It was the courtroom sketch that blew up the Internet.
I am referring, of course, to that insane picture of Tom Brady that surfaced last week and was promptly ridiculed, memed, and canonized into eternal internet glory. Because of this, the idea of cheating has been on my mind a lot. Tom Brady is in court because of Deflategate (the Patriots deflated their balls during the Superbowl to make it easier for them to play, blah, blah blah. I don’t know why we’re still talking about this). I don’t particularly care about sports, but I have found the actual subjectivity of the notion of cheating very fascinating— according to a recent poll, 72% of football players think the Patriots deflated the balls, but 60% don’t think that means they’re actually cheaters. Hmmm.
To me, this shows that people really just see what they want to see. This is particularly relevant in terms of cheating in a relationship–when you consider how subjective the notion of cheating in sports–something that has an actual rule book–can be, think about how confusing it can get in a relationship, which is pretty much just two people trying to create their own rules. Unsurprisingly, a lot of you have been wondering what really counts as your SO cheating. Check it out:
A Relationship That’s Been 5 Years Too Long I have been with my bf for 5 years now. We have been high school sweethearts and have known each other for 10 years. My bf has always been loyal and has treated me like a queen. We recently moved in together and I don’t know if it was the wrong decision. Basically, there is this girl who moved into our complex a couple of months ago. I had never spoken to her, but apparently she asked my bf for help with some boxes. Then she seemed have flirted with him and it stirred something in him. Recently, she brought me two letters that my bf had written to her. I confronted my bf but he lied and said it wasn’t him. Eventually, he admitted what he had done. I completely broke into a million pieces. He never did anything with her and he claims he would never physically cheat. Right know I am in a state of pain and find myself dwelling on this. My bf has asked me to please not leave but I don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m slowly dying inside. He has been trying to show me extra attention and constantly complimenting me but it hurts because in one of the letters he called this girl beautiful. To me that word was sacred now it’s nothing. What should I do?- Anonymous
Yikes. This is definitely a messy situation and, sadly, there isn’t a totally easy way out of it. My advice, however, is for you two to take a break. This will be hard, since you’ve known/ been dating each other for such a long, but from what you have told me, it doesn’t sound like it has been particularly healthy. It sounds like your boyfriend has become totally fixated on this new girl. Even if he says that he would never physically do anything with her, emotional cheating is definitely real, and it sounds like you are definitely feeling its negative effects. A couple months apart will give you some time to figure out what you are like without this guy. Then, you can revisit him and see if being with him is something that you really want, or if it’s just a relationship that you had grown used to. Good luck!
My Boyfriend Has Started Dating My BFF…We Just Haven’t Broken Up Yet My boyfriend is always texting my best friend and he even ignores me for her. They always update Facebook and WhatsApp statuses for each other and meet each other without my knowledge. And when I questioned this, both of them blamed me as possessive. Both of them very well knew that it is hurting my feelings but don’t care and still keep on doing what they are doing. Help!- Swati
Hi Swati: Jeez. Well, it sounds like you know that the stuff in both your best friend and boyfriend relationship is seriously bunk, so my advice is probably not going to be a huge surprise to you. Break up! With both of them! They have both made it very clear that neither of them care that much about you. Since they have been so horrible, I don’t even think that you even need to give them an explanation–just say that you don’t want them in your life anymore. It will be hard, buts seriously, it sounds like they deserve one another, and you deserve MUCH better–both as a boyfriend and a best friend. Good luck! If He Says “Smexy” And “Gawgeous” To Other Girls, He’s Definitely Cheating
