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Cheating doesn’t just start at someone’s lips and end in their pants. Cheating describes anything you do with someone that you wouldn’t want your partner to know about. So many people engage in sketchy behavior and say, “It’s not technically cheating.” Oh yeah? Then why don’t you call up your partner and tell them in detail what you did? No? Don’t want to do that? Exactly. If you really love someone, your mentality shouldn’t be, “What can I get away with?” It should be, “I want to be super conscious that I don’t even accidentally find myself in a situation that would hurt my partner.” And, all of these situations would.

Reminiscing about what could have been

Sometimes someone from the past drops into your life—someone who you almost got with, or who there was always sexual tension with. They move to your town. They start running in the same social circles as you. But now, you’re taken. It’s immature but sometimes those people will try to engage you in conversations that start with something like, “It’s a shame we never got together.” It’s always flattering—yes. But, how would your partner like to know that you responded to that with, “I know. I was always so attracted to you.” How would you like to stumble across a little instant message chat between your partner and someone else that looked like that? If somebody from the past tries to get you into a conversation like that, you should immediately say, “Well, I’m honestly really happy with the person I’m with now.” End of story.

Your friendship is based on sexual tension

No one will ever admit when they have a friendship like this. You might be in a happy relationship but, you have one single male friend who, you know, if he got into a relationship, you wouldn’t be friends with anymore. What does that say? That what’s holding that BS “friendship” together is the possibility of “what if?”—a possibility that disappears if you are both taken. If you know you’d be jealous to see one of your male friends with another female, you either need to end that friendship or end your relationship, because clearly you’re not 100% committed to or realistic about either.

A friend who likes you

Do you have a friend who is in love with you? He blatantly says things like, “I’m going to try to steal you from your man” or sends you texts saying, “I’m thinking about you…” Not only is it completely unfair to your partner for you to keep someone like this in your life, but why are you keeping that friend around? Simple: you want attention. You need attention. It’s more important to you than being faithful and yes, if you’re indulging that sort of attention from another man, you’re being emotionally unfaithful. If you do anything short of telling that person they’ve got to get out of your life, then you’re indulging a deep and dark desire for attention. It is your responsibility to make that behavior stop. And, it’s yours because you’re the one who has the power to hurt your boyfriend’s feelings. Your lovesick friend isn’t responsible to anyone’s feelings. He’s single.

Don’t ask, don’t tell

This goes back to the need for attention issue. If you’re ever in a situation where clearly someone is entertaining the idea of hitting on you or trying to hook up with you, and you do not tell him you’re in a relationship, something’s wrong in that head of yours. If you’re out with a group of single girlfriends and you meet a group of single males, who you end up spending most of the night with—fine. But, if your 3 girls are hitting it off with 3 of the guys, and the 4th one is eagerly sticking by your side, how would your boyfriend like to know that you never told him you were in a relationship? How would he like to know that you let this guy believe all night he was earning brownie points towards sleeping with you? How would you like if the reverse happened? The excuse, “He didn’t ask, so I didn’t tell him I had a boyfriend” doesn’t fly. What would the harm be in telling him? Oh yeah. You wouldn’t get attention anymore.

He has a girlfriend

Sometimes a man just doesn’t know what he wants. He’s got a girlfriend. He also wants you. You really want him. Instead of being strong and walking away, you allow yourself to engage in what you believe is a “gray area.” You get late night drinks with this guy and have deep conversations that the girlfriend never knows about. You never touch. But, you are both 100% aware of and communicative about the fact you’re attracted to each other. But, you never touch, so it’s okay—right? WRONG. How would you like to be that guy’s girlfriend? Honestly, you’re just letting a selfish and immature guy have his cake and eat it too by engaging in this type of behavior. You’re carrying on an emotional affair.

The truth about the “gray area”

When dealing with the gray area, don’t ever use the excuse, “He started it” or “He won’t stop” or “I’m not doing anything!” YOU can always take responsibility and stop it. The fact that YOU are not doing anything might be the problem—you could block that phone number, ignore those texts and tell someone to go away. Also—P-LEEAASE, if you’re already having to say things like, “He started it” you know you’re engaging in something wrong.

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