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It’s true: Men and women see infidelity differently. Scientists literally studied the phenomenon—grey areas and all. She might agree that either one of you having sex with someone else constitutes cheating. That’s a hard and fast no-no in a monogomous relationship. But how about the things you don’t consider cheating?
Does she agree flirting with the hot girl in your yoga class is no big deal? How about if you talk to another woman, daily, about your struggles at work and in your family life? Or, sending pics and direct-messaging on Snapchat? Not so simple, huh?
We asked 20 women to dilvulge, with absolute honesty—no inhibitions—what counts as cheating? Their answers (on what does and doesn’t count) should clear things up for you. And if you’re still unsure, talk to your girlfriend. There are some must-have conversations that, while uncomfortable, need to happen to strengthen your relationship.
*Note that these are the opinions of each individual woman we interviewed and not neccessarily those of Men’s Fitness.
“Well, obviously the physical stuff. But I think if you’re looking to people beyond your significant other to meet your emotional needs, in ways that you can’t share with him/her, that’s probably even more damaging. Basically, anything you feel like you have to keep secret is probably not a good look!” – Maize B.
“Talking to any other female. Joking! Joking. Going outside your relationship, physically and emotionally.” – Anna M.
“Anything you feel like you have to keep a secret from him/her is cheating, regardless of whether it’s physical or emotional.” – Eliza J.
“Talking to someone suggestively counts as cheating. Emotional cheating can be worse than kissing.” – Julia C.
“I think you can emotionally cheat, but it would have to be enough that if your significant other knew, they’d break up with you over it.” – Cassandra S.
“I think any type of relationship you have to keep a secret is cheating. It can be physical or emotional. If you have to hide it, there’s probably something not right about it.” – Lauren R.
“I’d say kissing someone else is cheating. Liking another girl might not be cheating, but it’s definitely showing you something is off in your own relationship.” – Rebecca A.
“To me, anything physical. Kissing and anything onward.” – Melissa C.
“Anything physical, or indicating you want to have physical contact with someone else.” – Alexa P.
“Kissing and any type of sexual behavior is definitely cheating. But so is sending provocative pictures, direct-messaging dirty texts, and crossing the emotional boundary where you’re confiding in another woman.” – Anne R.
“Actions you feel you need to hide. Lies and deceit are just as hurtful.” – Nicole G.
“Crossing the line, physically. Two people not in a relationship could kiss and it can be a mistake—like, if someone dive bombs your face when they’re drunk in a bar…but if you don’t run the other way, that’s a bad sign.” – Sarah C.
“Obviously if you’re talking to another woman for hours every day, something’s not right in your relationship. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a man confiding in another woman who isn’t his significant other. Men are allowed to have close female friends.” – Cheryl Y.
“I’d say cheating is any kind of physical act, from kissing to sex. But that doesn’t mean ‘talking’ to or seeing someone in a way your partner wouldn’t like is fair game.” – Lauren M.
“I think anything sketchy like always liking another girl’s Instagram.” – Natalie G.
“Any physical contact. If it’s not something you would do in front of your significant other, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.” – Liz C.
“Cheating is physical. But I believe it’s worse if you start to have an emotional connection. For instance, if my boyfriend went to get coffee with a girl behind my back, it’d be worse than a random hookup.” – Sifats M.
“Kissing and everything up from there. Grinding and groping in a club is definitely disrespectful, but I wouldn’t say it crosses that cheating line.” – Brianne S.
“Any physical body-on-body encounters, starting with kissing and beyond, as well as exchanging overly-friendly messages for a long time and meeting up in person on the DL. Just thinking someone is cheating will drive you mad and most likely ruin a relationship.” – Claire B.
“I think anything that involves kissing and above is cheating.” – Danielle C.