What counts as cheating these days? We live in two words – the physical world and the virtual world. The virtual world is a place where we can spread our opinions on Twitter, post our photos on Instagram and Facebook, and interact with people across the world on Reddit – usually with full anonymity.

It’s no surprise then that when we have anonymity, it releases us from responsibility. Some people take advantage of this naiveté and use the anonymous internet to do terrible things.

On the other hand, some people just fall down a slippery slope so to speak and start cheating gradually – they do it slowly, over time, and with small actions.

Sometimes these little flirtations lead to actual cheating. Sometimes it never does and it stays on the internet, anonymous, as always.

The question is, at what point is cyber-cheating REAL cheating? Can it ever be cheating? Is it prudish to think that fooling around in mind, and not in body, counts as real sex? Is it a “sin” or is it a betrayal?

Let’s talk about what cheating is and then list eight forms of cheating and why they involve some element of dishonesty.

  1. Cyber-Sex or Sexting

Sexting or cyber-sex is the first scenario that comes to mind. Whether it’s chatting online via webcam and saying kinky things, or even just sending intimate selfies to each other, it’s easy to see why this non-physical relationship is still lusty. Even simply talking about sexual things with someone or sharing dirty memes, that sort of thing, could be considered (by some) as cheating.

  1. Emotional Affairs

Emotional affairs might not be sexual at all. But if you’re both falling for each other, sharing things close to your heart, and developing feelings for each other as “more than casual friends” something is amiss. Granted, it’s hard to define what an emotional affair means, to some. Is it saying “I love you?” Or is it just talking about deep things and expressing emotion? Some women find it very intriguing, even sexy if a man expresses his private thoughts and feelings, showing his “soul” and heart. But if he’s doing that to someone other than his wife, is that being faithful? Many say that is an emotional affair, even if sex is not the issue.

  1. Internet Porn or Erotica

A lot of men are surprised to find out that internet porn might “count” as being unfaithful, even though the pornstars are not aware of the encounter. In the opinions of some, seeking sexual fulfillment outside of your partner, even a one-sided encounter, might be considered cheating.

But to be fair, a woman reading erotica might be called the same thing. (Erotica doesn’t write itself, right?) Is it cheating when one partner depends on a third person to arouse them – even if that person is just a sex worker that they’ve never met in person? Especially if it’s a “secret”?

  1. Flirting or Friendship with Someone Else

Here is another gray area. Is it cheating to secretly flirt with someone when away from your partner? What about a deep and talkative friendship with someone other than your partner? The fact that someone feels they have to hide the friendship from their partner is telling.

  1. Complaining About Your Partner to Someone Else

Some couples consider this a boundary that shouldn’t be crossed – even more dangerous than sexual flirting. When you start complaining about a spouse, you disrespect them. You talk openly about their weaknesses with another person. You might even start to bond over this kind of negative talk, in essence, telling this other person, “If only I were with someone else who understood me.” In time, feelings might develop as you lose interest in the one you’re with for the new and seemingly “perfect” partner.

  1. Fantasizing (?!)

Fantasizing? Really? Doesn’t everyone fantasize? Well yeah, we oftentimes do. But all things in context. It’s one thing to think about sexy thoughts when you’re with your partner. On the other hand, what if your guy meets an ex-girlfriend one day? And then comes home and has sex really hot sex with you…only to tell you later on, “Oh yeah I ran into my ex Amy today.”

Uh oh! Now you’re thinking, “Was he fantasizing about her the whole time? I thought I was the one turning him on!”

So yeah, in some ways fantasizing can become a problem, especially if either of you fantasize about a specific person who might be a real-life temptation.

  1. Keeping Secrets

In fact, some people claim that keeping secrets of any kind is a form of cheating, whether it’s having a “private text chat” with someone else, or spending money secretly, or doing anything away from view. The real issue is, why keep it a secret? Why not just confess what it is that’s attractive and then deal with it? Or find some ways to compromise?

  1. BDSM Kink

This is a bit of a new one. But it happens. Some people will meet or text chat for non-sexual “kink” purposes. I don’t know, spankings, humiliation, or even roleplaying different characters in a storyline. Is it cheating if it’s not sexual and is just for kicks?

Again, the point of this article is not to declare what is or is not cheating. That’s for you and your partner to decide. If there’s dishonesty, or hiding things, or confiding in someone else rather than the one you love, then there’s an issue that needs to be addressed.

Remember, don’t think of anything sexual as a “sin.” Cheating is not about craving sexual kinks. Cheating is ultimately a betrayal of trust. Rather than keeping secrets and lying about the things a person finds interesting, why not just talk about it? Why not bring all these dark secrets out into the open? Talk about the things you feel and encourage your boyfriend to do the same.

The more forthright you are about these things, in the beginning, the less confrontational and angry the discussion has to be. A healthy relationship has no secrets. You’re so intimately involved you know each other’s mind and take pleasure in exploring each other’s thoughts and feelings. Cheating is a sign that something is wrong in the relationship. If you know there’s a problem, discuss it now, rather than waiting for it to escalate in the future. An honest and open relationship is the best kind!

The 5 Word Phrase That Destroys a Man’s Love For You And Drives Him Out Of Your Life

There’s a simple 5 word phrase that will destroy any man’s love for you and drive him out of your life completely…

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Have you figured out what it is yet?

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