Klapow. “Depending on a person’s history of trust issues, betrayals, attachment style, and security, one episode of betrayal may be enough to end the relationship… it is completely dependent on the person, their history, and the strength of the relationship as it is on the type of cheating that has occurred.”

While the definition of cheating in a relationship varies depending on the commitments you and your spouse have made, Brown believes it is safe to conclude that moving your emotional attention to someone else will not end well.

#2. Cheating is a breach of contract.

In each committed relationship, there are certain expectations placed on each partner. This differs per pair, but the manner in which mutual understanding can be violated should be explicitly established.

Melanie Shapiro, a licensed psychotherapist, holds a similar viewpoint. “My definition of cheating in a relationship is when two partners agree to be in a monogamous relationship and one partner violates the agreement by engaging in physical or emotional closeness with someone outside the relationship.” Speaking of emotional intimacy, many Bustle readers appear to dislike affairs of the heart; in a survey, 70% of readers responded that an emotional affair was a dealbreaker for them.

#3. Cheating can be both physical and emotional.

Because the concept of cheating varies so much from relationship to relationship, it’s critical to remember the initial commitments you made with your partner. “What a couple jointly defines as constituting a deviation from the agreement is more relevant than what a universal definition of cheating in a relationship,” argues psychologist Gregory Kushnick. “Cheating can be physical, emotional, or digital in nature.” Also, cheating is directing sexual energy or providing intense emotional support to someone who could potentially symbolize a sexual partner. It frequently, but not always, entails deception and disregard for your partner’s needs.”

As Kushnick noted, cheating in a relationship can take various forms, including virtual (like sexting or online dating). Brown describes some of these practices as “micro-cheating.” “[The gray area in cheating] is determined by whether you and your spouse are comfortable with varying levels of micro-cheating, which might include an innocent (or not so innocent) flirtation with someone other than our partner.”

Signs of Cheating in a Relationship

Consider the following possible indicators that your boyfriend is unfaithful. As you can see, some of these indicators contradict one another. This spectrum of options, which is by no means exhaustive, demonstrates how different indicators can be from one individual to the next. Also, keep in mind that, while some behavioral changes, strange actions, and strange occurrences may support your terrible intuition, none of the following definitively suggest your partner is cheating.

#1. Communication changes

A breakdown in communication is never a good thing. If you can’t get your spouse to speak (or even fight) with you, if they no longer discuss their day with you, or if the words “I love you” are no longer said, there’s a problem.

#2. Hobbies and appearance

Taking care of yourself and devoting yourself to new interests and passions, or even your profession, can undoubtedly be beneficial, but when paired with other questionable habits, the following changes may be cause for concern.

  • Your partner is dressing better or is suddenly more concerned with their looks.
  • Your spouse begins a new pastime that demands a few hours of daily dedication. When you express interest in their new pastime, their response is ambiguous or they dismiss you.
  • Your coworker is putting in increasingly lengthy hours.

#3. Changes in attitude

Work-related stress or troubles with other relationships may cause your spouse’s attitude to shift. The following are possible indicators of infidelity, but they could also indicate other problems.

  • Your partner displays symptoms of poor self-esteem.
  • You notice your spouse has a sense of confusion about him or herself.
  • Your partner appears to seek risk or excitement in their lives.

#4. Avoidance and lying

Dishonesty in a marriage is a warning sign. These avoidance behaviors could suggest that your partner is cheating on you.

  • You have the impression that you are being avoided.
  • They no longer want to go places or do things with you.
  • You discover that your partner has been lying to you about a range of issues.
  • Your spouse’s friends appear nervous in your presence.

#5. Indifference

Communicate with your spouse if they display apathy or lack of interest in things they used to enjoy to determine if there is another cause for the change in participation.

#6. Changes in your relationship

It is not uncommon for the frequency of sex in your marriage to fluctuate. However, these symptoms may point to the potential of an affair.

  • Your relationship has a lot less intimacy and connection.
  • Your sex life is almost non-existent.
  • There are many novel things in sex that have never been seen before.

#7. Money issues

Almost every marriage experiences some form of financial difficulty at some point. However, if you observe some financial concerns in your marriage, you should look into them.

  • You find erroneous charges on your credit card accounts.
  • Money becomes a bigger concern between you two.
  • Your spouse discontinues large-purchase planning (such as a trip, buying a house, starting a renovation, etc.)

Is Texting Cheating in a Relationship

Technology is fantastic, but it can also put you in awkward circumstances, particularly if you’re in a relationship. This gets us to the crucial question that many individuals have: Is texting or conversing on social media considered cheating? And, to be clear, we don’t mean texting a member of the sex (or sexes) you’re attracted to and asking how they’re doing. We’re talking about full-on flirting—or more.

Continue reading for the three questions you should ask yourself while determining how safe those texts are. Just keep in mind that there is a delicate line between being faithful and unfaithful and that every case is unique.

#1. Is this behavior you’d do in front of your partner?

According to Elliott, the most successful couples follow this rule: “If you wouldn’t do it in front of me, don’t do it.” If you or your spouse sends a text that you don’t want the other person to read, you probably shouldn’t be having this conversation in the first place.

Still not sure if your texts constitute cheating? Consider the same in reverse: how would your partner’s behaviors affect your sentiments if it were the other way around? A text on your S.O.’s phone that makes you uncomfortable is probably not one you want on yours. “[The rule] leaves no opportunity for gray areas or debate,” Elliott argues. “It’s a straightforward and tried-and-true rule.”

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#2. Are you being emotionally unfaithful?

