7 Things That Might Seem Like Cheating, But Aren’t

I’ve always thought that people get a little too fixated on cheating in relationships. Yes, there are a lot of people who cheat–I’m not naive–but the fact that people expect that they’ll be cheated on in a given relationship really bums me out and throws a dark cloud over any great coupling. Not everyone is deceitful, and just because someone cheated on their girlfriend or boyfriend once when they were 15-years-old doesn’t mean that they’ll necessarily do it again–I’m not really with the whole “once a cheater always a cheater” mantra. But maybe I’m just optimistic because I’ve never been cheated on, and maybe people really are more sneaky than I think: A study shows that over a third of Brits remain active on dating apps even when they’re in a relationship.

Uh, I don’t know about you, but that would be a big problem in my book.

Whether or not that’s cheating is debatable. Arguably, it’s not quite cheating unless contact is initiated; essentially, doing more than just browsing and actually sliding into those DMs. But it’s definitely sus AF. Still, the line between real cheating, emotional cheating, and plain ol’ sketchy behavior can be thin. But there are some things that we at Gurl definitely don’t think should count as cheating, even though some of our readers disagree. To get an idea of what we’re talking about–and to fight with us about it, if you wish–check out these seven things that might seem like cheating, but aren’t. 

Hanging Out With Someone Of The Gender You're Attracted To, One-On-One

Contrary to popular belief, you can just be friends with someone of the gender you're attracted to. Yes, I know, tons of people don't think--for example--that men and women could just be friends, but that's BS. It happens all the damn time and it's really not that deep. It's not cheating to hang out with a friend who is of the gender you're generally attracted to, unless you turn it into a cheating situation. But by default? Nah.

My Mad Fat Diary


Okay, disclaimer: Flirting can be a precursor to generally sus and unfaithful behavior. There's a difference between being playful flirting and suggestive flirting. The latter is worth taking issue with if you see your partner doing it. The former? Eh, not so much. It can often be harmless. Also, some people are just naturally a little flirty; it's like they can't help it! Learn to detect the difference.

Freaks and Geeks

Watching Porn

Controversial, yes, but for the most part we at Gurl don't see viewing porn as cheating. It can be uncomfortable, however, if porn seems to come between you and your partner having a happy, healthy sex life. You're not a cheater if you get the urge to go to a porn site...it means that you're just horned up. That's not a moral failing. Same with your bae; they're just horned up, not about to dump you for some babe in a porno. Until it actually starts to interfere with your love life, chill.


Following Instagram/Twitter/Internet Hotties

There's nothing wrong with a thirst follow, okay? We all do it in some form or another, right? Liking an Instagram celebrity's thirst trap isn't the same thing as cheating, period. If you feel pressured to look more like some Internet babe from your partner, THAT'S definitely a problem. Otherwise, don't worry about it as long as they're still loving and caring toward you.

Kylie Jenner @ Instagram

Thinking Other People Are Hot

Listen, we don't go out with blinders on the second we start dating someone. We still acknowledge that there are hot people in the universe, hot people we would totally, like, make out with if we had the opportunity. That's normal, and it's not cheating to acknowledge that someone is attractive. The best way to make this less awkward in your own relationship is if you and your partner are both open about who you think is hot. It's not as weird as it sounds, I promise.

Some Girls

Texting Someone Of The Gender You're Attracted To

Like I said, it's so possible for people to be friends with the gender that they're attracted to. That's why you shouldn't freak out if your BF is texting his friend Shannon about the football game, and your BF shouldn't freak out if you're texting Aaron about Game of Thrones. Please, fight the urge to snoop. Chances are, if your partner isn't being sketchy about his incoming texts, nothing weird is going on.


Talking To An Ex

Real life isn't like a TV show. On TV, characters can hardly be in the same room as an ex without cloying sexual tension or straight up hooking up. But you can totally talk with your ex or even hang out with them with a group of friends in a friendly way without it being weird or even borderline cheating. Anyone who says otherwise is super controlling and paranoid.


Have you been in a relationship where you’ve been accused of cheating for doing any of these things? Have you accused your partner for doing these things? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

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