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What constitutes cheating?

by TheGuysPerspective (writer), USA, March 12, 2010

It seems we all have different opinions on what constitutes cheating in a relationship. All I can say is it's complicated!

The topic of cheating seems to come up a lot when relationships are being discussed. It's one of those topics that cuts to the core and often elicits a visceral reaction with the people discussing it.

These are the kind of topics that THE GUYS like to discuss. Meaningful topics that we can shed some light on and give our point of view.

But keep in mind, just because we're all guys doesn't mean we all agree, or that we're cut from the same cloth. Guys are individuals too, we take umbrage with our portrayal as sports loving, skirt chasing, knuckleheads, who aren't in touch with ourselves and our thoughts, feelings and emotions. In fact, we are all of those things, yes, complete knuckleheads too, combined in a dirty little package that we've been told, "cleans up well."

So this week, THREE of THE GUYS will be giving their opinions on the topic of cheating.

As always, we welcome your thoughts and reactions. Feel free to disagree(we know you will), agree(we know you might) or share your personal experiences.

Part One:

From "One of The Guys"

Up until I read the "158 Pound Marriage" by John Irving, I thought cheating was pretty cut and dry. Cheating meant breaking your commitment with your girlfriend, partner or wife and having some sort of physical/sexual contact with another person. End of story. Cut. That's a wrap!

But is it really that simple? This cheating thing?

That book got me thinking more about the subject and I began to ask myself questions that I no longer had the answers for.

For Example:

Is flirting cheating? Or wishing you could go home with another person even if you don't take action?

Is it cheating when a person has an emotional connection with a friend that somehow competes with the current relationship that person is in?

Is it cheating to fantasize about having sex with another person?

What type of physical contact is cheating? A kiss? A full body hug? What?

Once I started digging deeper and talking to my male and female friends, I realized every single person has a different definition of what cheating is for them. I mean EVERYONE has their own set of rules.

Here is one example:

The Extreme Black and White

This friend of mine had basically broken up with his girlfriend, or I should say, she pretty much broke up with him. But they never actually had "the talk."

He said to me, "But how do I know it's really over?"

I said, "She left the country and moved back home. (To Europe) I think it's OK to start dating again."

He said, "No, I need to wait and officially break up with her."

I said, "But who knows when that will happen. She doesn't even answer your phone calls." (Before email became the way to communicate.)

And sure enough, almost nine months went by before he actually talked to her and had the official "talk." And by that time, she was already engaged to someone else!!! (Major eye roll by me. Duh!!!)

Another Example:

Mr. Cool

This buddy's opinion was, if he and his girlfriend weren't engaged to be married, he was free to do whatever.

I said, "But isn't that cheating? Sleeping with other women? I mean aren't you committed to her? Don't you love her?"

He said, "Well, I guess so, but there are too many beautiful women out there for me to just be with one."

I said, "Well, then why don't you just break up with her and sleep around?"

He said, "Nah, I like having a girlfriend."

I said, "So it must be OK if she plays the field too? You guys have an open relationship then?" (Of course, I have no idea what that really means)

He said, "Hell no!! If she ever cheated on me, I'd dump her so fast."

I said, "Hmmm..............."

After having many more conversations like these two, I realized that WHY people cheat has everything to do with them, and who they are, and how they were raised, or weren't raised, or what experiences have shaped them, and little to do with the person they are cheating on.

If they're the kind of person that's going to cheat, it doesn't matter whom their with, they're going to cheat. Simple as that.

But the last piece I'd like to touch upon is VOWS and how they play a part in cheating.

When two people get married they usually say their vows out loud in front of a few witnesses or possibly hundreds. And both people make promises to be true to each other on many levels.

So when discussing cheating, the question becomes, when are the vows actually broken?

Is it only when someone has sexual contact with another person that the vows are broken?

Or are they broken when someone pulls away emotionally?

I know guys who have cheated because their spouses won't have sex with them. I'm not excusing this or condoning it, I'm stating a fact. In my mind, I think they're cheating, but in their minds, their wives have already broken their vows, and now they feel free to explore other ways to get their needs met. I mention this because Guys discuss this a lot. And yes, over beers and a game. (That's where the stereotypes come in.)

Of course, the whole time we're talking about this I hear the voices of my female friends streaming through my head:

"Well why won't they have sex with you?
What are you doing that's causing them to pull away physically?
Do you ever just hug them without it leading to sex?
Or talk to them?
Or help around the house?
Or deal with the kids when they're out of freakin' control?"

But I don't always say what I'm thinking. Sometimes it's easier to just nod and watch the game.

But bottom line. It's complicated.

So I'm wondering where do you stand on the subject of cheating? Please share.



About the Writer

TheGuysPerspective is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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3 comments on What constitutes cheating?

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By ranfuchs on March 13, 2010 at 03:35 pm

I like that you presented it as a complicated issue. In older days things were simple, marriage and family were well defined. In US nowadays nothing is well defined. The first question is not why we cheat, but why we get married, why we get a girlfriend, what is that makes us do something that in the past had economical and social role, but now this role has changed if not diminished.

There are no universal rules in our society, there is no way you can judge others. Each case is different, and this is the way we need to look at it. With an open mind.

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By TheGuysPerspective on March 14, 2010 at 01:49 pm

@Ed.......yes. If the question is even present, the guy should just stay single.

@ranfuchs.....until you walk in someone else's shoes, it's impossible to know what's really going on for them and their relationship.

@askcherlock........I'm definitely a one woman guy, so I agree, but I also know that sometimes people get stuck in situations that are hard to get out of. Relationships that take an unpredictable turn. In those cases, it's difficult to say what's right and what's wrong. It's how we define vows that determine whether or not cheating is actually happening. But I love an old fashioned girl!!

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By MUGISHO N.THEOPHILE on March 15, 2010 at 05:32 am

Indeed, this is complicated as you foretold it. Cheating exists among all people and it is real though not easy to explain. This is due to the fact that it is the state of mind, a behavior that can be unlearned. In friendship, this is commonplace and maybe, the other sex is very attracting that you feel is better to go mad and so....but this hutrs the other partner indeed.

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