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Cheating has many variations. For the most part, people believe cheating simply implies having sex with someone other than their mate. This is far from the truth. By definition, cheating is: defrauding, swindling, deceiving and eluding. Cheating is also defined as knowing the rules and finding a way to break them to reach a goal. In terms of a relationship, the variations are extensive.

In a relationship, once two people become exclusive (officially committed to a relationship), the “commitment” factor is just an adjective for an agreement. This agreement is defined as a set of practices that come along once you’ve made the decision to commit to someone. In other words you’re agreeing to be trustworthy and to behave accordingly.

Now, this agreement doesn’t imply that you can’t be yourself, however, it does require a matter of appropriateness. In a relationship, typically, both parties agree to commit. Both parties agree to devote themselves, their time, affection and love to each other. Most importantly, both are agreeing to be honest with each other. What this means is that once either of those individuals break those terms, or better yet, hide their transgressions, it’s considered cheating. Here are a few examples:

Confiding in someone else

Type of Cheating: Emotional

Emotions are free spirits. More times than others, they usually conflict with logic. This being said, one may or may not always be in control of their emotions. But in terms of a relationship, once you’ve made that commitment, you’ve agreed to divest your emotions into your mate only. If and when another individual comes along and you choose to confide in them instead of your mate, it’s definitely considered cheating.

Why it’s cheating: Emotions are in direct relation to intimacy. A common myth is that intimacy constitutes sex. Intimacy, in fact, involves affection and a close connection with another person. Sex can be a part of intimacy however it doesn’t define it. This is considered cheating due to the personal connection, in short, it’s usually inappropriate interactions albeit verbal or physical. Late night phone calls, texts and visits all fall under this umbrella.

Now, this doesn’t imply that having a close friend is wrong, but once you begin to have conversations with this friend that you wouldn’t have if your mate were present, it becomes inappropriate. Even more so, if you allow emotions to develop for this friend and choose to explore them but neglect to tell your mate, the inappropriateness is elevated.

The moment that you begin saying things like “they’re things I can tell my friend that I can’t talk to my boyfriend/girlfriend about”, it’s usually headed into a bad direction. Once the communication becomes limited between you and your mate, the countdown to the end of the relationship begins.

Consensus: Simply put, your mate is supposed to be your best friend, your partner. They’re the one person that you should be able to share everything with. So if there are things in your life that you can’t share with your mate, you should contemplate if they’re truly the one for you. Better yet, you should think twice before doing those things in the first place.

Having sex with someone else

Type of Cheating: Physical

Obviously, having sex with someone else is cheating. It’s the most common form. However, men and women have two different perspectives on the topic. While both sexes agree that sex is cheating, they ultimately disagree as to why. Let’s explore.

Men are protective and providers. When a man learns that his girlfriend has allowed another man to penetrate her, he feels threatened and invaded. He’ll begin to focus on irrelevant things such as whether or not the other guy’s “package” was bigger or if he was better than he was. Same rule applies if and when a man is unable to provide financially and his girlfriend allows another man to provide for her. He’ll begin to wonder if the other guy has more money than he does. It’s a competitive streak that many men are coded with. Men generally believe that it’s their duty to provide for their women therefore when another man steps in and fulfills that duty, immediately, his integrity and pride are threatened.

Women, however, are different. When a woman learns that her boyfriend penetrated another woman, she feels betrayed. Reason being, women connect emotionally to sex. While men are easily able to “jump in the sack”, women need time to establish a connection first. Bear in mind, for women, sex is a build up. With women, sex doesn’t begin at the start of foreplay, it begins from the moment they meet a man. So when her boyfriend has sex with another woman, she feels emotionally abandoned and betrayed. Rather than wonder if the other woman was better in bed, she’ll likely envy her for having a piece of what she believed to be hers: her boyfriend. She’ll feel as though her feelings were taken for granted or simply ignored altogether. Nothing worsens a woman’s heart more than finding out that she’s foolishly invested her emotions into a man.

