I have several friends in very happy, exclusive relationships. They love their partners and make beautiful pairs, but each couple has varying relationship dynamics, so they tolerate different things when it comes to their partner’s interactions with other people. Some of my friends don't like their partners ~talking to~ any other people, period. Others are OK with them texting other potential matches in a friendly way, and some draw the line at one-on-one meetings with others. That’s because they all define "cheating" differently, and worry that flirty interactions may present opportunities to cheat. Because really, what do people consider cheating? Does something like texting count as cheating, or does it become infidelity when you cross into physical territory?
Taking social media into account makes things even more complicated. For example, I know people who hate it when their partners follow their exes on Instagram, and get into serious arguments if they ever like or comment on any photos of people who aren’t them. But I also know people who don’t think of that as too big of a deal, and instead, only get angry if their partners slide into their DMs or start texting others. It really seems like the definition of “cheating” varies from person to person, and couple to couple.
Like this one time, in college, when I was at a party and I saw a classmate openlymaking out with a rando in a corner. NBD, it’s college, whatever. But that girl was one of my Facebook friends, and she absolutely had a boyfriend at the time who, alas, was not the rando in the corner. I mean, far be it from me to pry into somebody’s personal life (especially someone who I’m not actually friends with), but pry I did, and after some sleuthing, I discovered that this girl and her boyfriend had an open relationship, so she was technically in the clear. Not cheating! But for any other couple who was totally exclusive, would an interaction like that call for immediate relationship termination?