The 8 Most Common Types Of Cheating In A Relationship

Infidelity | | , Copywriter & Sports journalist
Updated On: April 23, 2024
types of cheating in a relationship

When you hear the word “cheating”, you immediately think of sexual/physical cheating, right? In reality, the types of cheating in a relationship aren’t just limited to when you indulge in sexual activities with a third person. Cheating can occur long before things escalate to the bedroom.

Cheating, no matter what sort, stems from a lack of respect for the relationship and the partner. Non-physical cheating in a relationship can cause as much damage and mental trauma as adultery. For instance, it should be considered cheating on social media when your partner spends night after night chatting with a new mate or can’t stop right swapping for a match.

By informing yourself about the different forms of cheating, you’ll be able to assess if your relationship has any issues you couldn’t see before. Brace yourself as you are about to learn the many ways people can resort to when cheating in a relationship. And to be honest, if there is any secret hesitation in your mind about a certain manner in which you have acted in the past, you can double-check that as well.

Besides, it can help you ensure that your relationship doesn’t feature any form of cheating that might eventually lead to a physical relationship with someone else. So, read on to find out about the types of affairs your relationship must steer clear of. In this article, we will give you a clear picture of different forms of cheating.

Types Of Cheating In A Relationship – 8 Kinds You Need To Know About 

Infidelity comes in many shapes and forms. Just because someone isn’t physically involved with another person doesn’t give them a hall pass to do anything they want to. Non-physical cheating can be just as damaging to relationships as physical cheating.

Types Of Cheating In A Relationship

The best way to safeguard your relationship from any form of infidelity is to have a conversation about it with your partner. Let them know what you think is cheating and what isn’t, and understand and acknowledge their expectations as well. Only by improving communication to the point where you can have tough conversations like these will you be able to reduce the possibility of being cheated on. 

Examples of cheating in a relationship, in most dynamics, might include your partner having sex with someone else. Unless you’ve both actually given each other a hall pass. In that case, it can’t really be termed as cheating. It is a world full of surprises where different forms of cheating are not equally offensive to every individual. The majority of couples hold on to a sense of possessiveness. And for someone that sensitive, emotional infidelity can be a deal-breaker.

You can always propose the polyamorous angle of love. But, until and unless both the partners have full consent to this arrangement, until they are both okay with each others’ multiple partners, the concept of polyamory falls apart. And what is left in the relationship? Well, different forms of cheating.

The sad news is, however, that even after having conversations on the subject, some people do experience infidelity in their relationship. This is why understanding the different types of affairs is important, so you can know when your relationship is in dire straits. You don’t want to be blissfully unaware of your partner’s infidelity until things blow up in your face. 

Related Reading: 11 Things You Didn’t Know Amount To Cheating In A Relationship

So, how many types of cheating are there? If you’re wondering about things like “is texting an ex cheating?” or “is lying considered cheating in a relationship?”, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve listed out all the types of cheating in a relationship, so you can find out if your partner is being unfaithful or not. Or if you’re guilty of one of the forms of cheating yourself. 

Is My Partner Cheating On Me?

1. Most common type of cheating in a relationship: Sexual cheating

When anyone asks “What are different types of cheating?”, the first one to pop into your mind is bound to be sexual cheating. It’s the most common form of infidelity, mostly because everyone knows it’s cheating. 

A sexual relationship with someone who is not your partner is outright considered to be infidelity and it warrants a breakup in most cases. Since people so widely associate cheating with sexual activities, this form of cheating is rarely ever left unpunished. Signs of cheating include if your spouse has a decreased libido around you, if they’ve suddenly started paying more attention to how they look, and unexplained periods of absence. 

2. Financial infidelity 

Financial infidelity in a relationship happens when one partner lies about their expenditure and/or income. They could be lying about money saved up, spending money in secret or addictive habits like gambling that might harm the finances. 

Yes, financial infidelity is a form of cheating. Types of cheating in a relationship don’t always have to include another human being a partner might be sexually involved with. Just as a relationship isn’t solely built on love, a relationship can also be brought crumbling down by betrayal of trust in aspects other than love. 

Since it essentially entails one partner controlling the entire finances of the household, it could turn into financial abuse. Financial infidelity, in extreme cases, can also lead to domestic abuse. Being a form of non-physical cheating in a relationship, it often gets overlooked or hides under the usual powerplay of marriage.

A few of the many ways of cheating your partner includes hiding credit card debts, misuse of common saving amount without notifying the other person, reckless waste of money over impulse purchases, and so on.

3. Emotional cheating 

From the types of cheating in a relationship, emotional cheating might often be overlooked since it doesn’t involve physical acts of infidelity. Emotional affairs can often begin as platonic friendships, soon developing into intensely strong emotional bonds that can make a partner feel alienated in the relationship. 

Signs of emotional cheating include things like your partner picking this person to share all their thoughts and fears and dreams with, instead of you. This leads to them developing a stronger emotional bond with them than they do with you. 

