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Sex + Relationships

Things That Aren’t Technically Cheating But Might as Well Be

Let’s make one thing clear: every couple is unique, and it is up to them to communicate their boundaries and respect. A lot of what I mention might not bother some people and that’s totally fine! For some people, however, cheating is not always just sleeping with someone else. Read on for some insight on the different ways one might feel disrespected while in a relationship.


Everyone will have a different idea of what flirting is, which is why it is so hard to determine when it crosses the line. Sexual jokes, banter and getting a little too touchy-feely with a person of the opposite sex/whatever sex they’re interested in is something that I view as a major red flag and possible deal-breaker. To be fair, sometimes it isn’t always the person’s intention to flirt, they might just be an outgoing person who enjoys making others laugh and feel good in their presence. However, if you’re feeling disrespected and uncomfortable with the way your partner talks and acts around others, it is best to bring it up and let them know that you feel their behaviour is inappropriate. They might be dismissive and try to downplay their flirtatiousness, but do not let anyone invalidate your legitimate feelings of discomfort.

Dancing with someone else

If clubs and bars aren’t your cup of tea, you may be worried when your partner tells you that he/she is going out with their friends to one. Will they dance with someone? Buy someone a drink? Take someone else home? If you’re in a position where you think that your partner would behave disrespectfully on a night out, perhaps you need to question how seriously they are taking this relationship. Dancing in particular is hard to define because what really matters is whether or not it is sexual in nature. If you’re basically fucking someone on the dance floor but claim it’s not cheating because there was no actual penetration, I would respectfully have to disagree.

You’re too close to a friend of the opposite sex

This one is a little controversial. Guys and girls should absolutely be able to have platonic friendships with one another. However, there can be circumstances where things get a little… fuzzy. For example, if your partner previously hooked up with or had feelings for their friend of the opposite sex or maybe they had/have feelings for them. These are conversations that need to be had because you don’t want to break up a friendship, but you also don’t want to feel threatened.

Social Media cheating

Again, this one can get fuzzy because, in the age of the Internet, there’s no rule book. I’ve known plenty of girls who feel uncomfortable when their man is liking thirst traps and pictures of their ex, and honestly, I get it. It might just be that he’s mindlessly scrolling and tapping but it just doesn’t sit right with me. Liking pictures is just one of many ways to upset your partner, commenting, sliding into DMs and saving their pictures can also trigger my flight and fight response. And there’s also the issue of Snapchat because although snapchatting another person may seem harmless, that isn’t always the case. A simple conversation can help define the boundaries and ensure that you don’t feel disrespected online.

There you have it! Setting boundaries is a vital part of every relationship. Talk to your partner if you feel uncomfortable and don’t let anyone tell you that your feelings aren’t valid.

Mary Shanahan

Wilfrid Laurier '21

Mary is a fourth-year English student at Wilfrid Laurier University.
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