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What Is Cheating In A Relationship?

The 5 common types of infidelity.

BY Mercy Kipchilat

Mar 14, 2023, 07:38 AM

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Cheating in a relationship, also known as infidelity, refers to acts of unfaithfulness committed by a person to their partner in a committed relationship.

While many of us might only be conversant with physical or sexual affairs, it’s not the only type of cheating in relationships and there are other various forms of infidelity.

Here is a look at 5 types of cheating in relationships that you need to know about.

Physical Cheating.

Physical cheating or sexual infidelity is the most common type of cheating in relationships and it’s also regarded as the most grievous form of infidelity in most cultures around the world. Don’t we all know of at least one person in our circles whose relationship ended terribly because of physical infidelity?

When one person steps out of a monogamous relationship and becomes sexually intimate with another person, she breaks sexual exclusivity with their partner and ultimately breaks their partner’s trust and the dynamics of their relationship.

The acts that are regarded as sexual cheating vary from culture to culture but they generally include intercourse, kissing, or sensual touching with another person besides your partner.

Emotional Cheating.

Emotional affairs happen when one person in a monogamous romantic relationship forms a strong emotional bond with someone outside of the relationship. 

Most people involved in emotional affairs never realize that they are actually cheating on their partners since emotional cheating rarely ever gets physical and they simply shrug it off as just close friendship.

You could be emotionally cheating on your romantic partner if you do the following:

  • You spend a lot of time texting, emailing, or video-calling someone who isn't your partner.

  • You've grown less intimate with your partner and more distant and emotionally estranged from them.

  • You tell this other person things about yourself that you haven't told your partner. You also confide in the other person about the problems and concerns in your relationship.

  • You constantly think about this other person, and you may even have sexual fantasies and dreams about them.

  • You frequently compare your partner with the other person, and you are even increasingly irritated with your partner for not acting in the same way as the other person.

  • You are secretive about your relationship with this person. You delete messages and call logs with the other person and you lie to your partner about them.

Online Affairs.

The rise of social media, online dating platforms and fast internet speeds have all contributed to the rise of online affairs which are quickly becoming a common type of cheating in relationships right after physical cheating.

Online affairs typically happen when a person in a monogamous relationship forms a strong secret emotional bond sometimes with sexual undertones with another person besides their partner through a digital platform like online dating apps, social media platforms, emails, and phone calls, just to name a few.

You might be having an online affair if you flirt with another person besides your partner through the previously mentioned platforms, or if you spend a lot of your time secretly texting another person online.

Yes, it might be just innocent flirting and you may never even meet with your online crush, but it still counts as cheating. Sorry, we don’t make the rules. 

Financial Infidelity.

Relationship experts argue that lying to your partner about how you spend your money counts as cheating. This is one of those types of cheating in relationships that many people don’t even know is cheating.

When you secretly spend money in ways that affect your joint finances with your partner, like say in gambling, making secret personal investments, or on drugs and alcohol, you are cheating on your partner.

Commemorative Cheating.

Commemorative infidelity happens when a person in a relationship has fallen out of love with their partner but remains in the relationship because they feel obligated to do so.

Since such a person no longer feels sexually attracted or emotionally attached to their partner, they might be involved in relationships with other people but justify their actions by explaining that it's not wrong to seek love elsewhere since it’s no longer in their relationship.