I was watching the Chris Rock hit, I Think I Love My Wife on DVD recently and I was wondering at what point I would consider my husband to be guilty of cheating on me? Opinions vary on what it means to cheat on your significant other. Does sex have to be involved for it to be considered cheating? Can something like innocent flirting be considered being unfaithful to your significant other? How far do you think someone has to go before they are in trouble?
Let's start with the obvious. If you are married, engaged, or dating someone exclusively, it is important that you both know what each of you understand to be cheating. A majority of people will probably say that having sex with someone else is definitely cheating. Once we have established that as a common no-no, other specifics have to be defined.
So what about kissing? A kiss on the cheek is a common greeting and rarely creates enough sexual tension for someone to end up in bed with the person. Once the kiss goes on the lips, I would say that the activity is questionable. It all depends on the intent, length, and the type of the kiss. A general rule of thumb is that if the kiss is on the lips and for more than a second, or involves tongue, there is a fidelity violation.
Kissing is a fairly easy call, but what about hugs? Close friends often share long, tight hugs and there is nothing sexual about it. It is hard to tell by a hug if there is something more emotional going on than there should be. Friends of the opposite sex often get very close and sometimes even a little physical. Putting arms around each other, holding hands while talking, and hugging can be alarming to watch your significant other do. If they are really close friends, is that to be considered cheating? How do you know that there was never anything more between them?
On the lighter side, flirting makes some people upset if they see their partner do it. There is also a very fine line between being friendly and flirting. An insecure person might mistake a friendly and congenial personality as flirtatious, even though that intent may not be there. This kind of thing takes trust, and chances are that nothing would come of a wink, a joke, or a smile.
In my opinion, it all comes down to trust, not only in regards to your partner, but with regards to yourself too. Do you trust yourself with that other person? If you really trust yourself, you would be willing to tell your significant other everything about your encounter with that person. If you feel like hiding the fact that you were with them, or hear your mind making up reasons to explain what you did was not cheating, you may already be in trouble.
Emotional entanglements can be just as harmful as physical ones to a long-term relationship. A general rule of thumb is to decide if you are trying to get something from someone outside your relationship. Whether it be affection, a listening ear, attention, or sex, you should be able to go to your partner for all of these things. The more you are to each other, the stronger the bond will be. If there is enough interaction and honest communication, there is no reason for either part of the couple to go elsewhere for fulfillment.