Everyone has different view on the subject of cheating. Many even believe that the mere attraction to another person is considered cheating. According to this viewpoint all of humanity has cheated on their significant other. Cheating is an act in which trust is violated in a relationship. One, or sometimes both, parties step outside the relationship to enjoy the affection of another.
To define cheating one must define a relationship. A relationship is the bonding of two people. These two people make a commitment to one another to let no one else come between them. This is a solemn vow made verbally by both parties in the relationship. The problem with most relationships is that they do not communicate these wishes very well. There are some people that believe that a person who goes on one date with them is automatically in a relationship with them and only them. They get jealous when they see their supposed partner out with someone else. The jealous person believes that they are in a relationship while the other person looks at it as just one date. The subject of exclusivity must be discussed in order for a relationship to take place.
Now that we have defined what a relationship is, we can move on to what counts as cheating. Cheating begins with the initial attraction. There is no need to cheat without the initial attraction. Once an attraction has been noticed the person will choose to fanaticize about the attractive person or realize the futility in cheating and return back to their significant other. If prolonged fanaticizing ensues there may be a risk of cheating.
Fantasies often turn into flirting, which is still not really considered cheating. A little harmless flirting really does not hurt anyone unless it upsets the other party in the relationship. Flirting should never happen if your significant other struggles with jealousy. This is not to say they are a jealous person, but anyone who has been the victim of cheating will tell you that even harmless flirting can bring up those memories of the heartbreak the cheating caused them.
The real cheating begins when there is a planned date with a person other than your partner. Lies have to be told in order for the date to happen. Anytime lies are to be told in a relationship it is a recipe for disaster. The person may say that they are going out with friends. They did not technically lie. The person may be a friend at this point, but the fact that there was a certain detail left out causes mistrust in the relationship. Any time there is mistrust there is the potential for a relationship to be in danger.
Of course we all know that there is a line that gets crossed when a certain amount of time is spent with another. Intimacy with anyone other than your partner is considered cheating. Holding hands, kissing, and the eventual act of love making are all intimacies shared between two people. When these are done with someone other than your partner it is cheating. No matter how it is rationalized in the mind of the cheater it is wrong and it is cheating.
There are other circumstances in a relationship where cheating may occur. There are times when fights will occur and certain substances may be used to forget the problem. In these instances the cheating becomes a random act and the person, most of the time, regrets the decision and returns to the relationship. This is, however easier to forgive that the slow maturation of a relationship outside the current one, but is no less cheating.
Since we are discussing what cheating is, I believe, it is also in our best interest to discuss why cheating is wrong. It was earlier stated that we, as humans, always want more. This is true and always will be. There is also a contradiction to this. We have a need for true intimacy and companionship. Monogamy is this part of humanity at work. We have a need to have someone else around to share our deepest secrets with. There is a certain comfort involved in knowing that you are waking up to the same person every day. When you come home from work that same person will be there. Cheating breaks the bond between two people. Even if the person who was cheated on can find it in their hearts to forgive the person who did the cheating, there will always be that brokenness in the back of the mind wondering if they will be there when you return home from work or if they will be there when you wake up. The truth is that even though there are reasons people cheat, the reasons do not outweigh the deep hurt that can be done to the other person in the relationship. Ultimately, it is love, trust, and respect makes up a lasting relationship. If these three are made to be the forefront of the relationship nothing will get in the way of a lifetime of happiness.