There’s nothing that ruins a relationship faster than the devastating reality that your partner hooked up with someone else. It’s the worst kind of betrayal and it can leave a hole in your heart that might never fully heal. However, sleeping with someone else isn’t the only way to be unfaithful to your partner—here are some other disloyal behaviors you might be guilty of.
Sending pictures you wouldn’t want your mom to see
It’s a no-brainer that sending nude or almost naked selfies to someone you aren’t dating is horribly disloyal, but you don’t need to be sans clothes for it to cross a line. Any suggestive or provocative picture to someone outside your relationship is wrong. If you think you’ll feel guilty after you press send, chances are it’s a bad idea. Save the sensuality for your actual partner.
Using the “L” word that should be reserved for your boo.
Outside of the family and friends you may casually say “love you” to when you’re saying goodbye, those special words belong in your relationship only. Cheating on someone with your emotions and commitment is just as bad if not worse than physically being with them, so this is not OK.
Cuddling, snuggling, or any non-platonic touching
Hugging friends is totally acceptable, but anything more than that is not cool if you’re in a relationship. You don’t have to be sexually intimate for physical touch to feel like a betrayal, and if you’ve ever seen a female friend hug your guy for a few seconds too long, you know exactly what that feels like.
Lies of any kind
One of the hallmarks of a healthy relationship is being able to trust that you’re always being honest with each other. If you feel the need to lie about absolutely anything to your partner, then you can’t blame them for questioning your loyalty. There’s a fine line between harmless omissions and outright lies, so be very careful.
Comparing your partner to someone else
No one is perfect and it’s unrealistic to expect to never get the urge to draw small comparisons. It’s also normal to find yourself minimally attracted to others when you’re in a committed relationship. But if you start to pick apart your partner and find all the ways they don’t stack up, you’re not being true to your relationship. You should feel confident in what you have, not trying to keep score with others.
Exchanging texts you feel the need to delete
Whether it’s totally inappropriate dirty messages with someone else or just casual conversation in which you’re talking crap about your partner, if you would panic if they found your phone, chances are you’re out of line. No one expects you to never vent to your friends, but there’s a difference between complaining about that thing they did last night or downright insulting them to someone else.
Putting conditions on your love
The whole point of giving someone your heart is that you will love them no matter what demons they may be hiding. As soon as you make your partner feel like you’re only with them because of certain aspects of their personality or life, or like you’ll leave them if they do/say/think XYZ, that love is tainted.
Any type of manipulation and extortion
When someone directly or indirectly takes advantage of the other person, trust is instantly betrayed. Whether through using something as clear as blackmail and rules for behavior or as inconspicuous as making them feel guilty when they do something “wrong” or “bad,” this kind of rigidity is incredibly toxic for couples.
Financial or material theft
Understanding boundaries of material belongings can get fuzzy in a relationship, especially after you’ve been dating a while. But even awhile into it, taking objects or money from your partner without them knowing is completely unacceptable. Stealing from anyone is a crime, and doing it from the one you love is a serious form of disloyalty.
Disrespecting your partner
Knowing your opinion is valued and encouraged by your partner is an essential part of being together. Both people need to feel like they’re respected, both as individuals and as part of the couple. Once that’s gone, or if it never develops, it’s very difficult to feel safe in the relationship. Disrespecting each other or your relationship is a guaranteed way for what you have to fall apart.
Withdrawing emotionally from the relationship
The best relationships are ones in which both people are fully committed to giving each other the emotional support they need. If one partner fails to prioritize the other, the effects can be devastating. Whether they can’t provide needed comfort during a tough time or are intentionally acting cold and aloof, it’s a serious problem.
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