Examples of cheating in a relationship could very well include the late-night conversations your spouse has with someone they swear is “just a friend”. Just because they’re sitting six feet apart doesn’t mean the virus called “infidelity” can’t catch a hold of them.

Emotional exploitation can actually mingle with other forms of cheating as well. To justify their hideous act, people can stoop to the level of a cruel blame game and sentimental blackmailing.

Related Reading: 12 Tips On How To Ignore A Cheating Husband – Psychologist Tells Us

4. Cyber nasty: One of the ugliest forms of cheating

Technology has definitely brought the world closer together. However, sometimes it brings people too close together. Examples of cheating in a relationship might just lie in your partner’s Snapchat!

Cyber cheating is when a partner starts flirting/sexting/having an emotional affair with someone online. Since it’s pretty much similar to emotional cheating, except that it happens in the virtual realm, cyber cheating is considered to be one of the different forms of cheating.

Even if they’ve never met the person, exchanging nudes with them will be considered cheating on social media for most people. Cyber cheating is fairly common among teenagers, because it’s one of the easiest ways to approach many people without a major chance of getting caught. Non-physical cheating like this can be hard to spot. Look out for signs like your partner paying more attention to their phone than to you.

Do you find any of these forms of cheating familiar in your relationship?

5. Physical cheating without sex

“But we never had sex, it was just kissing!” is something you might hear from someone guilty of this type of cheating. Physical cheating without sex means when two people partake in activities like foreplay, oral sex, kissing, but do not have penetrative sex.

Physical cheating without sex is no different from the other ways of cheating in a relationship. Just because sex was not involved doesn’t make it any less painful than any of the other different forms of cheating.

If you’re wondering what physical activity counts as cheating and what doesn’t, that’s completely on the partners in a relationship to decide. For instance, holding hands with someone might be a form of emotional/physical cheating without sex for some, but might be just a platonic display of affection for others. 

6. Types of cheating in a relationship: object cheating 

Object cheating means when one partner picks up a hobby and starts obsessing over it to the point when they start becoming emotionally distant from their partner. The hobby now takes up all of their time, and the emotional connection they had with their partner suffers as a result.

Examples of cheating in a relationship, in this case, could look like your partner spending 10 hours a day gaming while the dinner you thought you’d have with them goes cold. Who knew gaming could inadvertently be one of the forms of cheating?

Don’t get us wrong, developing new hobbies is always good for you, but obsessing over them to the point where your social life/relationships suffer is a form of cheating. In most cases, it could be an indicator that there’s something inherently wrong with the relationship and the person who’s guilty of object cheating is desperately looking for a way out. 

You should welcome professional intervention when the matter seems to go out of hand, one last desperate attempt to save the relationship. Our extensive Bono panel of counselors and relationship experts could be extremely helpful in a time of crisis like this.

Related Reading: The 3 Types Of Men Who Have Affairs And How To Recognize Them

7. One of the easy ways of cheating: Same sex dalliance

An experimental kiss or some ‘casual’ foreplay with a person of the same sex counts as cheating. If a heterosexual person indulges in activities that would otherwise blatantly be considered cheating with someone of the same sex, it’s known as same-sex cheating. Out of the multiple forms of cheating, this one is no less offensive.

The cheater might argue that there was no emotional connection/sexual gratification involved. Just because someone who’s straight kissed someone of the same sex, doesn’t make it all right. It’s still considered one of the different forms of cheating, unless, of course, you’ve mutually agreed that experimenting for the sake of exploring your sexuality is acceptable. 

For most relationships, kissing anyone except your partner means they’ve partaken in infidelity. Even if they’re straight/bi-curious and indulge in these activities with someone of the same sex.

on cheating

8. Micro-cheating

Of all the types of cheating in a relationship, micro-cheating might just be the most common one because of how often it can happen. Micro-cheating means when one person almost cheats on their partner, without really doing anything that would warrant the ‘cheater’ label. 

Examples of micro-cheating in a relationship include having a dating app profile even while in a relationship, flirting with people at parties, keeping someone on the hook, flirting with someone through texts, or sending them flirty memes, developing and acting on a crush…the list goes on. If you’ve been wondering about things like ‘is texting an ex cheating?’, pay attention. In some cases, it might not be considered full-fledged cheating, but it’s definitely micro-cheating if there was sexual/emotional intent behind the texts.

While the definition of infidelity varies from couple to couple, the types of cheating in a relationship we mentioned are the most common ones. Now that you are aware of how many types of cheating there are, you will be able to easily spot them and save yourself as well from getting into that gray zone. Unfortunately, they happen all the time.

While your relationship may seem perfect and secure at the moment, it doesn’t hurt to educate yourself about the types of affairs so you know when that platonic friendship is getting a little too intense. It’s entirely up to you if you want to talk this through, take a short break from each other, decide to forgive the misconduct, or end the relationship for good. Touchwood, it doesn’t come to that!

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