I’m trying to figure out if my boyfriend is emotionally cheating. I used to always go through his phone when we first got together but never found anything so it prompted him to put a lock on his phone. But lately we’ve been arguing quite a bit and this girl he knew moved to our neighborhood and would randomly start conversation with him on Facebook even though they’re not friends. But one day I found out the passcode to his phone and saw that they were messaging a lot. Then I saw that she was asking him for pictures and and she would say things like “smexy” to him. I never knew how to confront him so one day I asked if he was cheating and he asked me to trust him and said, “If she showed interest don’t you think I would tell her no?” But he didn’t and it went as far as him continuing to talk to her and at one point he called her “gawgeous” but I can’t tell him I know anything because he doesn’t know I know the passcode. Then finally things came up and I told him it hurt my feelings that he still talked to her and he said he would stop but he just got a new phone which requires a thumbprint to get into and I don’t know how check now. And he gets angry over everything because he says now I question everything he does and I don’t have any proof he did anything so I need to drop it. What do you think I should do?- Clara
Hi Clara: Well, yeah. To me, this does sound like emotional cheating–if he’s calling other girls gorgeous (with a Boston accent, no less) and then lying to you about it, that is not good. But there are definitely some other things amiss in this relationship other than just that. Take, for example, your compulsion to read his text messages, even after he has added a new passcode to his phone and even gotten a new phone. Instead of seeing the phones as barriers, you should look at your own relationship with him. Why didn’t you trust him from the beginning? You probably had some sort of sense that he was up to no good from the start, but you looked at his phone instead of actually talking to him. Break up with him, because it doesn’t sound like there’s a lot of trust (or anything good, really) there. But in your next relationship, please promise me that you won’t read their texts. As you have learned, nothing really good will usually come of it.
My Boyfriend Has Been Cyber-Cheating For Our Entire Relationship
I recently found texts on my boyfriend’s phone from a girl he had met in a chat room. We had been going out for 4 years but he had also been texting this other girl for 4 years. He used the pet names he used with me, told her he loved her, wanted to build a future with her, everything he told me. Even sex messages. I am so heartbroken. I was willing to give him another chance until he told me he didn’t know what he wanted. I can’t believe I didn’t realize what was going on for the whole 4 years of our relationship. I don’t even know how to start to get over it, even though he wasn’t physically cheating on me. –Laura
Well, it sounds like you know what you need to do–break up with him–but the harder question is how to actually get over it. This is understandable. If you’re with someone for that amount of time, only to find out that they have basically been with someone else for that amount of time, too, it’s definitely not the easiest thing to forget about. This definitely counts as cheating, too, even if he didn’t actually physically do anything with this other girl. My advice? First of all, let yourself wallow. Watch some sad movies, eat ice cream, wear pajamas for a few days. It’s cool. Then, hang out with your friends and family. Being with people who actually support you and love you for who you are will help too. Also, think of ways that you are happier without him–knowing that he was emotionally cheating on you for your entire relationship is hard, but it can actually make things easier in terms of getting over him. Think of it like he was never actually there, since part of him was always involved with that other weird, secret relationship. Finally, try to remember that you can trust other people! Just because your ex was not so great as a person to trust doesn’t mean that you can’t trust other people. Good luck! My Boyfriend Watches Porn…Among Other Things
My boyfriend watches porn, yet when I ask him if he does, he says no. A few days later I would find the history that he forgot to delete. I then ask him about it and has excuses about it. I can’t help to think that I’m not good enough and that he goes out into the world and has sex with other girls. Sometimes I find conversations between him and these girls and he would lie or have excuses again. I don’t know what to do. Is he cheating or is he just bored with me?- Anonymous
Hi Anonymous: Hmm. Based on the information you gave me alone, it’s hard to tell if he’s actually cheating or just being shady. See, to me, the porn thing isn’t particularly concerning–lots of guys watch porn–but what does strike me as suspicious is the fact that he consistently lies to you about it. This makes me think that if he can’t be up front with that, what else is he lying to you about? Whatever the case may be, you definitely need to talk to him about it. This is tricky because he hasn’t been totally honest with you before, but sit down with him and let him know that you really just want to know what the heck is going on, and you won’t accept anything but the truth from him this time. It’s really important that you find out for sure, so you can figure out what your next steps should be. Good luck! So, what do you think counts as cheating? What advice would you give these readers? Let us know in the comments below! You can follow the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter or Instagram.