Could you be cheating on your partner?
A question we are often asked at Online Couples Counselling is “What counts as cheating in a relationship?” Relationship counsellor Sian Jones suggests “when you do, say or write something that you wouldn’t want your partner to see, hear or read, then you know you are being unfaithful”
Cheating or unfaithfulness is difficult to define because people often differ in what they deem appropriate contact or interaction for a partner to have with someone else. And to make matters more worse, some people don’t like to define what counts as cheating. Because by keeping the rules vague and ambiguous, it makes it easier to cheat. If you don’t know what the rules are, perhaps you can’t really can’t break them?
There may not be an approved checklist for what qualifies as cheating in a relationship. However, Online Couples Counselling has provided some questions that might help give some clarification on the issue.
1) Even if you’re not sure if you are cheating, would your partner say you are?
Do you know what your partner’s expectations are? Do they know yours? Are those expectations acceptable to you both? If not, then it would be wise to have a conversation to discuss what you consider appropriate and inappropriate behaviour – This way, you are both clear and there are no grey areas.
2) Are you secretive about seemingly harmless things?
Sometimes we hide things, such as websites, e-mail or social media passwords. Or perhaps we don’t mention interactions with attractive colleagues or friends. There is always a reason for this. We might try and convince ourselves that we are not doing anything questionable. However, if we are really honest, are we doing this just in case we want to do something questionable in the future? If this sounds familiar, you might not be being unfaithful at the moment, but don’t fool yourself, by doing this you’re open to the opportunity – which is not a good sign.
3) Are you anticipating the next step?
Even if anyone observing your actions would agree you’re not breaking any rules, are you secretly eager to see how the third party responds and what might develop? Every time you interact, are there subtle shifts in how that relationship feels? Is it progressing toward something that is not entirely platonic in nature. And do you find yourself looking forward to each progressive step before it occurs?
4) Would you be uncomfortable if your partner acted in the same way you do?
A helpful reality check is to turn the situation around and determine if you would get upset if your partner behaved in the same way. If you have a friendship with an opposite-sex that has become a little too cosy. Ask yourself if you’d want your partner to have that kind of relationship? If you’re checking up on an old boyfriend or girlfriend on Facebook, ask yourself if you would want your current partner doing the same?
5) What’s the intention behind your interactions?
More often than not – the question of cheating can be boiled down to one single word; motive. Why do you banter with the man/woman in the office? Why are you sending text messages to your ex? What reason are you meeting that person for coffee? Be warned – even the most self-aware individuals sometimes deceive themselves about their true motivations. Be honest with yourself in order to be honest with your partner.
If in doubt – take a big step back and think to yourself – Are you crossing the line between trustworthy and untrustworthy behaviour, if so ask yourself why? If you answer that honestly and discover it’s actually problem within your relationship, then it’s this what needs dealing with – before you go looking elsewhere. More about affairs and how counselling can help
If you you would like some help to understand more about cheating in a relationship. Then contact us at Online Couples Counselling today. Request an appointment