Define cheating in your relationship

Dear Bailey

“I’m conflicted; I don’t know what to consider cheating. Is it not until having sex, or could it still be cheating if it is only kissing?”


Whether something is cheating is up to you and your partner. For example, sending suggestive texts or emails is considered cheating when you are in a monogamous relationship, unless you gave permission for your partner to do so.

Kissing is considered cheating unless otherwise discussed. There is nothing wrong with feeling that kissing is cheating so don’t let your partner pressure you into thinking differently.

Some people feel that even thinking about having intercourse with another person is cheating, which is a little extreme since fantasizing is a natural thought process.

There are couples who don’t consider it to be cheating when one has sex with another person. While they aren’t mainstream, these types of relationships are becoming more common.

This is called an “open relationship,” which means that they are committed to each other but still have sexual relationships with other people. Usually in these situations, the two in the committed relationship ask permission from their significant other about who they can sleep with and keep each other informed about who else they are sleeping with.

In long-term relationships like this, there is a great deal of trust and open communication between the two people and commonly with whomever else is involved with them.

Another term used is “swingers,” which is when two or more couples, usually married, have recreational intercourse. In both situations safe sex and regular testing is still incredibly important because multiple people are involved.

Not everyone has the same perspectives on sex. Like so many other situations, communication is important so tell your partner what you think cheating is.

It might help if you define your relationship. Are you monogamous, casual or something else? Because monogamy is the primary idea for our society, it is extremely important to inform your partner if monogamy is an option currently or in the future.

Together you can set boundaries. If you disagree about where each of you are, don’t force the relationship. Yes, relationships take work, but if the two of you have different desires and ideas about the type of relationship you want, it will be unsatisfying for both of you. If you require monogamy and your partner feels that is too restrictive, maybe the relationship is not a good idea.


Kourtney Bailey can be reached at