Define Cheating

How Do You Define Cheating In a Relationship?

What Is And Isn’t Cheating In a Relationship? Reader Question: According to my spouse, there is nothing wrong

What Is And Isn’t Cheating In a Relationship?

Reader Question:

According to my spouse, there is nothing wrong with “innocent flirtations,” or having members of the opposite genre as close friends. He constantly flirts with our female friends and has told me of conversations he has with female co-workers about intimate aspects of our marriage. He says I overreact and am insecure.

It feels like cheating to me though and I am very hurt by it. Am I being unreasonable?


If it feels like cheating, infidelity, or adultery to you, then it is. Infidelity and cheating are a betrayal of the expectations you have of your partner. Especially when it concerns his or her contact and relationship with a member of the opposite genre.

If you and your spouse have talked about this subject and you have openly expressed to him/her that you are uncomfortable with flirting and close friendships with members of the opposite genre, he/she should respect your feelings on the matter.

It’s difficult to define what constitutes cheating and infidelity because people have differing opinions on the subject and what they consider appropriate or inappropriate behavior from a spouse. It’s especially difficult if this wasn’t a subject the two of you discussed before marriage.

Some people think it is wrong for their spouse to:

  • Flirt with a member of the opposite genre.
  • Giving gifts to a member of the opposite genre unless they are a relative.
  • Chatting online with a member of the opposite genre.
  • Sharing personal information and emotional feelings with someone other than their spouse.

The only way to define cheating and infidelity is if you feel your expectations of your spouse have been violated. When your expectations are not being met the emotional outcome is feelings of betrayal. If those are the feelings you are having, then, yes, your spouse is cheating.

Here is where you might have a problem, though. Most couples don’t discuss this issue in great detail. They may express to the other that cheating or infidelity is not acceptable but, they do not define what constitutes cheating or infidelity in their minds.

I suggest you sit down and have a discussion with your spouse and you both come to an agreement as far as what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior as far as contact with a member of the opposite genre.

It won’t be an easy discussion, especially since his view differs from your view on the subject. He may find it hard to view from your perspective or, feel that you are over-reacting. Regardless of how he responds when you share your feelings, they are your feelings and you may have to learn to live with the fact that he isn’t going to validate them and change his behavior.

You can’t force someone to adopt the same viewpoint but you can express the hurt caused by their behavior.

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