Why it’s cheating: Whichever perspective, the act is ultimately cheating. A popular myth is that oral sex isn’t considered cheating. In my day, I’ve even used this line, however, even if by Webster’s definition of sex (intercourse) it may not fall under the same category, it indeed is cheating. Penetration or not, its inappropriate and is most definitely a form of sex. Hand jobs included too fellas.

Consensus: If you aren’t able or willing to commit to one sexual partner, please, do them a favor and tell them beforehand. It’ll save a lot of pain and suffering (and possible spreading of diseases and unwanted childbirths).

Going out with someone else

Type of Cheating: Social

In our society, having opposite sex friends is as common as a sunrise. However, if and when one has to shield this friend from their mate, or downplay their friendship, it becomes an issue. Once you’ve entered a relationship, maintaining certain activities become debatable. For example, if you choose to go out to dinner with the same sex friend, no harm. However, if you choose to go out to dinner with an opposite sex friend, it may be considered inappropriate.

Why it’s cheating: Sharing a meal, for example, is the most common form of getting to know someone. If it’s a group of people, the activity is much more acceptable however, if it’s only the two of you and they’re of the opposite sex, it’s highly inappropriate unless your mate is content with it. Now, this absolutely does not imply that you must obtain permission before proceeding further. It simply implies that out of respect and considerateness, you convey your intentions with your mate beforehand, not ask. If your mate has no issue with it, proceed at your own risk. If your mate does have an issue with it, proceed at your own risk. If you have a good mate, they won’t tell you what you can or can’t do, they’ll simply express their opinion and let you make your own decisions.

Consensus: Truthfully, as long as there’s trust between you two, no matter where you go or whom you’re with they’ll trust you to make the right decisions. The issue only arises if or when you choose to hide this activity from your mate. If you choose to have dinner, see a movie, get a drink or take a vacation with an opposite sex friend as well as hide it from your mate, it’s a violation of trust. Bottom line, communication is and will always be key.

Getting to know someone else

Type of Cheating: Respect

Throughout the day, you’ll cross paths with new people. Sometimes those people may be attractive and peak your interest. Usually there’s nothing wrong with that, but, if you’re in a relationship, you should handle those situations with delicacy. Of course, finding someone attractive and interesting isn’t a crime itself, but portraying yourself as available and denying you have a mate is most disrespectful.

Why it’s cheating: Friends are friends. When an individual’s mate approaches them about the opposite sex friend they’ve recently acquired, the response is the same: “they’re just a friend of mine”. This, typically, is downplaying the friendship. Problem is, they never came forward about this friend nor mentioned them voluntarily. In fact, they kept them a secret and it was only by chance that their mate even found out about them. When this happens, it’s usually because they may have some interest in the friend beyond the platonic environment. Otherwise, why hide it? Even more so, they never told their friend about their relationship either. This is a form of cheating because in way, what’s happened is that they’ve met someone, gotten to know them and may have even spent time with them. All of which are disrespectful to the relationship.

Consensus: Some have argued that until they have a ring on their finger, they’re free to do as they please. This phrase usually stems from women. The statement, in actuality, is true. Commitment runs deep. Marriage is the ultimate commitment. Nevertheless, not having a ring on your finger, men or women, doesn’t justify getting to know other people while in a relationship.

Remaining in contact with Ex’s

Type of Cheating: Trust

After a relationship ends, unless there were children involved, there are very few reasons to remain in contact with your Ex. Yes, you may have been friends prior to the failed relationship, however, once you’ve entered another relationship, it may be considered disrespectful to continue engaging with them. What makes matters worse are when you keep your contact with them a secret from your new mate.

If you two were together for years, there may possibly be a quick question or two you may need to ask them about a random situation. Sharing your life with someone for years may constitute that. However, that’s circumstantial and quite rare.

