Whether once a cheater, always a cheater is actually true doesn’t really matter. In some cases, you might be cheating on your significant other without even knowing it. Infidelity comes in many forms and isn’t just limited to sexual exploration outside your relationship (unless your relationship isn’t monogamous, in which case sleeping with someone else may not be cheating at all).
Forget your spouse busting in on you in bed with another person. Being unfaithful is a wide-reaching beast. And when that beast rears its ugly head, watch out. Your significant other is bound to end up hurt. Even if you consider yourself the perfect partner, it’s possible you may be sorely mistaken. Here are eight ways you could be cheating and not even know it.
1. The interest affair
Your partner should come before your hobbies — it’s as simple as that. And as Becky Whetstone tells The Huffington Post, an interest affair can be with anything. From politics to exercise to hunting, it’s all fair game. The problem, though, is your partner will be just as neglected as if you were cheating with another person.
The repercussions may not be the same, but feelings will still be hurt. “What is true of all of them is that a husband or wife becomes so obsessed with their favorite new activity that it becomes their first priority over their spouse,” Whetstone said. Don’t let this happen to your relationship.
2. Financial infidelity
Regardless of whether or not you and your partner have a shared bank account, it’s important you’re honest with one another when it comes to matters of money. Hiding details about your purchases, income, or that large chunk of cash you’ve stashed away will only lead to more dishonesty and the inevitable blow-up arguments.
“Financial cheating is anything that involves keeping a secret or lying about money to your partner,” NerdWallet writes. “Any amount of secrecy and dishonesty is unhealthy in a relationship and may well lead to bigger issues in the future; deception and omission are toxic to a relationship.” So, figure out a way to be upfront when it come to finances.
3. Netflix cheating
No, really — it’s a thing. Netflix cheating occurs when one partner watches a show before the other. And sure, you may be thinking, how hard is it to simply wait for your significant other to get home before going ahead in your favorite series? Well, pretty darn hard. After all, that next episode of Game of Thrones isn’t going to watch itself.
There’s even a survey about it!
You could say Netflix cheating has become a worldwide epidemic. In fact, it happens so often, Netflix conducted a survey to back it up. The TV service conglomerate found a whopping 46% of streaming couples admit to Netflix cheating, and few have plans to stop anytime soon. This form of infidelity, albeit more hilarious and less intentionally hurtful, can really be the wedge that drives a couple apart — at least when it comes to couch time.
4. Emotional affair
For some people, having an emotional affair is even worse than a physical one. According to Woman’s Day, an emotional affair “occurs when one partner is channeling physical or emotional energy, time, and attention into someone other than the person they are in a committed relationship with to the point that their partner feels neglected.” You shouldn’t be depending on someone else to make you happy, nor should you be divulging your most intimate secrets. That’s what your significant other is for.
Ways you could be emotionally cheating
Emotional cheating comes in many forms, and there’s no limit to just how deep you can go with another person who’s not your partner. Just because you’re not sleeping together doesn’t mean you’re not crossing the line. At a certain point, your relationship is no longer platonic.
Cosmopolitan lists several ways you could be emotionally cheating, such as getting dressed up when you know you’ll be running into a certain person or going out of your way to time with them. Just don’t do it, OK?
5. Verbal cheating
Words can build someone up or break a person down, which is why it’s so key you choose your words wisely. In the heat of the moment, everyone says things they don’t mean. The weight of your words, however, can carry a heavy burden. Family Share says, “Verbal comparisons or slander can make your partner feel violated, less than others, or insecure. This is cheating. You are not committed to the relationship.” So, be sure to think before you speak.
6. Online relationship
Regardless of the nature of an online relationship, cyber-flirting opens you up to world of possibilities in terms of where the relationship could go over time. After all, you’re only connected through the computer, so what’s the harm? Well, if you’re not careful, you could get wrapped up with your online lover.
As Aaron Ben-Zeév, Ph.D., explains in Psychology Today, there’s quite a bit of debate around this one. Some people think it’s OK, while others truly believe any type of online communication qualifies as cheating. From innocent chatting to full-blown cybersex, an online relationship is no good for your real-world one.
7. Fantasizing about another person
Of course, it’s impossible to control your dreams, or even thoughts. But consider this: The inability to really stop yourself from continuously dreaming about someone other than your partner may be a sign it’s time to mull over your relationship. Perhaps it means you shouldn’t be with your current partner in the first place. Shape suggests it’s OK to fantasize, but you shouldn’t always be dreaming about another person. Your partner deserves to be on your mind more than anyone else.
8. You have a work spouse
The terms “work wife” and “work husband” have become commonplace in today’s society. But unless you’re destined for Jim and Pam bliss, this could be the kiss of death. Your current relationship will no doubt suffer, which is fine if you really are in love with your work spouse. If you’re not, though, it’s bound to blow up in your face. As Business Insider points out, there are definite signs your favorite co-worker has become your work spouse. Your actions at the office will only end up hurting your partner in the long run, so think carefully before you go down this road.