What constitutes cheating?

A completely scientific and perfectly empirical poll, right?

I’m just interested in what Dopers think constitutes cheating. I’m in a situation right now where I need to behave as ethically as possible, so I’d like the feedback. Thanks.

It depends, is it a proficiency test that proves you won’t kill someone? (Engineer in Training) Or is it a competition where it migh provide an advantage due to a loophole? (NASCAR)

Any situation where you justify yourself by saying you “behaved as ethically as possible.”

Deliberatley committing an act that you know is
a) against the rules (of society, your company, the game, your country)
b) is likely to cause harm to someone else
c) is likely to cause a (reasonable) person to curse you
d) gives an unfair (meaning unearned) advantage to a person or group you wish to win (even if you don’t benefit yourself)
e) An act that allows you to win not based on your merits but on excluding / disadvantaging the other competitor

Wow, you people are fast. I just posted the poll. :smiley:

Based on the poll, anything that would be awkward if the SO found out.

If you have to phrase a relationship question as “acting as ethically as possible”, you have some evaluation to do.

The only one that can answer question accurately is the SO. You don’t get to define what is cheating and what isn’t. If the SO thinks it’s cheating, or you believe that the SO would think so, then it’s cheating.

Yup. All relationships are different.

I also agree with CCL’s assessment that if you’re trying to rules-lawyer the most “ethical” behavior, you’re already in over your head. Probably not cheating now but you’re almost certainly planning on doing it to the extent that you can justify your actions to yourself or your SO.

I’m took the OP to be asking what is OK in our relationships, specifically. I don’t think he’s asking us to project ethics onto his relationship, but instead, he’s asking what’s ok for us to do. Is that right, Agent Foxtrot?

In my relationship, we’re allowed to do anything we want, neck-up. A week ago, it was waist-up. It changes every few months as the relationship situation changes.

I can’t see the poll anymore, but I picked “cuddling and genital-touching” or something like that.

All of the options are cheating if you think that your SO might possibly think they are. Unless you plan to meet your SO in court, then you can try working some sort of loophole I guess.

I would be unhappy to find out through a third party that my wife was doing any of the options, except maybe the on-line contact which would depend on what what kind of “contact.”

In summation: What CrazyCatLady said.

My bf and I have a little more alternative relationship - but we play together or we don’t play. I’m a pretty upfront person - so the minute I see the potential for anything to happen that might lead to a play opportunity, I tell. I expect the same from him.

Besides - he’s my best friend - so if he’s flirting with a potential new playmate - I’m his happy cohort in crime.

I voted all of the above.

“Cheating” is pretty much doing anything that violates the trust of your SO.

If it feels like cheating, it’s cheating!

You’re a big boy, and, I suspect, know full well where the line is.

Trying to define the line so you can worm under or around it, is sleazy in the extreme.

There’s the letter of the law, and then, there’s the spirit of the law. You seem to be seeking to subvert the spirit of the law while appearing to respect the letter of the law. Ick.

By the way, you’re not fooling anyone.

In any situation where you know you could be acting more ethically, then you obviously aren’t acting as ethically as possible. I agree with elbows. It sounds like you’re looking for a loophole, not ethical advice.

Come again?

What’s with all the “opposite sex” in the poll? Can’t gay people cheat too?

I knew someone was going to raise a ruckus about that. :slight_smile: I said “opposite sex” for simplicity purposes. Yes, gay people can cheat.

My simple answer re cheating is: “If it has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be doing it.” You know when you are sneaking or doing something illicit. The same action–a lunch or a drink after work–can be totally innocent or totally depraved. It’s not always the action–it’s the attitude.

If you are lying, deliberately misleading or omitting information to your S/O it is cheating. All of the poll options may not be cheating in some peoples relationships.

Yeah, I didn’t select the “nudity around a member of the opposite sex” thing because in our family, we have four females (me, our three daughters), and one male (my husband). We’re pretty lax about nudity (well, except for my 18YO, who prefers that even I not see her exposed). So we’re nude or semi-nude around each other a lot. Doesn’t bother us. If you’re talking about him being naked in front of a non-related member of the opposite sex, or same being naked in front of him. . .well, that’s over the line.

But every couple really does need to figure out what “cheating” means to them. My husband has lunch/drinks with female co-workers, and I think nothing of it. I’m sure that if the situation were reversed, he’d think nothing of it.

But if you feel compelled to hide something from your SO, there’s your sign.