100 People Reveal What They Consider To Be Cheating In A Relationship

by Candice Jalili
Studio Firma

She "cheated on me." He "cheated on me."

At first thought, it's super clear cut. It's black and white. The person slept with someone else, right? But anyone who's had to endure the emotional rollercoaster that was Ross and Rachel's break up after the whole "we were on a break" debacle on "Friends" knows for a fact that it really is not that simple.

There are so many other factors that play into whether or not you cheated, and so many different ways you can cheat. There's emotional and physical, but even within those two categories there are so many little things that could set your partner off.

Do you still talk to your ex all the time? Did you kiss someone while you were drunk? Did you buy a drink for another girl? Have you been flirting with someone else over text?

So we decided to find out: How do people define cheating?

We asked 100 men and women, aged 18 - 31, to rate a series of shady actions, ranging from liking another person's Facebook profile picture to soberly having sex with another person, as either "not cheating," "somewhat cheating" or "definitely cheating." We said that "another person" in each of the actions represented someone whom your SO could be sexually attracted to.

And here we have the results for you.

What is considered "not cheating"?

So what's just absolutely not cheating at all as far as our respondents were concerned? Actually, a lot of things. But let me give you the top three things for you to tell bae to STFU about the next time you're fighting.

First and foremost, 99 percent of our respondents agreed that liking another person's picture on social media (Facebook or Instagram) is just blatantly not cheating. This was closely followed by wearing something an ex got you. So if you love that dress your high school boyfriend got you, 94 percent of our respondents agreed that you could wear it without a worry in the world.

Finally, a very close (93 percent) third place went to watching porn. So if that's what you're into, carry on with your bad self.

And, just because I know you were wondering, here are all of the other things a majority of people didn't think were cheating:

  • Your partner is best friends with another person on Snapchat (92 percent).
  • Your partner listened to a playlist another person made for him/her (92 percent).
  • Your partner grabs lunch with a co-worker he/she could be interested in (82 percent).
  • Your partner buys drinks for another person/lets another person buy drinks for him/her (80 percent).
  • Your partner checks out another person in front of you (77 percent).
  • Your partner uses your same inside jokes with another person (77 percent).
  • Your partner uses a flirty emoji with another person (70 percent).
  • Your partner does an activity he/she clearly would otherwise have no interest in with another person (68 percent).
  • Your partner hangs out with his/her ex (56 percent).

All of this being said, obviously what's cheating and what's not will vary from relationship to relationship. You might want to check with your SO before you go ahead and like every hottie's profile picture while you're wearing the dress your ex bought you and having some porn opened up in an internet browser tab.

What is considered "somewhat cheating"?

We included a "somewhat cheating" option for our respondents to define things that weren't quite black and white cheating, but were definitely a little wrong. I like to think of "somewhat cheating" as just being shady.

So what did our respondents consider somewhat cheating?

Flirting with another person over text ranked as the most shady, with 75 percent of our respondents agreeing that is somewhat cheating. Your SO regularly hanging out with another person he or she has feelings for followed closely, with 62 percent of respondents considering this somewhat cheating. Finally, 61 percent of our respondents agreed that your SO having those feelings in the first place (even if they don't necessarily act on them) is somewhat cheating.

Turns out, falling into the grey area of "somewhat cheating" also leaves your partner in a grey area on whether or not they're going to leave you. The large majority (69 percent) of our respondents agreed that they would maybe leave their partners for somewhat cheating on them.

When explaining their answers, most people echoed the sentiments of this 23-year-old woman, who said:

It depends on how they would act about it when I brought it up. If they get super defensive or make me out to be the one in the wrong, I would probably leave them. If they are apologetic and understand why I think it's cheating, I would stay with them.

Basically, everyone agreed that whether or not they would leave their partners depended largely on how their partner reacted to being confronted.

What is considered "definitely cheating"?

The top responses for what was definitely cheating were, for the most part, pretty obvious. The LARGE majority of respondents agreed that any physical or sexual interaction with another person is definitely cheating. And it doesn't matter whether you're drunk or sober.

In the least shocking news, the vast majority of our respondents (99 percent) agreed that soberly having sex with another person is definitely cheating. Drunkenly having sex wasn't much better, as 97 percent of respondents agreed that was also, without a doubt, cheating.

But what if it was just a friendly little make out? Well, according to 97 percent of our respondents, a sober make out definitely still makes you a cheater. A drunk make out might cut you some more slack with your SO... but not much: 77 percent still agreed that a drunken make out is definitely cheating.

Sucks to suck (face). Haha, get it?

A whopping 86 percent of our respondents agreed that they would leave their partners for definitely cheating on them. Most people who provided us with explanations for this decision said something along the lines of this 23-year-old man, who said:

Once I know they definitely cheated, there will always be a sense of insecurity and mistrust.

Basically, most people agreed that once they've been cheated on, a sense of trust has been broken and just couldn't be rebuilt. So, if you want to stay with your partner, here's a good tip: Don't cheat.

And there you have it: a comprehensive list of what's cheating, what's not and everything in between. Next time your SO is on your jock about that picture you liked on Facebook last night, whip this bad boy out and end the ridiculous fight once and for all.