When is cheating really cheating?

21:51, Oct 04 2012

Cheating. That one little word is enough to send a stabbing pain straight to the heart of many of us.

For personal reasons, it's a topic I feel very strongly about. In my opinion, cheating is one of the most cowardly and hurtful things you can do to someone.

Many people have felt the hurt of being betrayed by our one-and-only and even some of the world's biggest stars (think Sandra Bullock, Halle Berry, Robert Pattinson) aren't immune to being cheated on.

But what actually constitutes cheating?

The topic came up at a dinner party with friends the other night.

I've always thought I had a pretty good definition of cheating - anything you wouldn't want your partner doing or anything you would feel uncomfortable with your partner knowing you are doing.


However, at dinner, I was really surprised at the amount of dissent about the boundaries of cheating, even between the two halves of couples in the group.

Of course, we all agreed on the main offences - basically everything from first base onwards.

But there was one grey area that became the subject of a heated debate over our main course - dancing.

Some people felt dancing with people of the opposite sex was totally ok, even if it got a little dirty, while others felt this constituted a full-on betrayal.

My opinion was that it depended on how far along the dirty-dancing scale you go. Everyone needs to let loose and cut some shapes on the d-floor once in a while, and it can get a little wild after a few drinks, but if it gets into more groping than grooving I think there's a serious problem.

Also, I think it depends whether the people are dancing one-on-one or whether they're part of a wider rowdy group where hands and bodies could understandably get mixed up.

We all agreed that dirty dancing, if it was cheating, would be pretty easily forgiven.

The cheating conversation mutated a little over the fruit salad and icecream, and we began examining the difference between a physical affair and an emotional one.

I've always said it would be easier for me to forgive a physical betrayal, than an emotional one. I'm not saying if EK had a drunken pash or one-night-stand I'd be gazing into his eyes and telling him it was all ok. No, I would still be tearing up his clothes and spray-painting "manwhore" on his new car (I hope you're reading this EK!).

But I think it would be much, much worse finding out he had deep feelings for someone else, even if he hadn't necessarily acted on them physically.

Others felt the complete opposite - that having feelings was normal, but acting on them took it to another unforgivable level.

By the time we had moved from dinner to coffee, we still couldn't agree on the exact definitions of cheating. The only conclusion I came up with, besides the fact I still think cheating is disgusting, was that the most important thing was that both members of a couple agreed on the same terms.

So, please, weigh in on the debate here.

What do you think constitutes cheating? Where do you stand on dancing or texting? Do you think a physical affair is better or worse than an emotional one? Could you/have you forgiven a cheater? Comment below, email me at anna.turner@press.co.nz or follow me on Twitter.

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