What Counts As Cheating? Men And Women Have VERY Different Ideas!

Fifty Shades of Grey

According to this relationship expert, there are some blurred lines when it comes to infidelity.

Finding out your partner is cheating has to be the most painful experience in anyone's life, and some would argue the hardest bit is trying to forgive or knowing when to walk away.

But what would YOU say is the worst case scenario? Finding out your partner cheated on you after a night of passion or finding out they had actually fallen in love with someone else all together? 

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Well, depending on whether you're male or female you could answer this question very differently.

A new test designed to see if there are any gender stereotypes when it comes to opinions on infidelity have shown that there is a BIG difference in how men and women view relationships.

Photo: Youtube

According to results, published by the journal 'Sex and Relationship Therapy', men are much more upset by physical betrayals while women are upset by both physical and emotional cheating.

Researchers asked 354 US university students to complete an online questionnaire on infidelity in which they were given a list of dirty deeds ranging from kissing and knocking boots, to more emotional acts like 'falling in love but not acting on it' or fantasising about someone else. 

They were then asked to rate the activity in terms of seriousness on a scale of 1 (definitely not infidelity) to 4 (definitely infidelity) and the results were really surprising!

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Photo: Youtube

Women concluded that emotional and physical cheating were acts of betrayal, while men believed that only physical acts are regarded as cheating and falling in love doesn't count. 

Which is pretty much exactly what another, much larger study, of 64,000 Americans (of all ages and sexuality) found last year.*

While most couples would regard kissing and any form of intimate touching as cheating, there are some acts which have become a point of contention for couples.  

Emotional Betrayal: 

This pretty much counts as falling in love but not acting on it. Research shows that more men consider one night of passion with a stranger as cheating more so than if they're partner fell in love with someone else, whereas nearly all women see this as a betrayal.

Close Friends:

What about those ‘work husbands’ and ‘work wives’? You know, the person you see everyday whom you casually flirt with and confide all your most deep and dark spousal secrets? Surely that doesn't count as cheating right? WRONG. Research shows it's mostly women who count this as cheating, which is understandable when you take into account the amount of people who meet their long-term partners at work.

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A leading divorce lawyer firm found that sending a flirty text here or there, or maybe even the odd sexy picture was regarded as an act of betrayal by nearly half (49 percent) of women, while only 34 percent of men saw it as an issue. 

Meanwhile, secret messaging and jealousy caused by flirting on social media is one of the biggest issues to cause arguments for young couples today.


Studies showed that both men and women both regarded fantasising, such as watching X-rated videos, as the lowest form of betrayal when it came to cheating. So we guess it's still okay to think about Channing Tatum then? Phew. 

Photo: Youtube

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So why do men and women have such different views when it comes to physical acts of infidelity? Well, MailOnline's expert Tracey Cox argues it's just the way we're wired and these feelings go back to our primitive nature. 

She writes for MailOnline: "It all goes back to evolution and the fact that men face something women will never have to face. Are they the real father of their children? Paternity uncertainty — conscious or innate — could be the reason why physical infidelity triggers such a threat for men."

Despite their differences, Tracey says both sexes do agree on two main principles, as she concludes: "We might all have different definitions of infidelity and tick different boxes in a survey, but on an intuitive level, we know what our partner would consider crossing the line." 

We couldn't agree more! If your gut says you've crossed the line...then you probably have.

*study published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour