4 Little Things Women Do That Men Count As Cheating

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You would think that the concept of basic cheating would be fairly black and white. Cheating is when your partner in a committed, monogamous relationship has sex with someone else... Isn't it?

However, the definition of cheating only seems straightforward until you are confronted with a cheating situation of your own.  

I know I have dated men who never unzipped their pants in the presence of someone else, but the stuff they did do with women who decidedly were NOT me definitely counted as cheating — or, at least, in my mind it did.

Everyone has their own definition of what it means to be unfaithful in a relationship.

For some people, it's all about those reproductive organs and sexual penetration. For others, sexual activity comes is less important than what they consider to be emotional infidelity.

It's no secret that men and women approached relationships differently, and with that in mind, I decided to ask a group of anonymous men what they think "counts" as cheating.

Here are 4 little things women do that men count as cheating, and why it breaks their hearts:

1. Keeping secrets

"[Cheating is] pretty much anything you're not willing to tell your partner. I don't mean that literally. Things like your last bowel movement or the last time you masturbated or even what you plan to buy your partner for Christmas obviously don't count. But if you're keeping something from your partner that involves someone other than him or her because you're afraid your partner may think it's cheating, then yeah. It is"

"Anything you feel the need to hide from your partner or lie to them about counts as cheating."

Many of the men I spoke with mentioned secrets and the damaging effect they can have on relationships. For these men, the idea of keeping something they've done a secret from their partner is their litmus test for behavior that counts as cheating.

Essentially, this means that if they've done something that they feel guilty about, so guilty that they want to keep it a secret, it may as well be considered infidelity.

That could be a sexual tryst, sure, but for some men, it may be something like flirting with a woman at work who later passed on her phone number. And they don't have to act on it for them to consider it cheating, which is something to keep in mind, as he may well expect the same of you.

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2. Having an emotional relationship with someone other than your partner

"Any emotions or mental space you give to someone else that should be dedicated to your partner."

Some men, just like some women, view forming an emotional relationship with someone other than their partner, girlfriend, or wife as cheating.

In such cases, things may never come close to evolving into a sexual affair.

The act of dedicating your time or emotional space and energy to someone else when you should or could be dedicating it to your partner counts as a violation of their relationship boundaries.

Don't get it twisted. Men have feelings too, and you don't need to go as far as being sexually intimate with another man in order to hurt them.

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3. Breaking previously established agreements

"[I consider cheating to be any time you] break terms you have both agreed on previously without discussing it beforehand. Communication is the key, and small lies only lead to bigger ones down the road. If it's something that might concern the other party at all, you should tell them about it sooner than later."

"Anything outside of the boundaries discussed or implied in the relationship. If you know your partner thinks watching porn is cheating, and you agree not to even if you don't agree with the premise (I certainly don't), it's unkind to look."

For most of the men I interviewed, what they consider a betrayal in a relationship depends on the rules the two people establish from the get-go. You could be in an open relationship and therefore "allowed" to have sex with other people, but if you do something that breaks another kind of agreement — for example, not telling your partner you met someone new — that would count as cheating.

For a monogamous couple, it would likely be something more traditional. If you two agree there should be no physical contact with members of the opposite sex, then even something like hand-holding or kissing could count as having an affair.

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4. Having sex with someone else

"When another penis goes inside of her body, that, to me, is the definition of cheating. Everything else is just dangerous behavior."

This one is pretty straightforward. For some men, if you have sex with someone else you've cheated, but everything before, after, or between should be open for negotiation and/or interpretation.

This is definitely a loose definition and one that is the most strongly held by serial cheaters and those looking to maintain a little bit of wiggle room in their relationships. 

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, and true crime.