Many people wonder what cheating in a relationship actually is, with most of us unsure of where the line is and if a significant other crosses it. Some people are a little bit more lenient in how they define cheating, with guys making sure not to get jealous of a girlfriend who still hangs out with an ex. But, when things start to feel shady, that usually means they are.
We’re not saying every relationship should be guarded, with both people worried that the other is going to cheat on them, but it happens, unfortunately, so it’s smart to understand what cheating in a relationship looks like. Education on this topic can be super helpful to avoid getting hurt in the long run.
Thanks to our good friends over at AskMen, we have a good idea as to how cheating in a relationship should be defined, with the website identifying five different levels to look for. We suggest you familiarize yourself with these and define how to handle each in your own situation — but, hopefully, you never have to even look for them.
Level one: A little wandering
Temptation is everywhere these days. Whether that’s at the gym, at work, on dating sites or somewhere else, everyone has wondered if being in a relationship with the person they’re in one with is the right decision. As of right now, it’s no harm no foul, as you haven’t done anything wrong accept have a wandering eye. But, be careful, because when you’re finding yourself giving more attention to someone else than your significant other, that’s an early sign of cheating, no matter how you want to defend the innocent behavior.
Level two: Purely physical indiscretion
Whether you were too drunk to make a rational decision while having a night out with your friends, or you lost control because you had a fight with your significant other and craved some physical attention, you made a mistake, accept that it happened and, most importantly, won’t allow yourself to do it again. It was a one-time thing and you understand the emotional and physical consequences.
Level three: Emotional attachment
It’s one thing to have a physical relationship with someone, or to make a mistake once and learn your lesson. It’s very different once you start developing an emotional connection with another person, finding yourself revealing deep things about one another that would otherwise be kept for your real partner. Anyone can look good in a bikini or tight little dress for a night, it’s when you crave that (and the emotional attachment) that it becomes a more serious problem.
Level four: Multiple indiscretions
If you had some “innocent” indiscretions in level two, it’s one thing. But it’s a whole different level when you’re out hunting for someone to spend a night with while you have another relationship elsewhere. You know the guy (or girl) who does this; they, seemingly, have it all and appear happy, yet can’t find their inner temptations and end up doing something to fulfill a gap internally. If you’re at this point, it’s time to see a therapist, because you’ve got some issues to work out.
Level five: A full-blown affair
Not only are you lying to one significant other and another person, but you’re lying to yourself about what you really want. Instead of deciding which relationship you really want to focus on, you’re living a double life that has you in two different ones, making it difficult to maintain happiness. It’s time to man up and look at yourself in the mirror and own up to your infidelity, even if that means losing both relationships and embarrassing yourself for admitting your cheating.