Today I want to discuss the potentially polarising topic of cheating in a relationship, specifically when does flirting cross the line? But first…
I can’t help but wonder whether this admission could lose me some readers… I hope not; I’m trusting that the wonderful people my blog attracts share my view, if not my precise values – that we should be able to agree to disagree. Okay, here goes:
I can’t stand Big Brother.
I watched the first ever series as, having studied Psychology, it intrigued me on an academic level. Alas, the programme quickly descended into a bit of a pantomime, the format being designed more and more for laughs (for the audience), with less and less regard for the wellbeing of the contestants. It makes for uncomfortable viewing in my opinion, and I don’t like or condone it.
What I find particularly odd though is that people are queuing up to be tormented and humiliated in their quest for a slice of fame.
So, yes, you could say they signed up for it, but as far as I’m concerned that’s simply another dimension of its cringe-worthiness.
Okay, so now I’ve written my disclaimer I’ll move on to what this post is actually about. It’s one I’ve been meaning to write for some time but never quite found the time for. On Tuesday both myself and Pixie were unwell so I made a cuppa and tuned into Loose Women, planning to put my feet up for a change while she napped. Alas, as a blogger it doesn’t take much for me to suddenly feel compelled to write…
The ladies were discussing a situation on Celebrity Big Brother whereby there was some flirtation taking place between two of the contestants (at least one of them was in a relationship).
(For the record, Big Brother is not a programme I usually watch; did I mention that already?)
When Does Flirting Become Cheating?
What actually constitutes cheating?
Holding hands; a passionate kiss; anything beyond that? Or only when full penetrative sex takes place?
Or, perhaps, is it none of these things, but instead when an emotional connection has been established to someone who is not your significant other? When does flirting become cheating?
Perhaps, even, it depends on the circumstances and whether a cheeky but essentially innocent gesture is in public or in private; or – more significantly – in front of a partner or spouse? For some, the humiliation of being forced to observe that behaviour would be too much; for others that very openness would negate any concern of untoward intentions.
Naturally there is no definitive answer to the question because the parameters of what is acceptable will differ for each of us depending on many factors, not only those I’ve outlined above.
My hubby and I have a pretty good protocol which can be applied to every couple and every situation:
If you know it will upset your partner, then you’re cheating. It really is that simple.
How so? Because it’s a matter of respect, and if you would willingly go through with something that you know would hurt your beloved, then that is disrespectful.
Of course it could be said that’s rather too simplistic. What of those situations where alcohol or perhaps an argument are involved? What about those occasions when ‘it just happened’; ‘we got carried away’; ‘it went further than intended’? Well, actually, we have an answer for that too… When does flirting become cheating?
When Does Flirting Cross the Line?
There’s always a moment; a ‘safety line’ if you will.
It could be accepting a drink, or a lift, or an inappropriate compliment. The moment itself is innocuous – but crucially, it opens the possibility to any of the lame excuses I mentioned above. We have to be incredibly naïve for that moment to go unnoticed: we know when we’re putting ourselves in harms way – the same way that we know when someone is hitting on us.
So, if you choose to remain faithful – because it is a choice – then the only guaranteed way for us to protect our relationships is to recognise and acknowledge that ‘moment’ – and heed it.
That sometimes means going home before we’re quite ready to, or taking the bus rather than the easy – but perilous – option, or even just refusing to engage in a particular conversation which is edging its way towards dangerous territory.
It’s about putting our relationship before our ego; about making the conscious decision that we will not allow ourselves to enter a threatening situation in spite of the buzz of excitement that may come with it.
Essentially, it’s about cutting that sensation dead before it’s allowed to take hold and turn our common sense away from common decency.
We all have the same choice: the choice to be reckless, mindful of the fact (whether we care to admit it or not) that infidelity may or may not follow; or we can choose to remain faithful.
Do you agree, or do you think there’s a grey area I’m refusing to acknowledge? When does flirting become cheating in your opinion?