Decoding Cheating in Relationships: What Counts?

Relationships are complex, and every couple has its way of defining boundaries; however, cheating remains one of the most common types of betrayal in relationships. Decoding what counts as cheating is vital to prevent damages to a relationship. While some acts may be considered cheating by one partner, their significance may not be fully understood by the other. To clarify this, we delved into the different types of cheating and discussed what counts as cheating in relationships.

What is the definition of cheating in a relationship?

Cheating is an act of dishonesty, breaking trust with a partner, and violating the informal or formal agreements made between them. It is an intentional act of deception committed in a loving relationship that undermines both the trust and intimacy between the partners. People cheat for various reasons, such as seeking validation, excitement, or trying to escape the stresses of the relationship.

What are the different types of cheating?

There are various types of cheating, including:

  • Physical Cheating: This type of cheating is when one partner engages in physical intimacy with someone other than their partner, such as kissing, hugging, or sexual intercourse.
  • Emotional Cheating: Emotional cheating occurs when an individual shares emotional intimacy with someone other than their partner. This can include sharing secrets, discussing problems, and flirting with someone other than their loved one.
  • Online Cheating: This type of cheating occurs when an individual becomes emotionally or sexually involved with someone online. Whether chatting, exchanging nude photos or videos, or having virtual sex, online cheating is just as damaging as physical and emotional infidelity.
  • Micro-Cheating: This type of cheating is not easily noticeable, but it can damage a relationship over time. Micro-cheating can include things like maintaining an active dating profile, not revealing marital status, or covering up flirtatious behavior with excuses.

What counts as cheating in a relationship?

Physical Cheating

Physical cheating involves engaging in sexual or romantic activity with someone other than your partner. If your partner kisses, holds hands, or engages in any sexual activity with someone else, it is considered cheating.

Emotional Cheating

Emotional cheating occurs when your partner creates emotional intimacy with someone other than you. This involves sharing secrets, talking about personal problems or feelings that should be reserved for a partner, and other forms of emotional intimacy.

Online Cheating

Online cheating can occur in a variety of ways, including sexting, cybersex, or flirting with someone online. If privacy settings, passwords, or access to social media accounts are hidden from the partner, it is a sign of online cheating.


This type of cheating is often subjective and varies between relationships. For example, having a dating app on your phone can be considered cheating in some relationships.

Why do people cheat?

The reasons for cheating are many and varied; however, a few common reasons include:

  • Seeking validation: People who are emotionally insecure may cheat to boost their self-esteem and feel a sense of worthiness.
  • Lack of intimacy: One partner may cheat when they feel unsatisfied or disconnected from their partner.
  • Unhappiness: Some people may cheat because of unhappiness in their relationship or to escape from the challenges they face in the relationship.
  • Insufficient commitment: Individuals who are unwilling to commit to their partner may cheat to avoid commitment or end their current relationship.

How does cheating impact a relationship?

Cheating can have devastating consequences on a relationship, including:

  • Damaged trust: Betrayal and loss of trust in a relationship can cause long-term damage.
  • Litness tests: Cheating can raise fundamental questions about the faithfulness of a partner, leading to frequent arguments.
  • Emotional pain: Cheating can cause severe emotional pain and trauma in the partner who has been cheated on.
  • Depression: Cheating can trigger depression in some people, leading to a loss of self-confidence, social withdrawal, and even suicidal thoughts.

How to prevent cheating in a relationship?

Preventing cheating can be challenging, and it takes significant effort from both partners. Here are some ways to prevent cheating in a relationship:

  • Be Honest: Honest communication is the key to a successful relationship.
  • Set Boundaries: Discuss and set clear boundaries with each other to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Express your Love: Express your love and appreciation for your partner regularly and take time to spend with them.
  • Avoid Temptations: Avoid being in situations that can trigger cheating, such as being alone with someone you find attractive.
  • Talk to a Therapist: If you or your partner are having issues with the relationship, talking to a therapist can help work through them.


Infidelity is destructive to a relationship, and the signs of cheating are not always easy to spot. It is essential to be vigilant and look out for the signs of infidelity to protect your relationship. Understanding what counts as cheating is critical to prevent misunderstandings and breakups. A healthy relationship involves honesty, trust, and mutual respect, and partners must be committed to working together to maintain that.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is considered as cheating in a relationship?
    Cheating is an act of dishonesty, breaking trust with a partner, and violating the informal or formal agreements made between them. Engaging in physical, emotional or online relationships outside the relationship is considered cheating.
  • How can I protect my relationship from infidelity?
    Be open and honest with your partner, set clear boundaries, avoid situations that can trigger cheating, and if you’re having trouble in your relationship, seek help from a therapist.
  • What are the consequences of cheating?
    Cheating can have devastating consequences that can lead to a loss of trust, depression, and emotional pain. Medication and therapy can help to address the underlying issues associated with infidelity.


  1. Why do People Cheat in Relationships?
  2. Micro-Cheating: The Relationship Killer
  3. What is Emotional Cheating and How Can You Recognize It?

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