41 answers

What Is Your Definition of Cheating in a Relationship?

My live-in boyfriend and I have different definitions of cheating. Before I say what each of us think the definition is- here are the things we are dealing with. First off - both of us think that having a friend of the opposite sex is fine... When you hide that 'friend' or that you are talking to/texting that person at all hours of the day and night from your significant other- is that cheating? Is telling that other person that you love them (even if you have never met them in person), is that cheating? Carrying on a relationship (talking/texting) with a person that has said they loved you and your SO knows this and has asked you not to have any contact with that person, and you continue doing it and hiding it, is that cheating? Or is cheating defined only as having sex/physical attention?

Any answer will be helpful. Thanks!

UPDATE - this is a second shot at this relationship. We were apart for a year, and yes - this happened the first time around. He says that "if I tell you I am talking to a friend that is a girl then you will loose it so I don't tell you". I tell him - not telling me is when I loose it b/c not telling me means you are hiding something. He deletes all messages as he responds to them or as they come in and deletes his call log on his phone - that is hiding the relationship in my book.The girl he said he loved - he met online when we were apart and continued the relationship after we got back together. He had asked her to move to the house he just bought (she lives in CA) then was very mean and rude to her so they quite speaking. He called me and we got back together and my kids and I moved to his house. The day after I moved in I found out he was texting/calling a different girl I didn't know about. He said 'I have never met her and we just talk, what's the big deal?' I told him it was - again b/c he was hiding it. The girl that told him that she loved him - they went to high school together and I saw a text from her a few weeks after we got back together "I still love you". I told him - I don't care that you have women friends but that relationship is not going to keep on. He said ok - but has continued the relationship anyway. I finally got through to his mother it was not that I was insecure like he and his mom think - it's b/c it is a total lack of respect. We would get in arguments about it and this is when he contacted the girl in CA again. I found her # and I texted her - she called me and we had an hour long chat. She had no idea about me - she was devastated. He had told her a few days earlier that he loved her and that he wanted her to move down here. I had no emotion for a few days then I lost my mind and went totally off on him. His mom said it was not cheating b/c no sex was involved and she tells people all the time that she loves them. I called BS on all of that. I looked up a definition of cheating online and he made fun of it saying 'you say it's cheating b/c you found that on the internet'. I was willing to work this out - but I find that he was talking - again hiding it from me - to another girl. I contacted her and they are indeed only friends. Why the hell hide it? That is what pisses me the F off! So - now he hasn't spoken to me in almost 2 days, like this is my fault. When we got back together he swore to me he was "not that guy anymore". We both have children involved and that is the ONLY reason I stayed after the CA girl thing. He sleeps in his daughter's room (now I know it is to text all night) instead of in our bed, next to me, knowing that bothers me so much. Sorry for the long-winded update, but I wanted to elaborate more since most everyone figured it was him being the idiot. And I refer to his mom b/c she lives with us. I went to her with the CA girl 'I love you' thing b/c my friends would totally hate him and I needed to talk to someone.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

12-20-12 - Thank you to everyone for your response - even the ones that were harsh. It's your honest opinion and noone can fault you for that. Without going into too much detail - I just signed a lease on a house for my boys and I and we are moving on Sunday. If anyone wants to know specifics - inbox me. Thanks again!

Featured Answers

I can't even read it all.
Do YOU feel understood, respected, and like he loves you? No? Then move on.

6 moms found this helpful

If he's doing/saying/texting things he wouldn't do in front of you, then it's probably wrong. Fool me once, shame on you...fool me twice, shame on me.

4 moms found this helpful

It's cheating because you think it's cheating. Enough said :). If he respected you he wouldn't do it. What makes her worth risking his relationship with you? Maybe he knows you won't go??

I was married for 13 years to a man like that. Tell me you have women friends and I'm ok with it! I really think he was just friends with some women, but hid that he chatted with them. Why?? I don't get it.

It's deceitful and you deserve better.

More Answers

Oh Lord.
I'm sorry.
What you're describing is just so wrong on so many levels.
My advice? Take care of your kids and kick this loser to the curb. Sorry.
Cannot believe you dragged your kids to live with this guy--and his mom?

Doesn't matter my definition of cheating.
But I think you could use a definition of self respect.

