How Do We Best Define Cheating?

Infidelity is the most piercing of betrayals.

When we are active in our sexual addiction/compulsivity, 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, noted sex addiction expert Dr. Robert Weiss provides the following definition:

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

Interestingly, Dr. Rob’s definition does not talk specifically about affairs, porn, strip clubs, hookup apps, or any other specific sexual or romantic act. Instead, it focuses on what matters most to your partner: the loss of relationship trust. For your partner, it’s not any specific sexual or romantic act that has caused 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 that you say or do (or anything that you’ve said and done in the past). It’s the loss of trust that defines cheating.

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