People Share The Earliest Signs They've Seen That Someone Is Cheating

Ashley Hunte
Two people sitting on a bench with a dog.
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Cheating happens a lot more than some are willing to admit. In fact, as many as 3/4 of adults may have cheated at least once in a relationship. Whether it's a pattern of bad behavior, or a one-time incident, being cheated on really hurts.

Cheating can be defined in a lot of different ways, but will always include dishonesty in some way. Redditors decided to share what they view as cheating, and where that line should be drawn for their relationships. It might not be as straightforward as you'd think.

A little communication helps, I think.

A man and woman kissing in a pumpkin patch.
Unsplash | Lauren Rader

"Honestly it's about intentions more than anything. If my SO started pursuing someone romantically that's cheating - doesn't matter if it's lovey dovey texting or [expletive]. If my SO was at a party and a drunk person kissed him suddenly against his wishes, that's not cheating."

"At the end of the day it comes down to them wanting to be with another person and they aren't being honest about it."

A man telling a woman, "I might not be the guy for you."
Giphy | Bachelor in Paradise

"The polite thing to do, even though it's painful and hard and sad, is to break up. Breaking up is never [expletive] than cheating."

Watch out for a weird level of secrecy.

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Giphy | Mickey Mouse

"The sneaking around. The second you start plotting to do something behind my back. You're violating the trust of the relationship."

Another commenter joked, "Guess no surprise parties for you."

Don't do something you wouldn't want your partner to know about.

A person with a finger to their lips in a shushing motion.
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"If you would be unwilling to tell your partner about an interaction, then it's probably time to start thinking about what you're doing."

Also, don't lie. If you have to lie, you might need to rethink your relationship.

A computer screen with an image of a lie detector test form on it.
Unsplash | Ashkan Forouzani

"Lies. It always starts with lies. Be it texts or snaps, if one of us have to lie or hide, it's wrong and should not happen."

Intention is definitely key.

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"As cheesy as it sounds, it starts with your motive, intention, and conscience. I think there's a clear cut difference between physical cheating and mental/emotional cheating, but it all relates to your honest motive, intention, and conscience."

"For example, there isn't anything inherently wrong with texting with another person if you are married or dating..."

A man texting on a phone.
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"...but if you know in your heart that you are texting or engaging in conversation that makes you feel guilty or it would make your partner upset, you may be doing something wrong, even if you technically did not cheat."

Don't live by a double standard, either.

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"If you wouldn't feel comfortable with your partner doing it with someone else, it's cheating.

"If you wouldn't feel comfortable with your partner flirting with someone else, it's cheating for you to do it."

Lying by omission is still lying.

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Unsplash | Zarina Iskarova

"Cheating starts at lying, even by omission. I am okay with private conversations, meeting people she wants to meet, going away on business trips or going out and coming back late at night. But lying to me about it or about what happened? Or simply not telling me something I don't want to hear? That's cheating."

Cheating comes in different forms.

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"First tier would be texting another dude in a non platonic way.

"Second tier would be actually hanging out with this person behind my back and lying about where you were.

"Third tier is any kind of non platonic physical contact, holding hands to [expletive], it's all the same to me."

It's amazing how some people will consciously decide to cheat.

A woman holding a phone that's open to the Tinder ap.
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"The intent. For me, an ex of mine that would later cheat on me started a tinder profile in which she claimed she 'just wanted to find friends' and she certainly found quite a few of them. Obviously, she didn't just want friends."

Acting on attraction in any way can be cheating.

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"When any sort of romantic investment in another person starts occurring. If my partner was texting someone and saying they loved them in a romantic way that would be enough to end things. Because at that point, they have made up their mind and have stated their intentions."

Knowing someone is interested in you and leading them on counts, even if you don't intend to act on it.

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Unsplash | Annemarie Grudën

"Entertaining another person and thus giving them the idea something (both emotional and physical/sexual) could happen between the two of them. I’ll even go as far and say if my partner texts, calls or meet up with someone but feels the need to hide it from me I’ll consider it cheating."

If you're on the same page as your partner, you might have less relationship problems.

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"It starts whenever you cross the boundary that you've agreed to with the other party."

Sometimes, the answer to what counts as cheating can be complicated. Other times, it's pretty easy.

To add to that, boundaries come in many forms.

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"To me, cheating just means breaking the rules. I've been in all kinds of relationships, ranging from 100% strictly monogamous to completely polyamorous. Regardless of the type of relationship, we negotiate our specified boundaries, and breaking them is cheating."

"And there's always a thin line with some behavior."

A woman in a confessional saying, "Lines have really been crossed."
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"Even in a strictly monogamous relationship, I feel like innocent flirting is okay. However, hiding that from the other person would, in my view, constitute cheating. If I hide something from my partner, then it was not okay. If it was okay, I wouldn't hide it."

A lot of physical affairs start out as emotional ones.

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"It starts when you become more emotionally invested than a friend & do nothing to stop it. You seek it out. You desire that person and try to make them feel the same way for you."

Looking at it from the other side helps.

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"When I was younger, I inadvertently allowed someone to emotionally cheat on their partner with me. In hindsight I learned - if you tell someone something your partner wouldn’t want them to know, that’s emotional cheating."

"Obvious exception being situations where you are being abused/mistreated and need help or advice."

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"In this case he would tell me that his partner felt threatened by me and was uncomfortable with our friendship.

"Through my lens at the time I thought this was a non issue because I wouldn’t cross that boundary, but looking back, the fact that they would tell me this personal info despite their partners wishes was already crossing a line."

You should never feel like you have to check your partner's texts.

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"If you feel uncomfortable showing your partner any text messages or you leave out a lot of details when you're talking about the encounter then you're probably cheating or right on that line."