Don't assume that you and your partner are on the same page.
What do you consider cheating? Most people (who aren't in a polyamorous relationship) think that having sex with someone who isn't their significant other is cheating. But what about texting and chatting on the phone but keeping it a secret — are you being unfaithful then? How about sexting, photo exchange or deep kissing — is that OK?
You should have a very clear idea on where it is that you draw the line as far as cheating goes, and once you've decided, it's a good idea to find out your partner's ideas on infidelity, too ... before it becomes a problem.
A new study published in Sexual and Relationship Therapy confirmed that men and women often have entirely different ideas about what cheating really means, and that knowing what your partner considers as cheating can be beneficial for your relationship.
"Knowing what your partner believes to be infidelity could potentially save a relationship if both partners understand each other's perspective, thus making the topic of different infidelity perceptions worthy of research," the study says.
For the study, researchers had 354 participants (undergraduate students) complete an online questionnaire on infidelity. The participants were asked to rank different acts from 1 (definitely not cheating) to 4 (definitely cheating) on actions and scenarios like kissing, intercourse, falling in love but not acting on it, fantasizing about having sex with someone but not going through with it, going to a strip club and having a lap dance, and watching porn.
The survey also included questions that were meant to assess the participant's own characteristics on things like fear of rejection, anxiety, and communication level.
There was no difference betwen men and women in regards to fear of intimacy and sensitivity to rejection; however, women scored significantly higher than men on communication. The study found that women, on average, have a greater desire to form and maintain supportive interpersonal relationships. They're more connected to their relationships then men.
Interestingly, the study found that women are more likely than men to classify both sexual-based and emotional-based acts as cheating, whereas men were found to only consider sexual acts as infidelity.
"An ideal outcome from therapeutic intervention [therapy] would include greater partner understanding and communication, relationship commitment and relationship satisfaction," the study reads.
If your significant other believes that watching porn is OK but you think it's a relationship dealbreaker, you need to talk about it before it becomes a problem. Your relationship will be stronger once you and your partner are on the same page, at least as far as infidelity goes.