In the 2003 motion picture, Anger Management, Jack Nicholson plays Dr. Buddy Rydell who is assigned to help Dave Buznik (Adam Sandler) control his anger. In one scene, Nicholson tries to tempt Sandler into hitting-on a girl at a bar. Sandler who already has a girlfriend responds with “Flirting is cheating’s first cousin, Buddy!” But is it?
What constitutes cheating?
Is cheating kissing or sleeping with someone? What are the boundaries? And is cheating only physical or can there also be, “emotional cheating”?
Take the quiz and then compare your answers with my responses, explanations and reasoning further below.
|IS IT CHEATING?||YES||NO|
|1. You French kiss a co-worker at an office party?|
|2. You kiss the stripper at your bachelor party?|
|3. You (the woman) kiss another woman?|
|4. You watch adult movies on your own?|
|5. You go out for dinner with someone who you know is interested in you?|
|6. If you have phone sex?|
|7. If you excessively use MySpace, talking to people of the opposite sex?|
|8. If you have sex while on a break from a relationship?|
|9. If you are in a casual but sexually exclusive relationship and you date other people but don’t have sex?|
|10. You secretly talk to your EX?|
|11. You undress and put to bed your drunk friend?|
|12. You hang out with a friend topless on beach?|
|13. You go to a nude beach?|
|14. You dirty dance with a friend or stranger – touching and grinding each other?|
For most people, the term cheating refers to being sexually unfaithful but the dictionary also defines cheating as deceiving someone. In a committed relationship, the definition of cheating needs to be clearly determined and defined by each partner, and acceptable to both. For example, some couples are OK with a partner flirting and even kissing someone else – of either sex. Sit down now and have that tough and uncomfortable conversation about what each of you defines as cheating. It is better to have it now and establish your values, standards and expectations rather than to have the conversation after the fact when one of you is truly and deeply hurt, and when it might be too late to rescue the relationship! Also, in some of the scenarios in the quiz above, it may not be a case of clear cheating but it might still be wrong and hurtful!Now let’s explore each of the above questions in detail:
1. You French kiss a co-worker at an office party?
Yes, this is cheating – kissing is not just a physical act, it also creates an emotional response, particularly in women.
2. You kiss the stripper at your bachelor party?
The same applies here. Also, a bachelor party does not grant free license to do anything you want because you justify it as your last fling. Commitment begins when you commit to the other person, not just when you sign the marriage papers or move-in.
3. You (the woman) kiss another woman?
Most women will decide if they will sleep with someone based on how he/she kisses. In other words, the kiss has great significance and meaning for a woman, so, yes, it is cheating.
4. You watch adult movies on your own?
Men will argue that sex is sex and it has no meaning for them beyond the physical feelings or attraction. However, repeated fantasizing about someone else, and repeated exposure to the adult movie world, creates false expectations of one’s partner. In other words, the sexual fantasy can be just as damaging to the relationship as the real sexual act. Beware also of how often you are watching these movies. If it is on a regular basis and you are doing it instead of being with your partner – you may need help. Yes, it is cheating –if you do it on a regular basis.
5. You go out for dinner with someone who you know is interested in you?
It seems harmless and maybe your intentions are sincere but it can easily lead to cheating when you need a shoulder to cry-on, you are vulnerable or your partner has hurt you and you want to get him/her back. Remember, spending time with someone and doing things together leads to bonding and thus you are building a relationship – even if it is not at first, a romantic one. Also, if you know that the other person is seriously interested in you beware that you do not hurt the other person by leading them on. And guys: beware that if a woman wants you, she may use a variety of deceptive practices to win you over – even if you are taken!
6. If you have phone sex?
Yes, it is cheating. You are speaking with a real person even if you may have not met them and you are fantasizing and connecting with them – not your partner. You are giving that person energy and attention and taking it away from your partner.
7. If you excessively use MySpace, talking to people of the opposite sex?
Why do you need to spend so much time talking to other people online? What are you talking about? It is obvious that something is missing in your relationship. It may not begin as cheating but will most likely lead to physical cheating. Also, it is a form of emotional cheating.
8. If you have sex while on a break from a relationship?
Both of you must decide upfront what you expect from each other during the break and the purpose of the break/time apart. If one partner says to the other, “I want to” or “We need to see other people” then it is not cheating.
9. If you are in a casual but sexually exclusive relationship and you date other people but don’t have sex?
If you both agree to this action, then it is fine, otherwise, yes, it is cheating. You are still looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right and seeking to establish the emotional connection first.
10. You secretly talk to your EX?
Yes, it is cheating because you are deceiving your partner.
11. You undress and put to bed your drunk friend?
It is not cheating as long as all you did is put your friend to bed – and you didn’t climb in with her. (Most guys don’t care about sleeping fully dressed, on the floor, when they are drunk, so this situation usually only applies to women!)
12. You hang out with a friend topless on the beach?
This is a cultural issue. In Europe, most women sunbathe topless. In America, being topless is a big issue – to women. It is not cheating, unless the both of you begin to drink and party together on the beach and she asks you to rub suntan lotion on her chest…and you oblige!
13. You go to a nude beach?
Most guys don’t go to a nude beach – except to watch women naked, so yes, for men, the intention is cheating. In other words, it would be a rare sight to see a group of straight guys naked at a nude beach, just hanging around having a beer or two, and throwing the Frisbee to each other!
14. You dirty dance with a friend or stranger – touching and grinding each other?
Women express themselves via body language more than men do. Thus, dancing can be a real turn-on for women, particularly when the dancing becomes sexual, so yes, it is cheating. If you are still not sure, ask yourself, “Would you dirty dance with your mother or mother-in-law?”
Yes, there is sexual and emotional cheating and either one can be hurtful. There are five core emotions that drive our behavior: love, hate, fear, lust and pleasure. In other words, base on these emotions, we will at one time or another be tempted to do something such as express physical anger or hatred or, respond to feelings of lust. And if we were to give into every feeling or impulse we might have, anarchy would rule the world.
We also need to understand and accept that we will feel an attraction to other people throughout our lives and we will also experience powerful connections with people other than our romantic partner but we do not always need to act upon those attractions or urges. The distinction is purely choice: honor, loyalty and commitment!
THE FINAL WORD
Take a deep look into your present relationship and decide clearly if you want to be in a relationship with this person or not. And if you don’t want to continue the relationship, then choose now to walk away before betraying your partner. Don’t do things that are selfish, deceitful and extremely hurtful to the other person. You always have the power to say, “No.” Discuss with your partner what is missing in the relationship rather than look outside to fulfill it. And if you make the choice to cheat and betray your partner and relationship, you will ultimately hurt yourself, feeling ashamed, guilty and confused. Anytime you do anything that goes against your integrity, you will lower your self-esteem and self-image, you will feel bad about yourself and you will feel less inclined to trust others in the future because you will be fearful that your future partner might one day also betray you.
A client of mine, Jackie, complained that her present relationship fell apart because her partner became so jealous, possessive and untrusting. Why and how did this happen? She and he had been married at the time they met and they both cheated on their spouses before finally leaving their spouse to be with each other. It is not surprising that the basis and foundation of their relationship was what they were left with. They couldn’t trust each other because they knew in their core and based on their past behavior, they both had lied, cheated and betrayed their partner.
Finally, a committed relationship is about love, honor, respect, honesty and trust. Anything that you do that goes against that type of commitment can be defined as cheating!