Opinion: If You Wouldn’t Do It In Front Of Your Partner, It’s Cheating

Cheating isn’t always a black-and-white issue. There are things besides sleeping with someone that are hurtful enough to be seen as betrayal. If you feel you have to hide something from your partner and wouldn’t dream of doing it in front of them, then you’re cheating. It really is that simple.

  1. You have something to hide. You don’t tell your partner that you’re going to meet up with a “friend.” Likewise, you only charm the pants off your colleagues when your partner isn’t around. Why? You know you can’t do that in front of them because they’d probably throw a drink in your face. And yet, you don’t stop doing such things behind your S.O.’s back. You make the choice to be deceptive. I’m sorry, that’s shady AF.
  2. You’re lying. Keeping information to yourself is the same as lying — and that, my friend, is the first step on the cheating staircase. It starts with you thinking you shouldn’t mention that your ex is chatting to you on Facebook and then it becomes something more. Even if it doesn’t, the lie is enough of a betrayal.
  3. You know it’s disrespectful. How would it feel if you knew your partner was chatting to their ex or flirting with their male/female friends when you weren’t there? It would hurt like hell. It’s disrespectful to do stuff behind your S.O.’s back so don’t even go there.
  4. You know it looks really shady. You know how it looks when you do secretive/shady/underhanded things behind your partner’s back — that’s why you hide it from them. If it looks offensive, guess what — it is! Saying “It’s not what it looks like” isn’t a good excuse. If there was an easy explanation, why didn’t you offer it from the beginning?
  5. You’re not “protecting their feelings.” If you tell yourself you’re just protecting your partner from feeling unnecessary pain or rejection from your behavior, you’re fooling yourself. If you really cared about their feelings, you wouldn’t be doing it to begin with.
  6. You’re denying them the chance to make a decision. If you hide your behavior from her, like that you got a lap dance at the strip club during your friend’s bachelor/bachelorette party, you’re preventing them from having the chance to deal with it in the way that’s right for them. They might be cool with it, they might not, but you don’t have a right to deny them that choice by hiding your behavior from that. That’s what cheaters do.
  7. There’s such a thing as micro-cheating. You might think of cheating as having sex or a big emotional affair, but there are smaller behaviors that are just as bad. This is known as micro-cheating, and it hurts. Examples include confiding in someone else, not mentioning that you’re in a relationship when chatting to other people, and crushing on someone else.
  8. So what if “nothing will come of it”? When you’re engaging in behavior behind your partner’s back, you might think, “So what? It’s not like anything will come of it. It’s just harmless flirting.” But don’t you see? Nothing has to come of it. It’s bad enough on its own, and if you can’t be honest about it, then you don’t deserve to be in a relationship.
  9. There’s something wrong in your relationship. If you feel the need to do these behaviors when your partner isn’t around, then maybe you’re not really happy in your relationship. Why else would you have to get these ego boosts elsewhere? Are you hoping to keep someone on the sidelines as a backup in case your relationship doesn’t work out or are you checking out the scene to see what’s out there? Even if you’re just having some fun, it’s not the kind of fun you should be having if you’re in a committed relationship.
  10. Crushes aren’t necessarily harmless. I don’t care what you say: if you have a crush on another person besides your partner, it can easily turn into real feelings or even an affair. Sure, you might cut off all contact with the other person, which is the decent thing to do, but if you’re not doing that — and in fact you’re engaging with them behind your S.O.’s back — then you’re not having “a harmless crush”. You’re a jerk waiting for the opportunity to cheat.
  11. It’s not just about your actions. Meeting your ex for coffee might really have been nothing but a cappuccino and catch-up, but that’s not what hurts your partner. It’s that you didn’t trust them and value the relationship enough to tell them the truth.
  12. You’re leading a double life. The minute you start having to do things behind your partner’s back, there’s something wrong. You’re leading a double life. You have to pretend and lie and that’s ridiculous. Even if you don’t have another person in your life, you’re acting like a cheat even if you haven’t officially cheated… yet.
  13. You want the best of both worlds. You want to be in a committed relationship, and yet you also want the freedom to act like you’re single. Stop being such a coward! If you want to act like a single person, then dump your partner instead of doing dodgy things behind their back. Besides, they’ll find out sooner or later and then you’ll be screwed.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.