Why it’s cheating: Remaining in contact is considered cheating by technicality. Emotionally, more than likely you’ll always love your Ex. The problem is that remaining close strengthens those emotions thus creating anxiety between you and your new beau. And as emotions neglect logic, it may only be a matter of time before those emotions led to other things. Aside from that, your new mate should be the only person in your life on that level. Keeping a former contender present is nothing short of disrespectful.

Consensus: In some cases, the relationship may have ended on good enough terms where you two can remain good friends and even discuss your new relationships with one another. This two, runs a high risk of inappropriateness. Unless your mate is content with the contact between you two, it’s best to assume it’s a bad judgment call to remain in close contact. After all, it’s difficult to revert back to a platonic relationship after engaging in an intimate one. It’s very well possible, but difficult.

Even in situations where children were involved, the contact between you and your Ex should be limited. If the communication doesn’t have anything to do with the child, its likely unnecessary. In addition, whenever someone remains in close contact with their Ex, it usually a sign that they aren’t entirely over them. In such cases, as they say: “three’s a party”. If you can’t let your Ex go, maybe your mate should let you go so that you can sort out whatever still lingers between you two.

Omission

Type of Cheating: Betrayal

One of the most common phrases in a bad relationship is “omission is betrayal”. Many people argue their position in regards to this phrase but lets break it down in its most basic iteration.

When someone says that omission is betrayal, it implies that due to the fact that you’ve knowingly allowed your mate to believe false information, you’ve betrayed their trust. Your mate trusts you to be honest with them and to come forward with everything. So when you choose to omit details that you know will be unwelcomed and consequential, you’ve manipulated their trust as well as insulted their intelligence.

Why it’s cheating: This is considered cheating because you agreed to be forthcoming with everything to include your activities. So when you purposely keep information to yourself simply because “they didn’t ask”, you’re breaking your word.

For example, if you were to meet a woman and begin to get to know one another, you’d eventually date and go further. If somewhere along the lines that person finds out you had a girlfriend the entire time and when confronted, you simply said: “Well, you never asked”, you’ve deceived that woman. True enough, they may have never asked, but to journey along and act in a manner that implies availability is quite the form of deceit. Over the course of time, there were likely several opportunities to disclose this information so when you choose to remain silent and elude the topic, it’s just as bad a lying. This is especially true if they said aloud that they believed you to be single and you failed to speak up. Also, proclaiming to be a “private” person is no justification to conceal information from someone either.

Another example, a woman cheats on her boyfriend on her trip out of town. When she returns, her boyfriend asks how was her trip and she simply says “it was fine”. He later finds out that she cheated and she says in her defense “you never asked if I had sex with anyone while I was out of town”. Clearly, no one would know to ask exact questions such as these. In addition, when someone claims that it wasn’t lying because you never asked, it’s simply a guilty person’s attempt at justifying the inappropriate behavior.

Consensus: Ultimately, if you feel it’s even necessary to wonder or ask your mate questions such as those, maybe the trust isn’t as strong as you once believed it to be in the first place. It may be time to reevaluate the relationship altogether.

Closing remarks

Bottom line, whenever you have to hide something from your mate, your actions are unacceptable. Many like to use the excuse “I’m didn’t tell you because I knew you’d get upset”. Well, if you knew they wouldn’t approve, why’d you do it? Whenever your behavior wouldn’t be the same behavior you would have if your mate were standing right next to you, it’s likely wrong. Whenever you have to delete call logs/texts/emails or create a story and alibi, the same rules apply.

Bear in mind, if you aren’t technically in a relationship, none of the above items apply. The only responsibility you would have is to be honest and open with whomever you engage with. But once you’ve agreed to divest your time, affection and love into each other, there are certain expectations that generate. If one is unsure what those expectations are, as with all matters of relationships, communicate. Ensure you both are on the same page, it’ll save a lot of heartache and conflict.