Exercise Self-Control
I give Leah Peterson odd advice.

Call for Opinions: What is your minimum definition of cheating?

I received a comment on a five-year-old post about cheating at The Peevery. What is your minimum definition of cheating? Where is the line between cheating and inappropriate behavior?

This is what I think, but I want to know what you think.

I am now forced to broaden my definition of cheating... If you are in an exclusive relationship and you have a conversation or an encounter with someone else, if you cannot recount that conversation word for word to your partner or you cannot describe that encounter to your partner in detail without discomfort, then you have behaved inappropriately. It's like foreplay to cheating and it is going to earn you a punch in the mouth if your partner is me.

Read the whole post: Exploratory Poonani



Sounds about right to me.


I have to agree with your definition.

Some people think flirting is harmless even if you are already in a relationship. Really? If your SO saw you doing that would they get pissed? Would you if you saw them?


I don't think flirting is necessarily NOT harmless. I think it's more the intent behind the flirting that's the issue.

Karla Kay

It might be impossible to have a universal definition of cheating. In a legal sense, I belive "infidelity" has to include a physical relationship. But "cheating" can be used in so many different situations (cheating on a test, cheating death, cheating on your spouse, emotional cheating.) I think you just have to have a discussion with your significant other about what makes you uncomfortable or what is a "deal-breaker." Personally, I wouldn't mind if my SO flirted with other people or looked at porn or went to strip clubs, as long as I had the leeway to do the same, but I would draw the line at physical intimacy. SFChick74 pointed out that most people would be pissed if they saw their SO flirting with someone else, but I'd also be pissed if my husband never took the trash out; that doesn't mean he cheated. But I agree that flirting can be harmful if it's already been discussed by a couple that it would be hurtful or inappropriate for their relationship.

In reference to the above description about recounting a conversation word for word, sometimes it's not just the content of the conversation, it's the body language and nuance that makes it flirtatious. I was also wondering, what if you weren't flirting, but you were attracted to someone else? Is it OK to have a feeling if you don't act on it? Should you keep that feeling to yourself or admit it to your SO? It's pretty hard to stop yourself from being attracted to someone, even if you never flirt and never cheat.


My husband is a big-time flirt and tends to be very physical. I know his demeanor sounds creepy, but it reminds me more of a European man. He's been the exact same way since I met him, so I do not expect him to change. He is also fiercely loyal, , but if I felt remotely uncomfortable, I would tell him. I'm also a flirt, and we regularly tell each other about our interactions with others.

After reading this comment, it sounds like a really odd situation and only matter of time before one of us "cheats," but it works for us, and I have no discomfort. My vote is that you have to be 100% honest with your SO, and whatever works for you is good by me.


I'm a cheater. Boohoo.

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