Cheating is a broad and sensitive subject with varying definitions, depending on whom you ask. In general, cheating can be defined as being emotionally or sexually unfaithful to your romantic partner. However, the topic of cheating is complex, and it isn’t as black and white as we initially thought.
While having sex with someone outside your monogamous arrangement with your partner is undoubtedly cheating, there are gray areas to consider. For example, is liking someone else’s picture on Instagram cheating? What about being infatuated with someone else or calling a chat line? Is there a foolproof checklist that can help determine whether a certain act is considered cheating?
If you suspect that your girlfriend is cheating on you, it’s essential to determine what qualifies as cheating in your relationship.
5 Types of Infidelity
Below are five different types of infidelity and their definitions. If your situation falls into any of these forms of cheating, it’s highly probable that infidelity might be present in your relationship.
1. Physical cheating.
Being physically intimate with someone who is not your partner is generally considered cheating. However, the topic of physical intimacy and what constitutes cheating can be ambiguous. Different people have varying definitions of cheating, and it depends on the agreement made between partners in a relationship.
For some people, kissing someone other than their partner is considered cheating, while others may view it as less serious. These gray areas exist because what one partner considers cheating may not be the same for another.
If your partner meets with the person they’ve been talking to on a chat line and engages in an intimate physical activity, it’s a red flag and could indicate a deeper relationship that you should be concerned about. On the other hand, if you’re the one who’s been spending time with someone you’ve met on a chat line, it’d be best to reflect on your actions as they may put a dent in your relationship.
2. Having sexual fantasies about someone else.
Regardless of whether you’re in a relationship or not, it’s completely normal to find someone else attractive and fantasize about them. We experience attraction towards celebrities and people we come across in our daily lives. However, what matters most is how we choose to act on these feelings.
Complimenting someone you find attractive and leaving it at that is acceptable and cannot be considered cheating. However, if you pursue the person further by asking for their number or engaging in other inappropriate behavior, it can be considered cheating.
According to relationship therapist Max Lundquist, fantasizing about someone else becomes infidelity when it results in “unsafe or dishonest behavior.” For instance, if your feelings of attraction towards someone else lead you to stalk and follow them while lying to your partner about your whereabouts, it can become a problem.
3. Having romantic feelings for someone else.
Emotional infidelity, also known as “betrayal” or “disloyalty”, involves developing romantic feelings for someone outside of a monogamous relationship. In non-monogamous relationships, having romantic feelings for multiple people is often the norm, so it depends on the agreement made between partners.
Infidelity occurs when there is secrecy involved. For example, seeing someone else behind your partner’s back can be considered infidelity. It’s important to note that for these feelings to be considered cheating, they need to be acted upon. If the feelings remain only in one’s mind and aren’t acted on, they typically wouldn’t constitute infidelity.
4. Secret spending.
Hiding your spending habits from your significant other can be considered a form of infidelity. This typically applies to couples who are married, living together, or have mutually agreed to be completely transparent with each other about their financial activities.
However, this form of cheating may not apply to couples who have just recently started dating or those who have agreed to stay out of each other’s financial matters.
For instance, if one partner secretly withdraws cash from a joint account for personal reasons without informing their partner and gaining their approval, it’s a violation of a mutual agreement and a warning signal, regardless of how the funds will be used.
5. Secret social media activity.
Secretive social media activity, no matter how suspicious it may seem, can only be considered cheating if there is an ulterior motive involved that might result in extramarital activities such as sexting, meeting in person for a date, or spending more time talking to someone online to the point that the partner feels neglected.
According to Dana Weiser, a human development professor at Texas Tech University, social media infidelity usually takes two forms. The first is implicitly sexual, wherein the cheating partner obsessively likes an ex-partner’s Instagram posts or constantly flirts with strangers solely for the sake of sexual satisfaction. The second form of social media infidelity involves cheating on your partner by spending relatively more time with your smartphone than you do with them.
This form of cheating typically involves many red flags, including deleted browser history, call logs, and messages. If your partner starts changing passwords, setting up screen locks on their phone, and becoming more secretive about their phone and laptop, it’s reasonable to be suspicious.
Is Calling a Chat Line Considered Cheating?
It’s important to clarify that if a person in a monogamous relationship is using a chat line, it doesn’t necessarily imply that they are cheating. It’s possible that they are just friends with the person they’re talking to, as chat lines are not solely designed for sexual and romantic relationships. They can also be a platform to make new friends.
To help determine if your partner who is using a chat line is cheating, here are some crucial signs to look out for. Use this checklist to evaluate the situation. If you answer yes to most of these questions, it’s likely that your partner is cheating on you.
- Are you and your partner in a committed, trustworthy relationship wherein you have both agreed to be romantically involved only with each other?
- Has your partner met or planned to meet the person they are talking to on a chat line without informing you?
- Has your partner engaged in any intimate physical activity with the person you suspect they may be cheating with?
- Have you caught your partner lying about their whereabouts, and do you feel that your relationship has become toxic?
- Is your partner being secretive about their conversations on the chat line, such as leaving the room during calls or instantly deleting text messages?
- Does your partner seem emotionally disconnected from you?
- Has your partner expressed subconscious sexual or romantic interest in someone else?
- Are there any unusual expenses that your partner has made that they did not inform you about beforehand?
- Do you notice any secret social media activity, such as deleted browser history or sudden password changes?
If you’re reading this article, you may be in a committed relationship and wondering if using a chat line is considered cheating. Or, you may be aware that your partner is using a chat line and unsure if it’s a red flag.
As you may have already realized, there is no definitive answer to whether or not using a chat line is considered cheating. There are many factors to consider within the relationship, and it’s essential to acknowledge that everyone has different boundaries.
The level at which a person considers a certain act as cheating varies from one individual to another. There are many grey areas, but one thing is certain: if anyone in the relationship is talking to someone else on a chat line and it results in making their partner feel hurt, jealous, and betrayed, then it’s definitely cheating.
If this is happening in your relationship, it may be time to have an open and honest conversation with your significant other.