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The threshold for cheating in a relationship may seem obvious; but, when you take a step back, a canyon of grey area emerges.

What may be acceptable to one individual could be over the line to another and vice versa. What is clear is that boundaries need to be established within one’s specific relationship so that these physical and emotional lines are well defined.

The classic definition of cheating to most folks is the physical interaction taken to its pinnacle, having sex with someone that isn’t your spouse. However, at what point is physical intimacy characterized as cheating? Is it OK to hug or kiss someone else in the presence of your spouse?

For some, the answer is yes. Yet, there are plenty of couples out there who consider even looking at another person with sexual desire a form of infidelity.

Can infidelity occur if no physical action is taken?

Some people believe that thinking about or doing any activity with a member of the opposite gender besides your significant other is cheating. This is where the concept of mental or emotional intimacy creeps into the picture. Having special intimate moments with others, including conversations, going on walks, having dinner or coffee, can all be deemed cheating.

Furthermore, technology is creating a plethora of new ways to cheat. Sexting, sending inappropriate emails or graphic pictures, and secretly interacting on Facebook can all be considered cheating. Not to mention that some couples go as far as banning pornography since that can also be considered a form of cheating.

What seems to be at the root of defining infidelity is a betrayal of trust, either the physical or emotional variety. While it may be uncomfortable and difficult to discuss the boundaries of your relationship, it’s better to understand and define one’s expectations than it is to cross the line and find out when it’s too late.

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