The Real Deal on Temptation and Cheating in Long-Distance Relationships

As the saying goes, sometimes love really just isn’t enough to keep a relationship alive. With collegiettes™ all over the world this summer for internships, study abroad, jobs at home and more, I can bet that some of you are beginning to feel the strain of distance on your relationship. Not only are you worried about your boyfriend being tempted by beautiful girls (who, sadly, aren’t you), but you, too, are finding yourself interested in other guys. So when does a little temptation and flirting cross the line? What does interest in other people mean about your relationship? And, perhaps most importantly, how can you remind yourself (and your boyfriend) that your relationship is worth it … if it is?

How is Cheating Defined?
In our current world of sexting, online dating, Facebook stalking, etc., the line between staying faithful and cheating has become blurred. While certain behaviors, such as having sex with a person who is not your partner, are clearly cheating, other actions are more ambiguous. How would you feel if your boyfriend grabbed a number from another girl? How about if he crashed at her place – on the couch – after a late night? Or what if he invited her out to lunch?
To help answer this question, I enlisted the help of J.M. Kearns, relationship expert and best-selling author of Shopping for Mr. Right, Why Mr. Right Can’t Find Youand Better Love Next Time. “My answer is simple,” says Kearns. “If you have to hide it from your partner, it’s cheating. If you wouldn’t want your true love to know about it – which means you’ll conceal it, and lie if necessary – it’s cheating. Apply this acid test to any activity, and you’ll get your answer.”

To apply this to your relationship, it is imperative that you and your boyfriend discuss boundaries before you embark on your long-distance relationship. If you’re already apart, it’s not too late! There is always time to improve your relationship. “When you decide you want to be exclusive, sit down together and talk over what that means to you and how you translate it into the world of smartphones and computers,” says Kearns. “You can’t get mad over behavior if you haven’t agreed on whether or not it’s okay.”
The two of you as a couple must define ‘cheating’ together so that you can have a healthy, committed relationship. Discuss behaviors, actions and intentions that are acceptable and those that are not. Use examples! Your boyfriend may think asking for a girl’s number is cheating, but he may not believe giving a girl his number when she asks for it is cheating. Remember, there is a fine line, and it must be drawn.

Allie Duncan is a senior, class of 2013, in the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. She is specializing in Strategic Communication within the Journalism department, while also pursuing a Textile and Apparel Management minor. In addition to writing for Her Campus, Allie is a member of Kappa Delta sorority - Epsilon Iota chapter, the Publicity Director for Her Campus Mizzou, a Campus Representative/Intern for Akira Chicago, a Contributing Writer for Chicago-Scene magazine and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. She spent the 2012 summer as an intern at Tory Burch, and the 2011 summer as an intern at Vogue magazine. A Chicago native, Allie enjoys shopping, watching reality television, cupcakes, expensive shoes and reading magazines. She hopes to eventually land a job in fashion public relations while living in New York City, Los Angeles, or Chicago.

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