Listening to the radio the other morning, a woman explained how her boyfriend recently caught her cheating on him — twice, in the same day. She and he shared a studio apartment, and he came back during his lunch break one afternoon to find her having sex with someone. He left the scene and returned to work, only to come home hours later to find her having sex with a different person.
The hosts of the radio show were horrified not just that the woman had cheated on her boyfriend, but that she had cheated with two different men. Their disgust made me wonder, why is it more socially reprehensible to cheat on your significant other with two different people than with one person? Are there different degrees of cheating?
Personally, I would never cheat on an intimate partner, nor would I be inclined to continue to date a partner whom I knew had cheated on me. At best, cheating strikes me as a display of cowardice, disrespect, lack of self-control, and/or selfishness.
However, people define cheating differently — and it absolutely could be definined differently for each of your relationships. Where do you draw the line, if you draw one at all? Is it intercourse with another person? What about other physical acts? What if there were no physical acts, merely verbal expression? What if the relationship is exclusively emotional?
Also, what if there was an intent to cheat, but no cheating actually took place? Would that do less damage to your relationship if your partner(s) found out there was intent without execution?
As far as I’m concerned, if you and your partner(s) agree that having sex (in any way you both/all define “sex” ) with people outside of your relationship is totally fine, great. The problem is when the limits set by parties in a relationship are understood, but someone decides to breach them anyway.
What are your thoughts? Is some cheating more tolerable than other types? Are there even other types?