When you think of cheating, you may think of a person in a relationship who is having sexual relations with someone who is not their partner. This is a good start in defining what cheating is, but it is not the full definition. Cheating can take on many forms. In fact, some people cheat on their spouses and do not even realize it.
Infidelity does not necessarily have to have a sexual component, although it cetrainly does in many cases. In all cases of infidelity, there is a romantic element involved. This romantic element may be in written form, though, such as in texts, emails, and letters. This is called emotional infidelity.
So as you can see, infidelity is not always simple to define. There are several types of cheating in which a person can engage. They all have one thing in common — they can damage a marriage and lead to divorce.
Types of Infidelity
There are two main types of infidelity: physical and emotional. Infidelity can also come about in the following forms:
- Opportunistic. As the name implies, opportunistic infidelity occurs when there is the opportunity to do so. The cheater in this case is not actively looking to cheat on their spouse, but someone was sexually interested in them and the opportunity presented itself, so they took advantage of it. In this type of fidelity, alcohol and drug use or risky behavior is usually involved.
- Romantic. Romantic infidelity is when a person is committed to their marriage but they are romantically involved with someone else. They have little emotional attachment to their spouse but they still feel as though they must stay in the marriage. This means that the “other woman” or “other man” will never get the level of commitment they desire.
- Conflicted romantic. In this type of infidelity, a person expresses love and sexual desire for multiple people at once. While this is possible, these situations can be complicated and they ultimately end up hurting everyone involved.
- Commemorative. This is similar to romantic infidelity in which the cheater will stay in the marriage due to a sense of obligation. However, there is no love and the cheater is not getting their needs met, which leads to infidelity.
- Obligatory. In this type of infidelity, the person cheats because they feel obligated to do so. They do not want to turn down someone and deal with the feelings that come with that. They enjoy having the approval of others, and they only get that if they cheat.
How Do You Know it is Cheating?
Now that you know the different types of cheating, how can you tell when a situation can be considered infidelity? It can be complicated, especially in the age of technology. Many people text often with people of the opposite sex. They may communicate frequently with certain people. In fact, some people even have “work spouses,” who are people with whom they work and have a special bond.
There’s a fine line between cheating and being faithful. So how do you know when you have crossed that line? Here are some questions to ask yourself.
- Is this behavior you would do in front of your partner? If you would be embarrassed to engage in certain behaviors toward someone with your spouse present, then that is a sign that things are going too far. This could mean a sexually suggestive text, a naked photo, a hug from a co-worker, or a flirtatious gesture, such as a wink. If you are not sure if something is crossing the line, turn the tables. What if your spouse engaged in these behaviors with someone besides you? How would that make you feel?
- Are you being emotionally unfaithful? Even if you are not having sex with someone, you could still be cheating. Are you confiding in someone else? Whether you are aware of it or not, you may be engaging in personal conversation with someone else to fulfill your needs. Do you have a bond with that person? Do you tell them about the problems in your relationship? If so, then you may be cheating to some degree.
- Is it acceptable to both parties? As mentioned earlier, it can be hard to tell what exactly is cheating. There are a lot of gray areas, and what you and your spouse consider cheating may be two totally different things. Therefore, you and your spouse need to have a discussion about what cheating means and what you will accept in the marriage. Is everything OK as long as there is no sex? What about kissing? Are you allowed to text or email a person? There are a lot of variables involved, so both of you need to define cheating and address your boundaries so there is no confusion. You each need to determine what you feel comfortable with and have ground rules
Seek Legal Help
Cheating takes on different forms to different people. If you are in a relationship, you need to honor it by being faithful to your partner. It is important to understand what types of behaviors are acceptable and which ones are not.
Have you or your spouse been engaging in cheating? If so, how do you feel about your marriage? If you are thinking about someone else, then it may be time for divorce. Contact Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler for help with the process. Fill out the online form or call (954) 346-6464 to schedule a consultation.