Where Is The Line Drawn With Cheating?

I always thought: anything you wouldn't want your significant other to catch you doing with someone else was cheating. But that's a little unforgiving.

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A few weeks ago, a friend told me that her married friend was seeing her ex-boyfriend, but there was "nothing physical about it". Considering her husband did not know she was seeing her ex-boyfriend, I still considered it shady. It got me wondering, outside of shacking up with someone else, what constitutes cheating? I always thought: anything you wouldn't want your significant other to catch you doing with someone else was cheating. But that's a little unforgiving. There are a lot of things that could be considered "cheating," but we may not agree on them all.

What is your opinion on the following possibilities:


I'll be the first to admit that I own so much porn that I have "organizing sessions" where I delete and file it on the computer. Guys are very matter-of-fact about porn, and it's part of our lives before we ever get into a serious relationship.

It becomes an issue when porn becomes a bigger part of someone's sex life than their significant other. An old girlfriend of mine didn't have sex as much as I wanted to, but I didn't confront her. I ended up turning to porn instead. It probably would have been more productive to confront her in a constructive way,but i took a different way out. But, because porn helps satisfy sexual urges, one could argue that this alternate source of release helps prevent cheating.

An "Online Companion"

Suppose your significant other meets someone online. They begin communicating more and more, and eventually it gets romantic. This might even graduate to phone conversations or a clandestine meeting.

Connecting with another person romantically, even if it begins online, is a form of cheating in my book. The very nature of building a relationship through conversation adds a spiritual/mental component to the relationship beyond physical attraction.

Seeing An Ex

This has a lot to do with how much your significant other knows. Plenty of exes remain in our lives as friends, but it becomes an issue when we see them in secret. Even if nothing serious happens, there is potential for old flames to rise again. And, if it's totally innocent, there's no reason to avoid telling your significant other that you are hanging out with your ex.

A "Work Spouse"

My married friend was telling me about a person at work they'd "love to have sex with". They work together on many projects, get drinks after work, and have become close personal friends. In work situations, it's inevitable that people will get close. They have a lot in common, feel the same pain from the annoying boss, and go to one another for support in the office and in life outside the office.

The "work spouse" is a common phenomenon. My friend Margaret is my "work wife" but it's completely platonic. We argue like husband and wife. She supports me with advice and even fixed a hole in my jeans once (I really can't sew). As long as it remains platonic,"work spouse" relationships are rewarding and strong.


Fantasizing/thinking about other people is natural and there's nothing we can do about it. There are thoughts, then words, then actions. As long as thoughts remain thoughts and don't evolve into actions, there shouldn't be a problem. I'm sure all of my girlfriends have thought of someone else while we were dating. I just do my best not to worry about it and, as long as I don't know about it about I'm fine (unless she's fantasizing about someone annoying like John Mayer- I just can't have that).

It's easier, sometimes, to vent to someone else instead of addressing a difficult issue about your relationship with your significant other. It's a good policy to steer clear from speaking to friends of the opposite gender about weaknesses in your relationship. Your best friend should also be your significant other, so why not bring up deep issues concerning your relationship directly to your them and work on it all together?

What other activities would you say could be considered cheating, but may not be considered cheating? Which of the above would you consider cheating?

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