There’s a fine line between cheating and flirting. Boundaries between the two vary from couple to couple. There are always discussions about what’s considered cheating and what’s not. However, in today’s day and age, there’s one particular issue that falls in a gray area; online flirting.
Eighty-two percent of women believe online flirting is a form of cheating, according to the State of Dating Report, a study conducted by JDate and Christian Mingle; two online dating sites. Only 56 percent of men agreed it was considered cheating.
“It’s very hard to draw conclusions with regard to cheating,” Rachel Sussman, a New York-based marriage and family therapist and licensed clinical social worker said. “What is important to remember when looking at this stat [about women’s and men’s different definitions of cheating] is that the difference of opinion about this topic can create problems for relationships.” Sussman partnered with JDate and Christian Mingle to analyze their findings. About 2,700 U.S. singles between the ages of 18 and 60 were surveyed.
One of the major reasons flirting could be considered cheating is many people believe it could lead to physical contact. Another finding the State of Dating study found was all women believed passionately kissing is considered unfaithful, compared to only 86 percent of men.
“Communication and talking it through before it becomes an issue is important to build trust and make sure both people in a relationship are on the same page,” Sussman said. Open communication is key for couples, she says, particularly on sensitive subjects like cheating. “When people start dating, there should be a talk regarding what the boundaries and lines are with cheating or similar topics. The more issues you can sort out early on, the less likely a problem will happen, particularly a relationship-ending issue.”
So the next time you’re confused about the difference between flirting and cheating, talk it over with your significant other, and they’ll let you know.
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