A physical relationship with someone who isn’t your spouse is obviously cheating, but the lines might be more difficult to draw when it comes to being emotionally dishonest. Emotional cheating is common when your relationship has reached a stalemate or has lost its spark, and you’re looking for someone to confide in. You may miss the butterflies in your stomach you felt when you first met your spouse and messaging someone else can compensate for that lack of romanticism, whether you’re aware of it at first or not.

#3. Is this something you’re both happy with?

We’ve already talked about how important it is to create boundaries in good relationships, and messaging other people is no exception. Every relationship (and each individual who is a member of the couple) has varying degrees of comfort. “It’s also a logical conclusion to believe that even minor flirtation via SMS is cheating.” Some readers may wonder how both conclusions can be reasonable. The answer is “what you can live with.”

Furthermore, it’s critical to have an early conversation with your S.O. to establish ground rules for what is and isn’t acceptable in your relationship. You might find that you have a very different definition of cheating in a relationship or that only a few actions aren’t viewed the same between you both.

Examples of Cheating in a Relationship

People feel deceived when their husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, breaches their expectations of what is appropriate. Remember that relationships are influenced by our emotions rather than rationality. As a result, cheating is difficult to define because people disagree on what kind of interaction they believe a partner should have with someone else. Some people, for example, believe it is improper for a partner to:

  • Flirt with other people
  • Engage in sexual conversation with someone else
  • Personal e-mails or text messages should be exchanged.
  • Refuse to admit to being married or in a relationship.
  • Spend time with specific people.
  • Engage in certain sorts of touch, such as sharing a bed with another person.
  • Purchase intimate gifts as well as gifts for others.
  • Online conversation with someone else (Affairs on the internet)
  • Have sexual relations with someone else (physical infidelity)
  • Develop an emotional attachment to someone else (emotional infidelity)
  • Develop feelings or a crush on another person
  • Someone else should hear their most private thoughts and feelings.
  • Make friends with someone of the opposing gender.

Again, the essential issue is that people have different ideas about what constitutes acceptable contact with others.

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What Is Considered Cheating on Social Media?

According to one survey conducted by family law specialists Slater and Gordon, one-third of divorcing spouses mentioned social media as a reason for marital breakdown. And, while social media has provided apparently limitless opportunities to be unfaithful, it is no longer merely making arrangements to meet up that sets off our cheating alarms. From flirty messages to sending intimate photos, these social media habits are all forms of cheating in their own ways, and certainly worth watching out for if your partner seems to be engaging in them.

#1. Making fake profiles

While it’s possible that someone created a phony Facebook page for the sole purpose of online trolling, it’s more likely a symptom of something more sinister—Facebook cheating. If your significant other has a phony social media presence, it’s perfectly OK to inquire as to why it’s there and what they need it for.

#2. Displaying flirty photos

If your social media posts have gone from PG to NC-17 in a matter of weeks after someone you like begins following you, you may be social media cheating.

#3. Constantly monitoring someone’s status

Yes, even the most devoted spouses will periodically check up on an ex’s social media. However, if you’re continually seeking updates and new photographs on social media, you’re devoting time away from your partner and risking adultery.

#4. Following people you want to hook up with

Following someone on Instagram purely because you think they’re attractive is not as harmless as it sounds. If you don’t know someone but prefer to follow them because of their appearance, you’re expressing your attraction and attempting to connect, neither of which is really appropriate.

#5. Sending flirty direct messages

Those flirtatious DMs you’re sending to your Twitter crush have consequences. While you may be protected behind a screen, wouldn’t you consider it social media cheating if your partner saw you complimenting someone else on how hot they were?

#6. Making arrangements to meet

Of course, social media cheating can also occur in the real world. With the exception of meeting up with someone you met online to buy something, you may definitely consider yourself a cheater if you plan to meet up with someone you met on social media.

Is Lying Considered Cheating in a Relationship

Lying is a form of psychological and emotional abuse since it hurts the one being lied to, insults their intelligence, and shows that the liar lacks the respect for you to be honest and truthful. Cheating is a sort of deception! If you’re cheating on someone, chances are you’ve told a lie to help or cover it up. Even if you’ve cheated without explicitly/verbally lying, you’re lying by omission since, in my perspective, simply being in a committed, exclusive relationship means you’re indicating (without saying it) to your spouse that you’re not physically or emotionally connected with anyone else.


Remember, no matter what your definition of cheating in a relationship is, it is never a good element in a committed relationship. The finest thing you can do for your relationship is to communicate your feelings and expectations for the relationship.

Even if you don’t agree on what constitutes cheating in a relationship, your open communication with each other could lead to a long and happy life together!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered cheating in a relationship?

In a relationship, what constitutes cheating? In a nutshell, cheating is being emotionally or sexually disloyal to your monogamous partner. Cheating is commonly defined as being sexually or emotionally acquainted with another individual.

What is the definition of cheating on someone?

Cheat on the definition Informal: to violate a pledge made to (someone, such as one’s wife or husband) by having sexual relations with someone else He had an affair with his wife/girlfriend.

What are the different types of cheating?

Physical infidelity: sexual or physical contact outside of the partnership. Emotional infidelity: emotional attachment or intimacy with another individual. Cyber Infidelity: Social media has made it simpler for people to engage in sexually explicit online messages, chats, forums, or groups.

Is flirting considered cheating?

Cheating, according to most individuals, is any conduct in which you demonstrate romantic desire, either emotionally or physically. In general, flirting is considered infidelity because it goes beyond innocent banter and might lead to additional amorous actions or partnerships.

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