9 moms found this helpful

Just because someone does or doesn't consider the behavior you describe as 'cheating' is a moot point. If there's a problem, then there's a problem. If two people are living together and one is doing what you describe, to me that screams Big Red Flag. This is about being up front in one's relationships. Take away the dispute about if it qualifies as 'cheating'; to me, that's a smokescreen. Instead, asking each other "Am I respecting the relationship?" , "Am I living within the expectations and boundaries of this relationship and am I honoring the wishes of the person who I am choosing to spend my life with?"

I can tell you that if a man argued to the ends of the earth that this behavior 'wasn't cheating', I would likely still leave his sorry behind in the dust. I don't quibble-- either a person has a moral compass, or they haven't. I do not need to do that job for that person-- and I don't want to be with a person who is that unaware. Just my two cents. Being deceitful and a liar (even by omission) is just that--cheating on the trust of the relationship. No sex necessary.

PS: From your update: now you know. Do not expose your kids any further to this loser.

9 moms found this helpful

Added after your additional info: T., WHY are you still with a guy who stays in his daughter's room so that he can text other women? Why are you still with a guy whose mother thinks this is okay? Why are you still with this LOSER? Lose the loser!!!

It's emotional cheating, T..

You're lucky. You aren't married to him. He is showing you a low level of maturity and also a real lack of respect. Why would you still be allowing him to live with you? Or why haven't you moved out?

If you are entertaining marriage with this man, you should understand that things won't get any better. He will be MORE disrespectful as a husband.

You need to move out or kick his butt to the curb and let HER have him.


7 moms found this helpful

1) Leave. He's a terrible boyfriend, regardless of "cheating" or "not"... and would make an even worse husband.

2) www.survivinginfidelity.com

Ahem. You don't have to have a reason HE accepts for "its not working out". It's not working out. Period. You feel cheated on (for the record I agree with you). That's enough.

Here's the thing though: That's "enough" even if I DIDN'T agree with you. People define their realtionships in HUNDREDS of different kinds of ways. Some people have open relationships and it's not considered cheating, others feel betrayed if their spouse/partner masturbates.

This IS NOT YOUR PROBLEM to get over.

You presented it to him as a problem for you. He had a choice to either stop or keep it up. He chose to keep it up. Just because he chose to keep doing it, doesn't mean that it's not a problem for you (totally bizarre logic). It's a problem for you. He needs to find someone for whom his long distance relationships aren't an issue, and you need to find someone who won't make you feel belittled and betrayed. That "simple".

A person can feel betrayed, belittled, humiliated... if their spouse eats broccoli. It doesn't matter what "it" is, when it's a serious problem for you, and it doesn't matter what "it" is if it ISN'T a problem for you.

LOL... Old saying : A problem is a problem, when it's a problem.

6 moms found this helpful

I can't even read it all.
Do YOU feel understood, respected, and like he loves you? No? Then move on.

6 moms found this helpful

Cheating is behavior that damages or takes away from your committed relationship. It can be physical, emotional, or intellectual. It can be with a person, a fantasy (which is what you were describing), or even a job or hobby. The seriousness of the cheat is measured by the damage done to the relationship.

If you have to hide the behavior, it is damaging to the relationship. If it wasn't, there would be no need to hide it.

6 moms found this helpful

You need to love yourself, and think of your happiness. Your happiness is not with him, because if it was, you'd be happy right now.
You have the power to walk out, and trust me, your kids will learn from you to stand up for themselves if you stand up for yourself.
Leaving relationships is hard, specially if you have kids. In the long run, your kids will appreciate you more for walking out than for staying.
You don't need to live a life of mistrust and resentment.

I hope you find this helpful.
Good Luck

5 moms found this helpful

When you hide that 'friend' or that you are talking to/texting that person at all hours of the day and night from your significant other- is that cheating?

Yes. Not being fully transparent with the person you are supposed to be fully committed to is cheating.

Is telling that other person that you love them (even if you have never met them in person), is that cheating?

Yes. It's called "having an emotional affair."

Carrying on a relationship (talking/texting) with a person that has said they loved you and your SO knows this and has asked you not to have any contact with that person, and you continue doing it and hiding it, is that cheating?

Yes. And the fact that they continue it and refuse to stop shows that they do not respect or love their significant other.

Or is cheating defined only as having sex/physical attention?

Nope. Cheating is not just a sexual relationship, it's any emotional relationship that undermines and comes between you and your spouse/significant other. Which is obviously happening.

Also...you contacted the girl he said he was "only friends" with....and SHE said they were only friends? WELL OF COURSE she's going to say that....HE told her to!

