Cheating or not?

What is Classed as Cheating? (And Reasons Why People Do It)

Many people view cheating in a relationship differently. What one couple might consider cheating, another might not. As with most things in a relationship, the truth is more complicated than you might think.

Some people may feel that their partner has cheated because they’ve picked up the phone and chatted with an ex. For others, the line begins and ends with sex.

And the reasons why people cheat can be just as complex and knotted as the feelings that people have about it. So, let’s dive into this complicated subject.

So, What is Classed as Cheating?

It’s not easy to give a straight answer to “what is classed as cheating in a relationship?” when there’s not an absolute firm definition of what cheating is.

Cheating often comes down to how the people in the relationship perceive it. It can be:

  • Sex with someone else
  • Emotional intimacy with someone else
  • Breaking trust by maintaining contact with other people
  • Having a cyber affair
  • Flirting and micro-cheating
  • Watching pornography

As you can see, there’s a real range here, and there are a lot of grey areas.

A big part of what it boils down to is this sense of connection with someone else and a broken trust between the two partners. 

couple enjoying each others company

Emotional Cheating vs Physical Cheating

A lot of people see cheating as a purely physical act. If you have sex with someone else, that makes you a cheat, right?

But emotional cheating – or emotional infidelity – is just as common as a physical affair, and the reasons for it can be just as complex.

While physical cheating can be about fulfilling a sexual need, an emotional affair can be about needing to feel close to someone on a deeper level. 

You can generally tell emotional infidelity apart from simple friendship because your interactions often involve some sexual tension or romantic attraction.” – Healthline

Emotional Cheating Texting Examples

One of the most common ways for people to cheat emotionally is via text or an online dating site. It makes sense, as it’s easy to keep private, and it can feel like much lower stakes than meeting someone in person.

Let’s break down ten examples of emotional cheating texting: 

Examples of Emotional Cheating Text Message
I can’t stop thinking about you.
I miss the way it was.
You know me better than anyone else.
You make me feel like no one else does.
I know I shouldn’t be messaging you.
I can be myself when I’m talking to you.
I wonder what it would be like if we were together.
What are you wearing?
I really miss you.
I’m so confused about how I feel.

As you can see, there’s a big range in the types of messages that are being sent, from flirtatious and directly referencing a relationship to implying that what they have is different to what the texter has with their partner.

What is clear through all these messages is that the sender would probably not want their partner to see them.

secret texting

3 Signs Your Partner Might Be Seeing Somebody

It can be a big shock when you think that your partner might be seeing someone else. Sometimes it comes out of the blue, but there are often warning signs that something’s not right. 

Your partner’s behaviour will probably change if they are cheating. Let’s have a look at how. 

1. They Suddenly Become Distant

Your partner may become less emotionally connected to you if they are cheating. This is because their focus is elsewhere. 

Now, there are lots of reasons why someone may become distant suddenly, but it’s worth keeping an eye on, especially if you notice these other warning signs. 

2. They Are More Secretive Than Usual

Secrecy is rarely a part of a trusting relationship, especially if it suddenly escalates. Your partner might suddenly decide that they don’t want you looking at their phone, for example. 

They might be secretive about where they’re going or what they’re doing. They might not want to talk about their night out with their friends.

3. You Catch Them Lying

Catching your partner in a lie is one of the classic ways of finding out that they’ve been cheating. The biggest example of this is if you find that they’ve lied about where they’ve been and who they’ve been seeing.

But the lie might not be as big as that. It might be lying about something mundane, and that’s a sign that their guard is up and they are concealing something bigger. 

catching partner

Why Do People Cheat?

A lot of people want to know why when they find out that their partner has been cheating, and that’s perfectly understandable.

There are lots of different reasons why people cheat. Some people cheat because they are not having their needs met, whether that’s sexually or emotionally.

Some people cheat because they like the sense of danger and adventure. They want their encounters to be risky and exciting. But it’s just as common for people to cheat because they feel lonely and isolated.

And sometimes, people cheat because they feel like they aren’t ready for a long-term, committed relationship. They might feel trapped or that they haven’t done enough with their life yet.

Is it Possible to Still Love Your Partner if They Cheat?

The answer to this question is always going to be up to the individual who has been cheated on. There’s no right or wrong answer here. 

The important thing to remember is that you are entitled to whatever you are feeling. Your feelings about the relationship and your romantic partner are still valid. 

It’s perfectly possible, and indeed fine, to still love your partner if they cheat. And it’s fine not to, too.

Is it Possible for Your Cheating Partner to Still Love You?

The easiest answer to this would be “No, of course not!” wouldn’t it? But that would be wrong. 

There are so many reasons why people cheat and so many different situations where it might happen. But cheating on someone does not mean that you don’t still love them.

A lot of people cheat because they don’t feel like they can talk to their partner about what they need, but they love them and don’t want to leave them. 

The user stories at Illicit Encounters are full of these kinds of tales. It’s about the cheater as much as it is about the person who’s been cheated on.

What to Do if Your Partner Has Cheated

There’s no one right course of action if you find out that your partner has been cheated.

The first thing to do is to give yourself some time to process your feelings about this. Be kind to yourself, and do not assume blame for anything that’s happened. Your partner is responsible for their actions. 

You should talk to your partner if you find out that they have cheated. Tell them what you know and ask for honesty in return. 

It may help to understand why your partner has cheated and what they were looking for. This may be something that you can work on together in future. Make it clear that you need to be able to trust them if you want to carry on your relationship.

Unhappy couple

Conclusion: What is Actually Considered Cheating?

Cheating comes in many forms, and it happens for many reasons. We’ve covered a lot of them here and shown that it’s more complicated than you might think.

It’s not just a partner having a sexual relationship with someone else. Emotional cheating is about having that intimacy with another person, a secret closeness that needs to be kept hidden.

You may have your own definition of cheating, but remember that your feelings about it are valid. The reasons for cheating are messy sometimes, and they don’t mean that there’s no love in your relationship. 

It’s up to you to decide what to do about it. 


What is Classed as Cheating in a Relationship?

Cheating is often considered to be a purely physical act, but it can also be emotional. For some people, emotional cheating, like messaging suggestive things to a third party, could be considered cheating.

What Does Cheating Say About a Person?

Cheating essentially says that the person is not happy in their current situation. They may be a serial cheater, but they may also have needs (physical or emotional) that aren’t being met. 

Is It Possible to Be in Love With Two People?

It’s absolutely possible to be in love with two people. However, people have different concepts of what love is and whether it should be a strictly monogamous thing. Setting boundaries with your partner is important. 

Is Cheating Bad?

Cheating covers such a lot of ground that it’s hard to pin a good or bad definition on it, and it’s not particularly useful, either. Some people find that cheating allows them to keep their primary relationship. But it’s important to consider the feelings of the partner.

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