When we enter into a committed relationship with another person, we are promising them fidelity and faithfulness. We are asking them to trust us with their love and emotional well-being. If they accept us into their hearts, they will have expectations about our faithfulness to them in many aspects. How far does this faithfulness extend? Is everything black and white or are there some gray areas that may or may not be considered cheating, all depending on who you are with? These are questions that many of us have found ourselves asking from time to time and there is no one cut and dried answer that works for every relationship.
While to one person, a small amount of flirtation may be looked at as harmless, whereas another may see it as a breach of trust and indeed, as cheating. There are people in this world who seem to be naturally flirtatious. It is a part of who they are. For these people, their behavior is innocent and they may not even realize that they are engaging in a flirtation at all. If they decide to enter into a relationship with someone who does not see the behavior in the same way, the relationship is probably going to be doomed from the start. Their partner will undoubtedly be hurt by the flirting, no matter how it is perceived by the person doing it or the recipient.
For me personally, cheating does not have to involve the physical act of sex. It can be a simple kiss, hand holding, an embrace or any other touch that has an intimate insinuation. There are some times, however, that any of these things can be done without any infidelity being committed whatsoever. For example, if my husband sees an old friend from high school and gives her a brief hug, this is not cheating. If he holds her for an unnecessarily long time time and runs his hand up and down her back, however, I would be a bit uneasy and may see this as something that is not appropriate at all.
Cheating may involve no touching at all. With the age of advancing technology, we have seen the act of "cyber-sex" become a problem. There may just be chatting online or there may be photos exchanged. The two people engaging in this relationship over the internet may also own webcams and be able to see one another in action. This is definitely cheating in my book.
There are other times that cheating involves no touching, no looking in sexual ways, nothing that can be directly seen as sexual at all. It is, however, very intimate. This is a gray area that each person will judge for themselves and it may differ from situation to situation. If I meet a man and begin to share with him the intimate details of my life that I should be sharing with my husband, he is essentially taking a position in my life that I committed to another. My marriage will suffer due to this and I will be taking something from my relationship that should not be removed. Is this cheating? To me, it would be. To the next person, it may not.
Some people feel that the act of looking at another person is cheating. Most often, this is only applicable if the person being looked at is in a full or partial state of undress or is engaged in a sexual activity. This usually is a pornography issue, whether it is in magazines, movies or online. There are some who become so addicted to pornography in one manner or another that it severely affects their sexual relationship with their partner, occasionally ending it entirely.
When deciding on a person that you want to commit to and promise faithfulness to, the most important thing is to communicate beforehand. Find out where the lines are drawn in their opinion, between cheating and flirting or any other act. Because there are so many areas that various people see differently, this is essential. Otherwise, you may end up being called a cheater or feeling cheated on when there was no harm meant at all. When that happens, all you have done is wasted time and maybe even had your heart broken, all because there was no discussion and mutual understanding from the onset.