I'm going to spell this out plainly for you: If your spouse of BF is talking to another woman, and refuses to share it 100% with you, right as it's happening, allowing you to read every text and email, HE IS HAVING AN EMOTIONAL AFFAIR.

5 moms found this helpful

Cheating is not just physical, cheating can be strictly emotional. Cheating can be just sex, just emotional , or both. Having sexual attraction does not constitute cheating. Those are just emotions, cheating involves giving into the feelings and emotions. Many people have battled and overcome attractions to another outside the committed relationship without cheating. I suppose there could be some grey area with having unnecessary contact with someone you have feelings for, but it is inappropriate. But yes, I think its cheating to be carrying on in communication day and night after being asked not to especially if he is hiding it. It demonstrates intimacy and that they are always in each others thoughts/ always connected/ intimate (even if its nonsexual chatter). Yes I think its cheating to tell another person you love them regardless of ever meeting. Its not cheating if someone else blindsides you with an "I love you."

After reading your update it seems your man likes to keep his options open. His mother should have no involvement in this and you should not be sharing it with her. Everything about this is messy!

5 moms found this helpful

However you define it, are you wanting to live the rest of your life like this? Because if you stay with him, this is your life.

Get out now... don't let your kids see you being treated like this. They are so much more important than him. Get them out of that house and don't look back.

4 moms found this helpful

If he's doing/saying/texting things he wouldn't do in front of you, then it's probably wrong. Fool me once, shame on you...fool me twice, shame on me.

4 moms found this helpful

if it's a problem for you why care if it qualifies as cheating?
either way he and you dont seem to work together
whether the hiding came first or the insecurity came first we'll never know...its the chicken or egg great debate
obviously you two don't work
is he the guy you want your kids to look up to?
does he treat you how you want your daughter to be treated?
I would hope not from your description, so move out and learn you deserve better..and most importantly your kids do

4 moms found this helpful

It matters NOT what you guys agree is the description of cheating...what matters is that one of you is having a problem with the other's behavior regarding someone else. Period. End of story.

If one of you is not happy or is feeling disrespected, something is wrong and the situation needs to be rectified, like fast.

If your BF doesn't see that, then he is being selfish...which is just the tip of the iceberg of what he could or could not be doing with all these other girls.

4 moms found this helpful

I don't do anything, act any way or say anything that I wouldn't do in front of my husband because I love and respect him too much. He has the same belief. We treat each other how we want to be treated.

My mom used to say if it doesn't work the first time why would you think it would work the second time around. Your boyfriend saying he "is not that guy any more" would have had me running in the other direction. If the kids are not your and his together I would move on. Luckily you are not married to him.

4 moms found this helpful

I'm sorry, but he's behaving in a very suspicious, very untrustworthy, and VERY deceitful manner especially considering your history with him. He should be bending over backwards trying to earn your trust back. Instead he's... well... he's doing what he's doing.

It sounds like you live in his home? I would be packed up and moved out living ANYWHERE else before the end of the day today. Seriously. His actions have shown you where he stands with you and your relationship.

3 moms found this helpful

If you are not sure he is cheating, who cares? He is a LAME boyfriend. He lies and is emotionally unavailable, and overly critical. He can be the Dad of your kids, but he is not a "keeper" boyfriend.

3 moms found this helpful

You deserve much better than this. So sorry but move on!

3 moms found this helpful

Cheating is just a word, and it means different things to different people.
To me cheating is having an emotional and/or sexual relationship with another person.
It's one thing to flirt or find someone else attractive, but hiding phone calls and texts from your SO means you're ready to take it to the next level (if you haven't already, that is.)
And I'm sorry but how in the hell does a person love another person they have never even met? I will never understand that.
Honestly, if you have to ask this question then you already know the answer.

3 moms found this helpful

Serial sexaholic, dump him

3 moms found this helpful

I know someone who's H started checking out dating websites for married people. Went on dates and as far as we know it never led to sex. That's cheating. It's a breaking of a sacred bond between two married people. That bond is not just physical, it's emotional and exclusive by nature.

What you have is a live-in situation and while you have made a commitment in some ways it's evident at least one doesn't feel it's as sacred.

As for a "friend" that you share secret contact and content with, well you can bet your bottom dollar it contains personal information and complaints about the other partner.
It's emotional cheating and for a woman it's just as devastating as being physically involved. Although its possible to work on that, you have to earn that trust back.

