For many couples, cheating is a major deal-breaker. For others, extramarital affairs are commonplace and accepted by both parties as no big deal.
Either way, the whole notion of “cheating” is one filled with slippery slopes and grey areas.
Emotional affairs, for example, can be just as damaging to relationships a frivolous one-night stand with a stranger in Vegas can be. Many are divided on what type of physical contact counts as cheating, as well. While some may say “hell, no” to extramarital handholding or texting, others would be ok if their partner kissed someone else on the lips.
Personally, I wouldn’t exactly be thrilled if my boyfriend kissed another woman. Even Ashley Madison users say that a kiss is never just a kiss; recent data reveals that the cheaters consider kissing cheating. One of the major factors in an outside-of-relationship kiss is, of course, the consideration of who kissed who. Naturally, this begs the question: are passive kisses easier to forgive or are there no such thing as innocent, caught-off-guard participants? According to Ashley Madison data, the blame game doesn’t seem to work in this case with 46.2 per cent of members surveyed claiming it wouldn’t matter if their partner didn’t initiate the kiss — what matters is that the kiss took place (and you thought Ashley Madison users didn’t have any morals).
Whatever the nature of an affair – whether physical or emotional – we have modern technology to thank for facilitating it.
While social media makes it easier to get caught (suspicious and determined lovers are better than detectives), it also makes it easier to have an affair in the first place. For starters, it makes it simple for someone looking to cheat to assess his or her options; Facebook is like the Sears catalogue for anxious partners looking to stray. According to the cheaters on Ashley Madison, Facebook (not surprisingly) is the number one online platform of choice for those seeking affairs, followed by professional networking site LinkedIn (surprisingly).
Furthermore, thanks to technology, cheaters no longer have to meet people in real life to cheat – it’s simple to have affairs with people they’ve never even met before. The cheater may try to justify the innocence of an online relationship (both to themselves and to their partner) because it lacks physical contact. When a girlfriend caught her boyfriend on Bumble, he claimed it was all in good fun (“like a stupid game”) and harmless, as he wasn’t actually meeting up with his matches.
Let’s not forget that sites like Ashley Madison aren’t going anywhere, despite the controversy that has surrounded the brand in recent years.
According to Ashley Madison member data, 10 pm – after the pressures of the day have subsided and the kids are finally asleep — is the most popular time of day Canadians are sending messages in hopes to start an affair. It’s also the time of day when secretive phone behaviour may go unnoticed (take note if your spouse has a new thing for “staying up to get some work done” on the regular).
So, who’s most likely to stray? A couple of former cheaters shared their insights.
“I cheated on a long-terms boyfriend a handful of times when I was in my early 20s,” admitted Nicole, 32. “I was young and felt trapped and controlled, yet I wasn’t brave enough to end the relationship. So, I cheated to fulfill an emotional and sexual void I was lacking in my partner. I eventually ended things, but I should have done so years prior. I never cheated since and never would.”
For Eric, 43, his reasons to cheat were “selfish and stupid.” Meaning, he got drunk with his buddies, loved the attention and the feeling that he “still had it” and got caught up in the moment. Does he regret it? Yes. Unfortunately, the damage is done. When his then-girlfriend found out – thanks to a strong sense of women’s intuition and solid social media skills – she ended things on the spot and refuses to speak to him to this day. “She was a good girl,” says Eric, literally shaking his head.
While cheating is obviously heartbreaking, anxiety inducing and disappointing, some relationships are able to withstand such breaks in trust. In fact, in some cases, you even hear of it bringing couples closer together (seriously). When it comes down to it, it’s one thing to share a heat-of-the-moment yet instantly regrettable kiss, and quite another to maintain a deep emotional and sexual relationship with someone else.
Either way, whether you’re in the heat of an intense locking of eyes with a sexy stranger, or debating contacting that old fling from your past, take a moment to be honest with yourself in terms of whether or not it’s worth it in the long-run.
The reality is, the decision could easily send you packing – either for a few days or forever.
What are your thoughts on cheating? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.