What Counts & What Doesn't When It Comes to Cheating

Stephanie Booth | Apr 20, 2017 Love & Sex
What Counts & What Doesn't When It Comes to Cheating
Image: iStock.com/gilaxia

unhappy couple lying in bed

Everyone thinks they know what cheating is -- including the lines one would have to cross to betray a partner. Yeah, we thought we were pretty clear on that, too -- until Mike Pence declared that he'd be cheating if he ever ate dinner with a woman who wasn't his wife. Lucky for us, a new survey commissioned by Utah's Deseret News polled over 1,000 people across the country about what they consider "cheating." The results? OMG.

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Throw any previous knowledge about cheating out the window because these findings are shocking. And reveal what really goes on in American bedrooms beneath the surface. One wouldn't think that dating apps have an impact on couples in a serious relationship -- but hey, the Internet has changed EVERYTHING.

More from CafeMom: 10 Signs Your Marriage Is Really Over

From what constitutes actual sex, one-night stands, texting outside the relationship, and some very interesting information about the sexual habits of millennials, this list doesn't miss a beat. We'd share the entire list here but, uh, that would be cheating. So take a look at these new findings about cheating and let us know if they seem true!

  • Actual sex is cheating...usually?

    couple nuzzling with ice cream

    You'd think regularly having sex with someone other than your partner would be considered cheating by, well, pretty much everyone. Not so! Surprisingly, only 76 percent of people surveyed by Deseret News thought so. In fact, 6 percent of respondents said it was only cheating sometimes. No word on whether this is the same group of people who think ice cream only sometimes has calories.

  • Sexting is probably cheating.

    woman on cellphone with husband in background

    Let's say you send a flirty text to someone who is most definitely NOT your partner; 51 percent of respondents think this is totally cheating. If the message is "sexually explicit," that number rises to 69 percent.

  • Having an online dating profile is definitely cheating, right?

    woman on smartphone

    In a LTR but still maintaining your Tinder profile? No worries. Only 63 percent say this constitutes cheating.

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  • A one-night stand is very much cheating.

    couple in bed
    iStock.com/Katarzyna Bialasiewicz

    One-night stand: Cheating? Or not cheating? Well, 73 percent of people surveyed said damn straight it is! And 8 percent were all like, "Well, sometimes." Meanwhile, 19 percent -- who maybe have open marriages?! -- responded, "Never."

  • Following your ex on social media is not really cheating.

    woman looking at her phone

    Stalking your ex on FB? Turns out 39 percent of respondents are down with that and say it's "never" cheating. No thoughts, though, on what it should be called.

  • Going to a strip club isn't considered unfaithful by most of us.

    strip club sign

    If your partner hits a strip club without you, is s/he cheating on you? Not unless you're Mormon! Less than a quarter (23 percent) of survey respondents thought this equals adultery. But a whopping 62 percent of Latter-Day Saints said oh yes, it always does.

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  • Watching porn without your partner is NBD.

    keyboard and mouse

    Interestingly, 53 percent of people surveyed believe that watching porn solo is most definitely NOT cheating.

  • Going to dinner with someone who's NOT your spouse might be cheating.

    man and woman dining out
    iStock.com/Casarsa Guru

    Let's say Ryan Gosling asks you to dinner. JUST dinner. Because you know, you're so damn interesting. Is this cheating on your spouse? Well, 37 percent of respondents -- not just Mike Pence and his wife -- said yes. They were NOT asked if they would still go, however.

  • Repubilcans are more down with cheating than Dems.


    Speaking of politics, the survey sheds some light on how people's thoughts about cheating have changed recently. Republicans, it seems, have become way more accepting of presidential candidates having affairs. Democrats, far less so.

    More from CafeMom: 5 Signs You're About to Cheat on Your Husband

  • Religion factors into your POV.

    kids in church

    Where religion's concerned, Mormons have the strictest views about what "cheating" means. Catholics, on the other hand, are the most permissive.

  • Millennials are bigger prudes than Gen X-ers.

    millennial woman with headphones

    Contrary to every episode of Girls, millennials aren't more permissive than older generations. In fact, they have more rigid views about adultery than, say, Gen X-ers.

  • Women still stress more about cheating than men.


    And in news that will surprise exactly no one, when you compare these survey responses by gender, we women are much more likely than men to label something as "cheating." Where we come closest on finding common ground? Watching porn and following an ex on Facebook.

    More from CafeMom: 12 Women Reveal Why They Cheated or Want to Cheat


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