It’s not unusual to be in an undefined relationship these days. People really don’t think much of it. It’s becoming normal for you to be “talking”, “hanging out”, or “hooking up” without having to label exactly what you are. I’m not sure why this is becoming such a popular approach to relationships, but for some “couples” it works. I never thought I would find myself in this situation, but for the past 7.5 months I have been involved in a label-less, grey area relationship. Our relationship is not cut-and-dry, black and white, or anywhere near normal. What started out as having fun and hooking up turned into feelings and emotions. To be honest, I think one of the reasons we stayed in the grey was to avoid the feeling and emotions, but we’re too far past it now, although I can’t speak for the other half.
So when you find yourself in one of these situations, how do you define cheating? You’re not really dating, so you can do what you want, right? For me, that’s all wrong. In the beginning, I had less of a concern about my actions, though I never did anything I would consider to be cheating. But that’s speaking personally. I know there are people who can be hooking up with multiple people at one time. So for whatever reason you decided to stay undefined, cheating for you and the other person should be defined. This doesn’t involve sharing every detail of your day, but in any relationship, there should be a sense of trust. Defining what you, as a “couple” believe to be cheating, or crossing a boundary, builds trust. It allows the other person to know that you respect and care for them enough, despite the lack of label, that you won’t try to hurt them. I often thought about what, in my situation, should be considered cheating. Do I want to see someone I care about flirting with someone else? No. Do I get a little ping in my stomach when I hear he finds another girl to be attractive? Yep. But I don’t necessarily consider that cheating. It’s just more uncomfortable than anything else. Cheating, to me, is anything I would not want my partner to do. I would be heartbroken to find out that he hooked up with someone else, kissed another girl, touched them in a way I feel like he should only touch me. So I won’t do those things. When I’m deciding if I should do something or not, I always have him in mind. Could my actions upset him, hurt him, make him mad? Then I don’t do them. Would I want him to read a text from a guy? If I’m hiding something, then it’s cheating to me. Some might feel like that borders on the line of a relationship. But really, he is one of my best friends. I care about him, and I would never intentionally do anything to hurt him. So to me, it’s just respect for a person you care about.
At the end of the day, or more like the beginning of a relationship, no matter what label is or isn’t there, you have to sit down and say “what’s our version of cheating?” It will be different for everyone, but it’s important to know what boundaries you have so you’re not hurting someone you care about.