This is one of the most common questions in the dating world. However, there’s not a straightforward answer. Some people do believe that it’s cheating if you entertain others or get physical with them, while already dating and focusing on one specific person. Other people don’t think so because defining the relationship is what sets the boundaries.
Today, we will explore the question and help you determine if it’s cheating if you’re not official yet. The answer depends entirely on you and where you stand with your special someone, it’s not only about your idea of fidelity but also about what it means to be unofficial.
The Complexities of Infidelity:
Infidelity is an incredibly nuanced and complex issue because there are many kinds of infidelity. Sleeping with someone else is the obvious and most common one; everyone agrees that’s cheating. But what about texting several people at once? To some people, that’s cheating too. To others, it means leaving their options open.
Developing a deep emotional connection with someone who’s not the person you’re dating can also be considered cheating. After all, the assumption is that you’re dating because you want to make it official eventually.
So, it’s safe to say that infidelity is a spectrum. This is why people who are going into relationships talk about their definition of cheating and what defines it to them and they set boundaries to avoid crossing one another. This is what needs to be done in a healthy relationship.
What is your date looking for?
But what if you’re just dating someone and you’re not officially together? Can either of you go out with other people? Well, it depends. Even when you’re not official, you still have an idea of what the other person is looking for in a relationship.
If you know they’re looking for something serious or if you’re looking for something serious, the main and typical assumption is that you’re exclusive while you’re getting to know each other better. After all, you’re on the same page and you like each other, so why would you look for someone else?
What if you want the same things but one of you wants to enjoy their single life a little more before settling down? Well, many would find an issue with that. You’re not in a queue waiting for your turn, so you shouldn’t be treated as such. If they want to commit to you at some point, why do they need to seek thrills with other people?
Dating, flirting, and hooking up can be a lot of fun, so they may not be ready to settle down yet, even if you’re perfect for each other. In that case, they have to be honest about it and you have a decision to make. Are you willing to wait it out while they have fun with other people? Are you open to doing the same? It’s all very personal.
It’s Not Cheating If You Decide It’s Not:
Unofficial relationships can get really messy really quickly if you’re not honest and open with each other. Even if you’re not ready to define the relationship, you can and should define the terms of your current state. To do that, it’s important to sit down and have an honest conversation.
You start by expressing how much you like them and you want to continue getting to know them to see where the relationship goes. You understand you’re not ready to make it official just yet, but you want to know where you both stand.
Do they want to see other people? That’s a very important question to ask. If they say yes, you can go from there and talk about what that means so you’re not in the dark. If you want to see other people, explain what that means for you as well.
If one of you doesn’t want to see other people, it’s important to ask if it would be a problem for them if you continue having fun. If it would be an issue for them, you’d have to consider your options and determine if you want to cut the cord or if you want to commit to this person.
At the end of the day, what’s truly important about this conversation is to keep each other in the loop. You should both know what’s allowed and what isn’t, even if you’re not official yet. You still have a relationship and if you want to preserve it, you need to be open and honest with each other. Check this article out on the importance of setting boundaries for any relationship.
So, is it cheating if you’re not official? Well, it depends! For example, if they have made it clear that they want to be exclusive and you agreed to that but you turn around and go behind their back, that is cheating. If you’ve both agreed to be with other people, it’s not cheating and it shouldn’t be an issue.
In other words, the answer to the question is found through open communication and it varies on a case-by-case basis. So, before you do something you regret, lay all your cards on the table.