What non-physical actions are still cheating in your book?

A few weeks ago I was watching reruns of Angel on TNT. It was the next-to-last episode, “The Girl in Question,” in which Angel goes to Italy. The ostensible reason for his trip is to retrieve a McGuffin and avoid a demon gang war–but his true motive was that he had been keeping tabs on his ex-girlfriend, Buffy (just in case anyone here isn’t familiar with the show) and had learned that she was dating a long-time rival of his.

This sparked an argument–well, a lively discussion, anywhistle–between me and the girl I was watching it with. Angel, you see, HAD a girlfriend already, though she conveniently was never mentioned in this episode. I felt that, on top of the stalker-vibe Angel was giving off by paying people to watch Buffy, he was cheating on his current ladylove by doing so, and if she found out about it she’d be entirely justified in dumping him on the spot. My friend disagreed.

Which brings me, of course, to the question(s) of the day.

  1. Is actively keeping close tabs on an ex-lover, without the knowledge of one’s current lover or the ex-lover, cheating? (By “actively,” of course, I mean going out of one’s way–not merely reading newspaper clippings or letters from friends of friends, but actively seeking out information.)

  2. What other non-sexual behavior still qualifies as infidelity in your opinion?

  3. Have you ever been guilty of such behavior? If so, how? Likewise, have you had a lover cheat on you in a non-sexual way, and if so, how?

Yes, I would consider Angel’s actions to be “cheating”. In my opinion intimacy is not limited to sexual contact. If someone else is taking up as much or more of my SO’s thoughts than I am, he’s being unfaithful to me, in a way.

I have a friend who had an ongoing flirtation going with another of our coworkers, even though she had a long term boyfriend (they’re now married)at the time. Now, I’m not saying all innocent flirting is cheating, but they frequently had lunch together , timed it so they could take their breaks togther, etc… Even that wouldn’t be so bad, but everyone could sense the bond between them. Those that didn’t know about both of their respective mates assumed they were a couple, even though they were never seen displaying any physical contact whatsoever. One day she and I were talking about her relationship with her SO and she said something about being tempted but could never bring herself to cheat on him. She was gobsmacked when I said she *was * cheating on him.

Sorry to ramble. My point is that emotional bonds go much deeper than physical deeds, which to some people is the sole definition of the term “cheating”.

Personally, I think that if you are deliberately keep from your SO because you know (s)he will go ballistic, that should qualify as cheating.

If you have some involvement with a former lover, and you tell your current SO that you’re calling FL on the phone, or visiting the FL on a business trip, having drinks with FL, engaging in heavy petting with FL or whatever, and the SO is okay with it, then it’s clearly not cheating. You and your SO make “the rules” of your relationship together.

If you’re secretly stalking FL online, asking your friends to give you updates in FL’s activities, etc., and you have a strong suspicion that if your SO knew, they would be uncomfortable with that, so you keep it hidden, then even if you’re not laying a finger on FL, you’re Cheaty McCheatenstein, Mayor of Cheatsville.

If I was in Angel’s girlfriends shoes, and I found out, damn right there’d be fireworks. Probably not automatic dumpage, but we’d definitely be having a Talk. If Angel had told me, “You know that Buffy was, and in some ways, still is, very important to me and it’s important for me to know that she’s okay. She doesn’t want to have any contact with me, but I still have some . . . aquaintances who let me know how she’s doing,” then I’d probably say, “Okay, I understand that your feelings for her are very strong. If it going to go any farther than keeping tabs through the grapevine, I want to know about it beforehand.”

But, then, I have a severely underdeveloped jealous streak, and Angel’s too old, too moody, and too undead for my tastes. :wink:

  1. Yes, and Nina would have been right to rip his lungs out for it. ( Totally off the topic question: Who would win an all-out fight to the death between a werewolf and a vampire?)

  2. Anything that has an emotional commitment to it.

  3. Nope. I’m still in touch with several ex-girlfriends, but only as friends, and only long-distance. These are people who pre-date my wife by many years. I would never contact (or want to, for that matter) the two that directly preceded her.

Did her SO know about this, and was he OK with it? If so, then it wasn’t cheating.

And Angel’s actions, while cheating, are also kind of disgusting. Hiring people to keep an eye on her?

You know, you could be describing a relationship I had with a co-worker a few years ago, and I confidently say that I was not cheating. We were friends. If I’d had the exact same relationship with a *female * co-worker, no one would think twice about it. Because he was a guy, people assumed we were sleeping together.

Oh, and while Angel was wrong to go after Buffy that way while he was dating whatshername, just the fact that I *can’t remember her name * mitigates it somewhat, for me. :wink:

I’ve engaged in non-physical cheating. In fact, it’s what destroyed my marriage.

My MO was chatting on instant messenger with girls. Sometimes it took the form of simple, casual flirtation. Other times, it was pretty sexual, even explicitly so. (Yes, I learned to type with one hand.) And a few times, it grew into actual emotional attachment. All this from the safety of work, all while I was ostensibly happily married.

I could go into detail on just how attractive and addicting it is, how much you come you crave that “hit,” that rush of approval and acceptance when some other anonymous person wants to interact with you. But I’ll save that for my upcoming “Ask The Serial Online Womanizer” thread. :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyway, it abolutely was cheating. My wife knew it was, I knew it was. In many ways, the emotional attachments I formed - which never manifested themselves physically - were far more hurtful to my spouse and marriage than it would have been if I’d simply gone and paid a prostitute for some casual, anonymous sex.

He knew of him, yes, because she mentioned him sometimes. More times than not, she didn’t tell him about their lunch dates or after work cocktails. So yeah, he wasn’t kept a total secret, but she omitted *a lot * of details. On some level, I believe she knew she was cheating because I and others in our group were cautioned not to mention that he was with us on a given date.

Apologies, Diana; I’m not implying that you cheated. Unless you are bi, you could not have had the same relationship with a female coworker that these two people did. There was a palpable “lurve connection” between them even though they never (to my knowledge) consummated it. In your friendship (if you don’t mind my asking) were you at all physically attracted to him? Was he, to you? In any event, you know how it was and I wouldn’t begin to question that. But I will tell you that it was as clear as a bell what was going on in her heart and mind, regardless of her protest to the contrary. She did eventually cop to it, too.

WOOKINPANUB, I wasn’t personally offended. I was just pointing out that things aren’t always as they appear to others. *Everyone * assumed that my friend and I were “more than”. We weren’t.

Now, if she *admitted * that she was infatuated with this guy, then clearly in that particular case, things *were * as they appeared.

I’m another person who figures if you know what you’re doing would upset your partner and you don’t want him or her to find out about it, you’re cheating.