“Is this a thing? Like are the rules of cheating changing now too? Jesus, this year is so backwards … "
If 2016 has taught us anything, it’s that the rules have changed. All of them. Everything from who can be a celebrity to what personality gets someone the keys to the White House. As it’s said, rules were made to be broken, but this year, they’ve all been completely fucking shattered.
As is the case with dating, too. No longer is courtship just a quick first-date and a rose tied to someone’s locker. It’s an all out whirlwind of apps, sexts, comments and a mating pool the size of, well, literally the entire world.
But what about cheating? For eons the rules have stayed relatively the same. “Don’t diddle someone else” has been the basic premise. Now, however, there’s much more to deal with.
So we asked a bunch of millennials what it means to cheat in the age of the Internet. Is it cool to be Facebook friends with your ex? Can you ‘like’ something without being chastised for it? Does kissing even mean anything anymore?
“I don’t think liking something another woman posts or a double-tap on their selfie is really cheating, but it’s not like it’s cool either. There would have to be a pretty severe pattern of it for me to care. I definitely think it’s easier to cheat now than in the past. Easier to get caught too though. Basically, just don’t do it.” – Lisa, 24
“Having sex with someone else and staring at them online are two very different things. But it’s an issue, if he can’t keep his eyes off of her enough to pay me any attention. That’s pretty fucked up.” – Molly, 22
“No. I wouldn’t be cool with my gf checking out other dudes online. Of course not. There’s no point.” – Jared, 25
“I had a boyfriend a few years ago that I found to have multiple Tinder, PlentyOfFish and Facebook accounts that he was using to live a double life. Not even a double life, like, triple life. It must have been exhausting to be him, cheating that much. Last I heard he knocked up a trainwreck, so, karma, motherfucker.” –Lindy, 28
“Yeah, kissing someone else is cheating, unless it’s another girl. I’m fine with that. Sex is obvious. But all that online stuff is strange. I don’t think it’s cheating, but she shouldn’t be stalking her ex while she’s with me, or liking things that seem sexual in nature or inside jokes between them they had when they were together. I don’t think people should be friends with their exes though. Too much drama.” Craig, 24
“There’s a difference between sexual cheating and emotional cheating. If you’re not in it fully in the relationship, though, why bother? Like, just break-up with them, you know? I think sharing and liking and all that would constitute emotionally cheating on someone. You can easily find it too, so it’s not like they’re being clever. If you’re gonna cheat, keep it offline.” Josh, 30
“We don’t check each others’ phones. I don’t care to, but also we shouldn’t be that nosy with each other. He has his life and I have mine. It’s just about trust.” Bryan, 32
“Is this a thing? Like are the rules of cheating changing now too? Jesus, this year is so backwards. I mean, I guess being friends with an ex or liking their stuff or whatever is kind of cheating, you wouldn’t want them to have a phone conversation with other girls or guys would you? It all depends on the person, I suppose. But, it can get real petty real quick, too.” Lea, 27
From Dear Ibby:
"Cheating happens when you break a boundary that you've told each other you don't want to break … but there is no universal definition for what those boundaries are.
Every single relationship is a singular organism with singular needs. No one should assume that society's definition — or other people's definitions of cheating — should necessarily apply to them.
Cheating means different things for different couples. It can mean texting someone else. It can be kissing them. It can be fucking someone else when your partner's not in the room. It can be fucking someone else with emotion.
What matters is not really the actual behavior a couple considers cheating, but how that boundary is communicated about beforehand. If you mutually agree a certain line needs to be crossed for trust to be broken, that line can be anything, but both parties need to be acutely aware of what each other considers it to be.
Also worth mentioning: cheating doesn't have to be the end of the world. If your partner makes a mistake and still you want to be together, letting that "other" person drive you apart means a small, insignificant accident is larger than the sum and worth of your entire relationship. It's up to you to decide whether or not you want to let it be."