In a relationship, what are the boundaries when it comes to interaction with someone of the opposite sex? Does it have to be physical to be considered cheating? What goes too far and crosses the line?
These are all valid questions, whether questioning them in your current or future relationships.
So many times people have found themselves in a position where they or their significant other has said, "We haven't even said 'I love you' yet. It isn't 'really' cheating if it's before marriage. What they don't know, can't hurt them."
If you have wandering eyes and are seeking attention somewhere else, does that mean your relationship is lacking in certain areas? Is it your fault if your partner becomes uninterested? Is it part of your duty to make sure they feel complete in each area that it is your "job" to satisfy them in, whether that be physically or emotionally?
Who has seen the movie "Hall Pass"? By giving your partner an open opportunity for freedom with no boundaries for a certain period of time, will that help a relationship in the end? Risking letting the other find out that there is no one else better for them? And what if it backfires? What if, in fact, the very opposite happens?
Cheating is something that is viewed extremely differently between couples and potentially even the two partners in the relationship. At times it would almost be easier if there was a rule book you could look at to double check that your thoughts or actions weren't cheating. But maybe if you are second guessing yourself, then you already have your answer.
OK, so first off, I feel like I am set up to fail with my opinion, considering I am married to the author, but she wants honesty and I am going to give it.
As men, we have been programmed since the stone age to "spread our seed" to as many women as possible. We aren't programmed for monogamy.
However, once we do find that special someone who we commit to, then I have to throw those thoughts and feelings out the window. I am not going to say all men feel this way, but I hope they do.
The best way to look at the thought of cheating, in any relationship, is if what you are participating in would bother you if your significant other was doing it.
For example, if I am at work and flirting with a co-worker, I may find it harmless, but if I thought about my significant other doing the exact same thing, would I be upset? If my answer is yes, then it's time to change my ways.
Personally, I am very comfortable in my marriage. Some may think I am naive considering the statistics out there regarding cheating and divorce rates, but if I had doubts in my spouse whatsoever, I would have never married her in the first place. That's not cockiness or arrogance; it's just confidence in my spouse.
So fellas, if you are out doing something that you know would upset you if your significant other was doing, then it's time to end it. Especially if you know you are with "the one." I know it stopped for me.
Zeroing in on seven years of marriage and three children later, I can tell you - no woman in the world is worth throwing that all away.
Innocently flirting with someone or sending a flirtatious text that is completely harmless in your eyes, but of course, you would not want your partner seeing. Are these crossing the line?
I think this is something that many are faced with. No matter how much we say we are deeply in love, does that mean you have never had a guilty thought? You never found your mind (or eyes) wandering to another person and playing out thoughts in your head that you would be mortified if your partner could see?
Bottom line, we all are human. We may have been in love, but I find it extremely hard to believe that not once have you found yourself in an unsafe zone, mentally, even if only for a few seconds.
What's hard is that so many of us are bitter and hard on our partner for their honesty.
If your partner is sincerely trying to open up to you and figure out why feelings and emotions have taken a turn. "What do you mean you're not happy? I do everything for you! There's nothing more I could possibly give you."
When we see our partner "overreacting" to something they saw or learned about contact we've had with someone else, do you fairly switch it around? What if this was you on the other end? Would it seem so harmless? Would you have zero anger, resentment or anxiety toward the situation?
And then, once you've come to the conclusion with your partner that one or both of you have, in fact, crossed the line and cheated, is the relationship over?
Do you give it another chance or tell them, one more time and you're out the door?
Once you have fully committed yourself to a relationship, the rules and boundaries have to be set and mutually agreed upon by both partners.
Both have to agree, feel confident and respect that this is what is going to work best in the relationship without encountering fidelity issues.
Trying to beat the odds today of living in an honest, truthful and faithful relationship, you truly will be in the minority.
And if you are, enjoy every single minute of it.