2 moms found this helpful

his best friend should be you and not this other female and you need to make that clear to him it should be you hes talking to and saying he loves you not that other one -
it soulds like he wants the best of both worlds - men are like that its like if things dont work out between you and him hes got a backup person who he can run to so hes not high and dry
my opinion

2 moms found this helpful

Thank god you're not married I him. You'd be teaching your kids better by not staying with someone you can't trust, they're learning about relationships from you. Move on and move out!

2 moms found this helpful

You have got to get the hell away from him. He is passive-aggressive and manipulative. No good! No good! No good!

I normally don't express my opinion as I did here--this scenario really hit home! I dated a guy in my 20's that sound so much like your guy. He was horrible!

Please be good to yourself. Get away!!

2 moms found this helpful

Lord you ask complicated questions...

Define hiding that friend? There may be guys at work who are friends, I don't hide them but I don't mention them either because that would be strange. Hi Troy, how was your day? Good. I decided to be friends with Andy today, is that okay? Who does that, ya know? I may be telling a story about work and say well Andy said this.

Not hiding and I think looking at your other questions this is important. Cheating is in the eye of the beholder. See like if Troy was insecure he would be upset I hid Andy, but I didn't hide Andy at all. Then again knowing someone is insecure you should know that not reading off your list of friends like a four year old is hiding, just as a four year old would define it.

Texting at all hours of the day and night is just plain rude! It isn't cheating so much as disrespectful. It says you are not interesting, these words on my phone are interesting.

I tell a lot of people I love them. Pretty sure I don't have feelings beyond friendship for Sue at work though I have said I love her many times. I also say Andy is like a son but I can assure you I won't be adopting him any time soon.

So anyway, cheating is when you emotionally detach from your spouse, boyfriend, f buddy, and direct those feelings towards another. Sex is not needed to cheat.

2 moms found this helpful

He is wrong wrong wrong!!! Its totally cheating! He has not changed at all and you need to do whats best for you and your children.

2 moms found this helpful

Having friends of the opposite sex is completely fine! It's when you are saying and doing things that you have to hide or you wouldn't want your spouse to hear or see is when it crosses the line.

2 moms found this helpful

Guaranteed he would consider it cheating if YOU were doing it to him.

2 moms found this helpful

I 100% agree with you. Keeping secrets and telling another girl that he loves her is totally cheating! You don't want your kids to grow up thinking that this is how a man should treat his wife or girlfriend. I'm sorry but get rid of the cheating looser.

2 moms found this helpful

I agree that this is emotional cheating. I'm not sure which is worse, but the bottom line is...it's not okay!!! Regardless of what he's doing, he's being dishonest and hiding things from you which is issue number one. The fact that this hidden agenda has to do with a woman and some sort of secretive relationship only makes it worse. I would seriously ask yourself how committed you are to this relationship and if you want to make it work. If you do, it sounds like you both need to be open to counseling b/c what you've tried so far hasn't worked.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

You should not have to put up with that. There are great men out there that would not do that that to their significant other. I guess I am of the mind set that you really cannot have close friends of the opposite sex unless they are mutual friends with both the male and female in the relationship. There also should not be secrets in a relationship. Be confident in yourself and surround yourself with healthy relationships with people who respect and care about you.

1 mom found this helpful

If you have to hide it, it's wrong. He's not the man for you. He's not ready for a mature relationship. Cut the cord and move on. You deserve better.

1 mom found this helpful

There is such a thing as emotional cheating. If you have an intimate emotional attachment that would otherwise be reserved for your significant other, then yes, you are cheating, even if you have never touched that person or laid eyes on them.

My husband & I also believe that lusting after another person in your heart/mind is cheating, even if that 'person' is just a sexual image or fantasy (pornography). If it is apart from your significant other, it is cheating.

1 mom found this helpful

It's cheating because you think it's cheating. Enough said :). If he respected you he wouldn't do it. What makes her worth risking his relationship with you? Maybe he knows you won't go??

I was married for 13 years to a man like that. Tell me you have women friends and I'm ok with it! I really think he was just friends with some women, but hid that he chatted with them. Why?? I don't get it.

It's deceitful and you deserve better.

To start off, Im the jealous type. ;) So cheating to me is: Having sex with someone else, like you said, hiding their opposite sex friend from me like its a secret. I honestly do not like it when my husband even calls his coworkers that are women and stay on the phone for hours. I know you may say that Im crazy, or just paranoid, but thats me. I used to be worse when I was in high school. But its up to you, and you guys should talk it out and have the same meaning. It would really help, thats what my husband and I did.

