When is it okay to cheat on your significant other?
Infidelity in the News
Affair-enabling site and married dating service Ashley Madison was hacked earlier today, and the private information of 37 million users worldwide stolen. The hackers are threatening to post this information publicly if the service is not taken down.
I keep wondering who they group is behind this sort of digital attack – angry husbands and wives? Divorce lawyers? Somebody whose relationship is over thanks to their ex-partner's dalliance on this site?
When Is It Okay to Cheat?
According to PsychologyToday, over 90% of Americans say that cheating is unacceptable – yet 30-40% do it. It's easy to say right off the bat that cheating is a no-no, but what about gray areas? Glamour columnist John Ortved thinks it's hypothetically okay to cheat in a couple scenarios. I'm not so sure. Would you go for any of these?
Your partner cheated on you first.
They cheat, so you cheat – but can a relationship ever come back from that? I mean, what kind of logic is that?
"Henry, I forgive you for cheating on me with your secretary – but first, I'm going to go bang mine. Now we've both had sex with other people and our relationship has no problems whatsoever."
You have a once-in-a-lifetime chance with a celebrity.
Think running into Tom Hardy or Kristen Stewart at a party – and they're inexplicably into you. Would you go for it, even if you were in a relationship?
I feel like my man would understand if I made out with Kristen Stewart at a party. Or Emma Watson. Or Keira Knightly. Or Natalie Portman... okay wow, I have a lot of girl crushes. I just have a feeling I'll end up with the kind of person who'd give me a big ol' high five after hearing about it and tell me they'd totally have done the same thing.
What they don't know won't hurt them.
I'm sorry, but this is a total no in my book. Whether your partner knows or not, if they're expecting you to be faithful to them, you should probably do that. This is the excuse of scumbags.
Granted, I know really great people who have made mistakes and regretted it. They took their infidenlity as a sign that they were not in their relationship for the right reasons, and subsequently broke up with their partners without ever telling them they had cheated. That I guess I can understand, because being cheated on can really mess with a person. As long as you don't try to have your cake and eat it too, maybe sometimes cheating can remain a secret. But only as long as you never do it again, to anyone.
What about flirting? Or a kiss? Is that cheating?
If you go out to a bar with your girlfriends, and you meet a few dudes there and have some flirty conversation, does that count as cheating? What about having a flirt buddy at work? I'm a big fan of having someone to flirt with in the workplace – it makes the day go by faster, and keeps things interesting. But is that cheating?
Or what about a kiss? I've had someone kiss me while I was in a relationship. I wasn't expecting it, so I didn't really have time to react before it happened. I think the gray areas of flirting and kissing are both something each couple has to decide for themselves. I'm a flirtatious person, and honestly, I do it almost constantly without even really thinking about it. I doubt I'll ever be able to turn that off. But I'm also extremely loving, and will always dote on my partner 1000% more intently than any silly flirty friendship. My partner will have to know those things about me.
But everyone is different. My best friend used to really like to kiss girls when she was drunk, even though she identifies as mostly straight. But it made her boyfriend jealous, and so they talked about it, and she stopped. You've gotta be open and honest and talk about these things.
Different Country, Different City, Different Area Code
Wait, really? This is on the list? Come on, John. Just because you're on vacation doesn't mean you get to sample the native fruits. Since when does travel justify infidelity?
Dumb Drinking Games
Truth or Dare. Spin the Bottle. Imagine a tipsy kiss in the context of one of these games that doesn't go any farther than that. Is that cheating?
I might ask my partner if they feel comfortable with me playing these kinds of games before engaging in them. Or apply a same-sex-kissing only rule, since I also identify as moooostly straight (mostly...), so that my bf doesn't have to worry about me kissing other dudes. The bottom line, as with most relationship issues, is communication.
And if you've got an Ashley Madison account, unfortunately, now might be the time to communicate about it – before your nudies and secret cheating fantasies are splashed all over the web.