Submitted Date 09/30/2018

What exactly is cheating? You and your potential partners may have different definitions of infidelity. And while most lovers don't talk about that line until after it's crossed, it's important to know where each of you stand beforehand. Being unfaithful isn't solely sleeping with another person. It's actually anything you wouldn't do in front of your significant other. Another way to look at infidelity is doing anything that doesn't work toward, or that works against your commitment to your current partner.

By this definition, there are many ways you could be cheating or cheated on right now without even knowing it. Here are 5.

1. Flirtatious Behavior
In person, online, through texts, in comments, or messages of any kind, flirting with anyone other than your boo is being unfaithful. Leaving or liking racy comments, sending, entertaining or not stopping questionable DMs, or simply telling someone you're interested is a big no-no. There's no need to engage with anyone else in this way. And if you think this is okay you've got a lot to learn about love and fidelity.

2. Say You're Single
Not mentioning your relationship or saying you're single to someone who's definitely throwing vibes your way is totally underhanded and shady. But you may also walk a fine line when you don't mention your commitment to someone you're not sure is into you. Someone who loves and respects their relationship will mention their significant other in passing because they're on their mind. Intentionally leaving out this info means “out of sight, out of mind.” Or you're trying to keep your dude or dudette out of the potentially intimate conversation.

3. Testing the Waters
Staying on dating apps and sites when you're taken is tacky and immature. Forgetting to hide or deactivate your profile is one thing. Actively searching for and contacting people is quite another. Even if you never message or meet up with anyone you're still dipping in the dating pool behind your partner's back. Don't wade around ankle deep while your guy or gal is fully out of the shallows. Get back on dry land, or break off your ball and chain and dive into the deep end.

4. Take a Number
Giving or taking phone numbers should be an obvious off limits activity. But for those who try to skirt the line between fidelity and infidelity, they feel as long as they don't text the number it's okay. And even if they do text, as long as they don't call the number it's okay. And even if they do call, as long as they don't meet up it's okay. And even if they do meet up, as long as they don't hook up it's okay. You see how flawed logic and a lapse in judgment can quickly lead to trouble. Whether it's the first step or the last, the intent is to do something behind your partner's back that would at best displease them and at worst betray them.

5. Touchy Feely
Getting a bit handsy or touchy feely with a person of your preferred gender could come off as harmless fun. But again, if you wouldn't do it around your significant other you know you're in the wrong. So keep kisses on the cheek, tickling to a minimum, hands above the waist, and hugs short and sweet.

If you think all these actions are appropriate it may be hard to ask you to empathize with another person. But if you could put yourself in your partner's shoes and try to imagine how you'd feel if they did any of these things, you would have your answer on whether or not you should do them.

But that's just the start. Not doing something because you wouldn't like it if it were done to you is a step in the right direction. But eventually you should put the kybosh on these tacky activities not because of how you see them, but because they are hurtful to your partner and your partnership. And they're just plain wrong.

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