Splitting hairs over the "definition of cheating" is being used as a distraction from the fact that this man is lying to the women he has relationships with and he's totally disregarding your feelings.

1. If it bothers you for him to spend a lot of time talking to other women, and "it doesn't mean anything", then why does he put those relationships over your feelings?

2. Lying and hiding are hallmarks of cheaters.

3. Turning it against you, and justifying the hiding by saying it's because you'll "lose it" is kinda like saying I'm not going to tell you when I cheat you out of half the money you have, because you'll lose it. OF COURSE ANYONE WOULD LOSE IT!!!!!! It's a way to distract attention away from his own despicable behavior.

4. Even if it's true that no sex is involved, it's an emotional affair. To a woman, this can hurt even more than a sexual affair.

5. He's giving time and attention to other women that should be going to you, the children, and your household. That's cheating.

It's possible this his mother rationalizes her son's behavior because her own husband did similar things, and she can't face knowing that he cheated on her. Or, that she is too wrapped up in believing her son is perfect to face reality.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but he is going to be toxic to you. **He's shown you who he is.** Not a healthy role model for you children.

Some would say the definition of cheating whether it's physical or not.... is when a situation turns a person away from their current significant relationship.. sounds to me like in some ways, he has turned his back on you at least to some degree.. I think the red flags are here and by virtue of your post, you probably already know that you feel betrayed (at least emotionally and or trust wise) given he doesn't tell you about these women..
Often, people don't think it's cheating unless physical... but cheating is so much more than that...
Truly, unless your BF is doing some major work to change , then nothing here will change.. at least not too much..
as for you.. consider why you are willing to have put up with it for so long.. oh I know many would answer, but I love him... that's all fine and good.. but it's time to show some love for you.. maybe take a step back and consider why you are putting up with any of this..
you may discover that you do in fact deserve better... and most likely you do.. as do your kids..

good luck in whatever you decide to do

There's physical cheating and emotional cheating... emotional is worse is some opinions.

Like most answers cheating is cheating if another relationship is taking away from YOUR relationship...I'll make this short & sweet, If you can't trust him, & like living that way then have at it...but for the sake of you (you can do better) & your children, what kind of example are you setting for them? That it's ok to be "friendly & loving" to someone else other than committed to you? We are human & the more time is spent texting/talking or whatever he is doing with someone other than you (look at how the CA girl turned out, she actually was asked to move in) then it is taking away from the terms of having a relationship. He apparently has some issues & that fact that his mother doesn't seem too concerned, it was probably because his father did it to her and they see this as acceptable...Personally I would not stand for it & walk away from this idiot who has not been raised with moral ethics or shown what a committment really is! Best of luck to you in your decision.

Obviously there is no trust in this relationship so there is no real relationship.

Find a place for you and your children to move. Life is too short to keep playing these types of games.

To me, it sounds like he just wants someone there and he really doesn't care who that person is!

You both need to grow up; you are not setting a good example for your children.

Next time, don't move in until after the wedding. No wedding, no move. You have children to think about.

I think that expectations should be established in relationships. That means asking questions and getting answers. That means saying what you want and discussing how you will compromise. Yes, this is how I handle my relationships. I leave very little up in the air.

That said, I consider cheating to be any willful act against whatever we have decided together, especially if there is an attempt to deceive. I do not think that cheating is simply my husband doing something that I don't like. I also don't assume cheating when he does something that I just assumed that he wouldn't/shouldn't do.

Your situation isn't about cheating. It's about your not establishing and commanding what you need in this type of relationship. You can't think in terms of changing other people. You have to think in terms of what helps you to grow and learn. It's not his job to make your life what it should be, but if you are looking for someone who can sharpen you and whom you can sharpen, then you have to make that known and not settle for not having that. Any two people are going to bump heads at some point, but the general atmosphere of the relationship should be nurturing in some way. Determine what you want from him and tell him. Be specific; be reasonable. Either he can give it to you or he can't. It's not that easy, but it is that simple.

You are asking about cheating as though you are trying to find out who is right and who is wrong. It doesn't have to be that way. If it bothers you, it is wrong for you.

You don't need to argue if you don't match. You don't need to try to change him. Just find someone who is compatable or accept his differences. Those are your choices wether you like them or not if you want to be happy. If you want to be miserable and stew, keep on doing what you are doing,

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