4 Types Of Cheating, Defined

Cheating is one of those things that for a lot of people means the end of a relationship. While it’s easy to say that objectively, if you’ve ever been cheated on—or been the one doing the cheating—you know it’s rarely as black and white as you think it’s going to be. With polyamory becoming more mainstream, there are plenty of people who have no intention of being monogamous, ever. Of course, finding someone who is on the same page is the key to having the type of relationship you want, monogamous or not.

Polyamory aside, there are a few different things that are considered to be “cheating” by many. Whether they are breakup-able offences or not is up to individual interpretation and circumstances, but if you’re doing one of these four things, be prepared that your significant other is probably not going to just let it slide.

A one-time thing
Cheating via a one night stand can happen in a few different ways. Maybe you had a couple too many tequila shots at your friend’s birthday party and you ended up back at a girl’s apartment and things escalated from there. Maybe you hooked up with a friend of a friend, or maybe you kissed a co-worker during happy hour. Whatever it was, you probably didn’t plan it ahead of time and the regret set in as soon as you sobered up.

Objectively, the right thing to do is come clean, but there is a pretty good chance your partner isn’t going to care very much when you insist it meant nothing. Once trust has been broken, rebuilding it is a long, uphill battle. Be prepared to be completely transparent with your plans and whereabouts from now on. You got yourself into this situation so if you care to fix the damage you’ve done, you’ll be understanding of her need to keep close tabs on you—at least for a little while.

Emotional wandering
To some, an emotional affair is 100 times worse than a physical one. It’s more common for women to make emotional connections with people other than their significant others, but men do it too. When you aren’t getting something from your relationship, it’s only natural to feel like you need to look elsewhere—and emotional affairs tend to sneak up on you. You think, well if it doesn’t cross the line into physical, it’s not cheating. But if you’re going out of your way to talk to someone, get to know someone and be near someone that isn’t your significant other, it has officially crossed beyond platonic.

Your significant other is supposed to be the one you share your feelings with, the one you talk to about everything, and the one you turn to for support. There’s nothing wrong with having close bonds with friends, but if there is a possibility for a romantic connection to grow out of your friendship and you continue to go down that path, it could 100% be considered a form of cheating.

Multiple indiscretions
When you’re going out without your significant other and looking for a chance to cheat, that’s a step above a one time thing. You’re actually hoping to meet someone else and have no intention of keeping it in your pants. Whether you feel guilty after cheating and vow to never do it again or have come to accept your unhealthy cheating cycle as the status quo, you should consider how you would feel if you found out that your partner was out cheating on you every change they got. If the thought doesn’t phase you, it may be time to re-evaluate the whole monogamy thing.

If the thought of them cheating on you upsets you, you only have one option. Come clean and hope you can work things out—but don’t count on it. You’ve broken trust not only once but multiple times and that’s a lot harder to come back from than a one-time thing. If you care about your significant other, it may be better to just let them go.

A full-on affair
Carrying on two relationships at once is no easy feat. It takes planning and multiple levels of deception from little white lies about who you’re texting during dinner to full-blown fictional narratives about what you’re doing for the long weekend. If you are lying on a daily basis to one or both of your partners, there’s no doubt about it: you’re having an affair. Whether your affair comes complete with paranoia, guilt and constant shame or not, you need to take a close look at what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

Do you really want to be in a relationship? Are you cheating because you’re looking for a way out? Do you have stronger feelings for the person you’re cheating with or are they just a convenient means to an end? None of these questions are easy, but neither is taking a hard look at yourself and admitting that you have some issues you need to deal with. If you want to sleep around, you’re free to be single, so maybe consider that before you continue to waste someone’s time with a relationship you clearly don’t care about.

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick

Courtney Hardwick is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on AmongMen.com, 29secrets.com, therichest.com, and ELLECanada.com.  When she isn’t writing about relationships, and the best TV shows and books you should really already know about, she is working on her novel. She hopes to have it published by 2025. You can follow her on Twitter @Courtooo.

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