What really classifies as cheating inside a relationship has always been a strung out debate differentiating from couple to couple and the line between what is acceptable and what isn’t has been blurred more now in the digital age than ever before. Due to the growing infidelity rate and the changes the digital age have made on individuals’ relationship more experts are weighing in and conducting research to pin-point what exactly cheating would entitle.
According to a new study from Deseret News, more than three quarters of Americans believe that having sexual relations with someone other than their current partner is always classified as cheating, however they are unclear or undecided on issues that involve sending sexually explicit text messages or having and maintaining an online dating profile while in a relationship.
The study involving 1,000 individuals across various religious, gender and age groups revealed that approximately three quarters of Americans believe that having a one night stand or an ongoing sexual affair would count as cheating, while only roughly 25 percent think of it as sometimes or never cheating. These views however tend to be more varied and undecided when involving acts that are based on the internet as opposed to those that aren’t. For example, sending sexually explicit text messages was only considered cheating by 51 percent of people and those maintaining an online dating profile while in a relationship were only considered cheating by 63 percent.
The study also showed that Millennials appeared to have stricter views than those in older generations when it comes to some forms of online cheating. According to the study, 94 percent of Millennials think having a one night stand classifies as cheating on your partner, while only 78 percent of the Silent Generation thinks so. Women are reportedly also more likely to classify more occurrences as cheating as opposed to men (going to a strip club, going out to dinner with someone you’re attracted to, romantically kissing someone other than your partner, etc). According to the study, 70 percent of females thought that owning and actively maintaining an online dating profile while in a relationship is considered cheating as opposed to the 55 percent of males. The study also showed that religious Americans are more likely to consider actions like going to a strip clubs without your partner or watching pornography a form of cheating. Following, digital media has said to impact infidelity so much that 16% of people thought that following an ex on social media counted as cheating.
Clinical psychologist and couples therapist Sue Johnson stated, “What counts as cheating has changed because other folks are so accessible. The rules are not as clear, and the opportunities for flirting and various levels of sexual engagement have multiplied.”
The privacy that ones relationship once had is now influenced by digital media and the privacy that digital media provides currently, along with increased access to past friendships or relationships, strangers, or even old photos, videos or connections from a past “fling” not only makes it easier to cheat but also may be making the line between cheating and not even more confusing for both parties of a relationship, especially when it stems from an individuals behaviour online – something that the older generations didn’t have to consider as much years ago.
So what really classifies as cheating? Turns out, it’s technically exactly what you and/or your partner consider as unfaithful. What you may define cheating as could potentially be completely different to what your partner may classify as so. Ultimately, the only way to really know where you and your partner both stand is by simply discussing where your boundaries might lay.