Having Sex With Someone Else Isn’t The Only Form Of Cheating

Infidelity comes in many shapes and sizes, and what one partner might consider cheating, another partner might not. For example, 60 percent of those who engage in cyber sex ― chatting it up online all dirty like ― don’t consider it cheating. But if that’s the case, then 40 percent clearly do, so if you’re in the 40 percent and dating someone in the 60 percent, there’s a definite problem there.

Infidelity may not be as clear-cut as it was before technology, but it doesn’t mean that it’s still not infidelity. In fact, there are more than a few ways that someone can cheat on their partner, so here are six forms of infidelity. Now you can know for sure if your behavior is inappropriate, or at least bordering on inappropriate.

  1. Emotional infidelity. Emotional affairs can start off pretty innocently. First you’re telling someone outside your relationship how you’re having a bad day, then it evolves into confiding in them things that you wouldn’t even confide in your partner. You may not be getting physical, so it could be hard to define it as cheating, but if you’re emotionally dependent on someone else as you pull emotionally away from your partner, then that’s total infidelity.
  2. Sexual infidelity. Well, with the word “sexual” in there, obviously we’re talking about physical cheating. But the thing with sexual infidelity is that it’s very rarely about love, but instead about being weak-willed  or that you just simply want to get it on with someone else.
  3. Online infidelity. Ugh, you can thank Facebook and social media for this one. Online infidelity is exactly what it sounds like: engaging in sexual behavior on the Internet. Whether it’s exchanging sexy messages on Facebook or setting up an account on Ashley Madison (the dating site for cheaters), but only to chat, it can definitely fall into the cheating category. While there may be no physical contact, the intention to maybe get physical is there and if your partner is investing more time in the sexual activities online than in their relationship with you, that’s infidelity, no matter how you slice it.
  4. Object infidelity. The problem with object infidelity is that it’s not exactly cut and dry. In these cases, the partner becomes obsessed with an object outside their relationship, for example work or a hobby that they can’t get enough of. It may not be a person with whom they spend all of their time, but anything that causes someone to neglect their relationship and put it second can be labeled this. It might not have you demanding a breakup as quickly as sexual infidelity would, but in the long run, it will definitely take a toll on the relationship.
  5. Romantic infidelity. I think we can all agree that romantic infidelity is the worst kind of cheating. This one isn’t just about sex, but about love, investing time in someone in else, and completely turning your back on your partner. Yes, some relationships aren’t meant to last, but when you fall in love with someone else, you owe it to your partner to break it off and save them any further humiliation.
  6. Obligatory infidelity. Obligatory infidelity is a strange one. It’s not about desire, per se, but the fear that if sexual advances aren’t reciprocated, they will be rejected. It’s about needing the pursuers approval, as opposed to having a real interest in them.
Amanda Chatel is a sexual health, mental health, and wellness journalist with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured in Shape, Glamour, SELF, Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Elle, Mic, Men's Health and Bustle, where she was a lifestyle writer for seven years. In 2019, The League included Amanda in their "15 Inspirational Feminists Every Single Person Should Follow on Twitter" list.

Amanda has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She divides her time between NYC, Paris, and Barcelona.

You can follow her on Instagram @la_chatel or on Twitter @angrychatel.