When is using dating sites considered cheating, and when not?

The more popular the idea of dating sites becomes, the more challenges it poses for people in relationships.

Finding a partner on a dating site leaves a sour taste in our mouths—it leaves us feeling hurt, uncomfortable, and restless.

But, is one’s presence on such platforms enough to label them a “cheater”? Probably… 

What is cheating in actuality?

First of all, what is cheating

Cheating is when a person who’s in an exclusive, monogamous relationship forms sexual or emotional connection(s) with people other than their partner.

Basically, whatever your partner does with/to other people that crosses your boundaries and/or hurts your feelings is considered cheating.

According to Choosingtherapy, there are 7 types of infidelity:

1. Physical infidelity: A person having a physical or sexual relationship with one—or multiple—people who aren’t their partner.

2. Emotional infidelity: Forming an emotional attachment or intimacy with another person or people.

3. Cyber infidelity: An affair through digital platforms or methods (e.g. dating platforms, social media, even viewing pornography).

4. Object infidelity: An obsession or interest outside a relationship that causes distraction.

5. Financial infidelity: When a person is deceitful about financial matters in a relationship (e.g. how much they earn, the way they earn it, their spending habits, their debt, etc).

6. Micro–cheating: A person who acts inappropriately, doing seemingly trivial things that bother their partner. Not quite “physical” or “emotional” per se, but it crosses one’s boundaries.

7. Combined infidelity: A form of cheating that includes two or more types or elements of other infidelity types.

So, is being on a dating site or app while in a relationship cheating?

Yes. Using dating apps is considered cheating based on common beliefs.

You see, based on the 7 types of infidelity, swiping falls under the category of physical, emotional, cyber, object, micro, and combined cheating.

Financial too due to a lot of purchases that are made on dating apps.

Even in the mildest case of it being micro-cheating, it still checks all the boxes.

Not to mention, in general, it makes us very uncomfortable knowing that a partner is—for whatever reason—using dating apps.

Why is being on dating sites considered cheating?

Why is being on dating sites considered cheating

A person who partakes in cyber sexual/romantic activities is still risking the integrity of his or her relationship.

A lot of people believe that because there isn’t any physicality involved, it’s okay.

Even what might seem like “harmless” flirting may lead to something much bigger, like meeting up in person and engaging in sexual activities.

Exchanging sexual videos, pictures, or even words with other people is extremely disrespectful and inconsiderate to one’s partner; it breaks our trust and leaves us feeling uneasy.

If my partner is on a dating website/app, are they definitely cheating?

Although the answer is usually yes, it doesn’t mean that everybody who indulges in such platforms is cheating.

  • According to data from YouGov, 7% of people who have ever used dating apps did so with the intention of cheating on a significant other.

– 39% of people have reported using the platforms just to do something fun or interesting.

– 29% of people who simply wanted to see what the app/site was like.

– 19% of people who say they wanted to form platonic connections.

So, we shouldn’t jump the gun and accuse a partner of cheating; at most, they’re just oblivious to the harm they could cause to the relationship.

7 times being on a dating site is considered cheating or unacceptable!

Using dating sites while in a relationship, in most cases, is unacceptable considering the secrecy and the intentions behind this act.

Here are 7 examples of times when being on a dating site is considered unloyal:

– When the intention is to replace the partner.

When somebody wants to replace their partner

One of the times when using a dating site is considered cheating is, of course, when a person is looking for other people.

If we do this, we’re deliberately going on the platform to establish a romantic or emotional relationship with somebody who’s not our partner, fully aware that it’s a hurtful thing to do.

– When somebody uses the site to find sexual partners.

One of the most common forms of cheating—physical—is what pushes people to be active on dating apps or websites.

If a person decides they want to be a part of dating platforms for the sake of having sex with other people, then that is cheating.

– When somebody is aware it makes their partner uncomfortable.

If we disregard our partner’s needs and feelings regarding serious issues, such as this one, then we’re behaving unacceptably and disrespectfully.

Even if we don’t engage in any physical or intimate relationships, crossing a partner’s boundaries is still considered micro-cheating.

– When somebody wants attention.

Essentially, what we’re doing here is allowing people who aren’t our partners to
“feast their eyes” of sorts; entertaining others.

And you might be thinking: “What’s the big deal here?”

The big deal is that this is a partner flirting and seeking validation from other people who don’t have platonic intentions toward them.

This can be seen as micro-cheating; and as “micro” as it may be, it’s still considered cheating!

– ”Harmless” flirting.

If we go on dating sites and start flirting with fellow users, then that is viewed as unfaithful.

What we are doing is behaving in a way that tells the other person we’re attracted to and interested in them.

This includes:

  • Compliments;
  • Expressing your interest;
  • Asking playful and sexual questions;
  • Sending pictures or videos.

Let’s face it: there’s no such thing as “harmless” flirting once you’re already in a relationship.

– When somebody is keeping their options open.

When somebody is keeping their options open

Going on a dating site/app looking for “backup plans” is unacceptable.

As we all know, people sometimes like keeping their options open even though they’re already in a committed relationship.

And what better way to look for options other than online?  It’s low-risk, convenient, and spacious.

– One person sexually interacting with the other.

This includes,

  • Talking about sexual topics;
  • Sending sexual pictures;
  • Recording sexual videos and sending them;
  • Asking sexual questions;

Basically, every kind of sexual interaction a person who’s in a relationship might have with another person on the platform is intolerable.

Times when being on a dating site can be excusable.

Whether you’re shocked or not that there are times when being on a dating site is tolerable, keep in mind that it’s always up to the other person.

People have their boundaries; they know best what is acceptable in a relationship and what’s not.

– When a person has created their account long ago but doesn’t use it.

One of the rare times the answer this isn’t considered cheating is when the account has been created before two people got into the relationship.

The majority of people have tried dating apps at least once in their lives, so it’s possible for an account to still be there.

– When a person wants to create platonic, non-romantic connections.

As established earlier, not everybody who goes on dating platforms goes there to cheat; some people go on there hoping to make friends.

Although the idea itself of going to a dating website or application to make friends when there are hundreds of other alternatives is a bit odd, so if a person has no intentions of straying away from their relationship, they won’t.

– Somebody who is pointlessly swiping and not interacting.

Somebody who is pointlessly swiping and not interacting

Somebody pointlessly and mindlessly swiping with no intention of interacting with people can also be seen as acceptable.

There are times when people are bored and interested in seeing what’s all the commotion with dating platforms!

People like these don’t tend to interact with people; they’re simply observing and investigating.

– When a partner agrees and knows it’s harmless fun.

If your partner knows and agrees, then by all means, go ahead! It’s your relationship, after all.

If two people trust each other, they will not feel uncomfortable if one or the other is present on a dating platform.

They know no actual cheating will take place and know where home is.

If we tell our s.o. that we have a dating app installed just for the heck of it, and they’re not opposed to the idea, then that’s not compromising the integrity of the relationship.

Don’t let others decide what you should tolerate and what not.

For some people, the thought of installing a dating app alone is considered cheating; and that’s okay.

What might seem like too much or too little to us, might seem the opposite to other people—and that’s because everybody has different boundaries.

Be attentive to the one you love, but do not let your sense of security and comfort be messed with either!

Mutual respect: the perfect balance.

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