There is a serious lack of communication when it comes to S-E-X. We talk openly about religion, politics, kids, parents, books, movies, eating, travelling, sleeping and just about everything. But we almost always avoid discussing our personal attitudes about sex. “Cheating” occurs when there is a breach in the agreement a couple makes about the boundaries of their relationship. But partners often don’t know what this contract is because it’s assumed, unspoken. Be clear about what you expect, want, and won’t tolerate in your relationship. It will help keep you both honest and accountable.
When it comes to infidelity, partners often have very different ideas about monogamy. Cheating used to be easy to define. The traditional common law definition of “adultery” is sexual intercourse between a married person and a partner other than the lawful spouse. Today the concept of “cheating” applies to all kinds of committed relationships, married and unmarried, heterosexual and gay.
Some people think infidelity starts with a kiss. In other words, physical contact constitutes cheating. But there are many ways you can destroy a relationship without being physical. More than ever, divorces today are blamed on “social networking.” Online resources make infidelity more tempting today than in the past. So talk to your partner. See if you can broach the subject of what monogamy means. Is flirting on Facebook cheating? What about texting a member of the opposite sex? How would you feel about your partner confiding in another woman/man? Is going to a strip club cheating? Dancing closely? Would you consider your partner’s going out to lunch with an intimate friend an emotional affair. What about flirting? Is having webcam sex or masturbating cheating?
Research suggests that infidelity is a contributing factor in approximately 70% of divorces. Long-term relationships and marriages end every day due to infidelity. Although there are couples who try to work through the ordeal, cheating is often the deal-breaker, or at least casts a dark shadow over the relationship for a long time. So it is important in any partnership to identify the parameters of cheating. It’ll likely be awkward and delicate. But a discussion about infidelity could save you many arguments and a great deal of emotional pain. Talk to your partner. Don’t let your relationship suffer, or end, because you didn’t.