How Do We Best Define Cheating?

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Infidelity is the most piercing of betrayals.

When we are active in our sex or porn addiction, our definition of infidelity likely does not match our partner’s definition. We find all sorts of reasons for why our behavior isn’t really cheating, even though we know that our significant other, if he or she knew what we were up to, would strongly disagree. To clarify what does and does not constitute infidelity, sex addiction therapist and author Dr. Robert Weiss states:

Infidelity (cheating) is the breaking of trust that occurs when you keep intimate, meaningful secrets from your primary romantic partner.

Interestingly, this definition does not talk about affairs, porn, strip clubs, hookup apps, or any other specific sexual or romantic act. Instead, it focuses on what matters most to our partners: the loss of relationship trust. For our partners, it’s not any specific sexual or romantic act that causes the most pain. Instead, it’s the lying, the secret keeping, the lies of omission, the manipulation, and the fact that he or she can no longer trust a single thing we say or do (or anything that we’ve said and done in the past). It’s the loss of trust that defines cheating.

Task for Today
View your sexual behaviors through the lens of Dr. Rob’s infidelity definition.