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What constitutes cheating? This is a response often heard in reaction to an accusation of cheating and infidelity.

Cheating Issues and How to Determine ItWhile social media has created immediate accessibility to people it has also brought new definitions and conversations of what constitutes infidelity in the modern relationship. This new modern relationship is fraught with the technological advancement of location tracking, cell-phone monitoring apps, social media and instant gratification for communication. Not to mention the tweeting, private Facebook messaging, selfies and instagram following new to relationships in the last decade.

Never before has a couple needed to have clear lines of communication open with regards to privacy and boundaries.

Take a look below at the most common points for negotiation that come up with regards to the modern relationship.

As the seriousness of the relationship heats up here are some conversations to have with your partner considering boundaries. Before bringing them up to your partner think them through in your own mind to get an understanding of your feelings so you can come to the conversation ready to negotiate.

Points to consider when having a conversation with your partner about boundaries, social media and infidelity:

Do I trust my partner?

If this is an area of struggle for you I suggest you work through with a professional or come up with strategies for developing trust with your partner. Managing your partners integrity by having access to their private email and private social media accounts is not trust, it’s monitoring.

Being in charge of monitoring your partners behavior will only add to your anxiety and stress in the long run. It also creates the notion that you can somehow monitor your partner’s integrity, that simply isn’t true!

What boundaries do we have for opposite sex friends?

This can be different for every couple but the most important point is to be able to have clear communication around it.

Points for discussion:

Do we go out with opposite sex friends [OSF] that our partner’s not met once we’ve made the decision to be monogamous?

Do we introduce our OSF to our partner if they are important friendships?

Once we’ve decided to be monogamous am I able to make new OSF friendships without inviting them to be friends of the both of us?

While these issues may seem trivial these are paramount issues discussed in couples counseling when issues of infidelity arise. Keep in mind there is no right answer, it is what you agree on together that becomes the new boundary.

What constitutes a boundary violation?

This is a complex issue in a newly defined relationship. While we are entitled to privacy and our own thoughts a good litmus test to ask yourself is:

Is the exchange of communication I’m having with this person one that I would be comfortable with my partner reading?

Does this communication contain flirtatious and sexual content?

Do I have a clear understanding of the boundary in my relationship with regards to flirting.

Is this exchange and exchange of intimacy that is typically reserved for my current partner?

In essence a text isn’t just a text, nor an email just an email if you and your partner don’t share the same boundaries.

Having worked with couples to define boundaries regarding everything from full open marriages, to those that don’t allow for opposite sex friends, the fundamental issue between couples is that they understand the parameters of their own relationship. Learning early on what works for you as a couple and being clear about it upfront can go a long way to never hearing the words, “It was just a text”.

Karen Anderson

Karen M Anderson is a licensed therapist and part time University instructor. She is the creator of Guided by Heart™a life coaching process that allows you to tap into your highest self and deepest desires, allowing you to live an authentic, compassionate life with purpose.

“I’m not one who believes that spending a lot of time in the past is useful. I believe we look back to understand our patterns, heal our wounds, and then we need to move to the present. We are here to be authentic, empathic, courageous and beings of love”.

Learn more about Karen at and opt-in to stay in touch, receive FREE trainings and gifts, timely blogs and newsletters.

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What Do You Think?

7 Comments | Join the discussion

  • Question Apr 6, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Looking for advice, my fiancé recently sent a Facebook message to his ex girlfriend. They aren’t facebook friends and it was a message saying her hair colour suited her. Nothing more. Pretty innocent. My question is, we had clear boundaries, and with this ex we had an issue years ago, and he said he would never speak with her again.
    I felt hurt, mainly because there was no mention of how he is engaged, nothing about me.
    We spoke, and got through it after an emotional and heated conversation.
    I only ask advice because I just saw a photo saying how cheating isn’t just having sex with someone else, but once you find yourself deleting a message so your partner won’t see it, you’re already there. And it made me think again, he had deleted this message, obviously so I wouldn’t see it. He knows I would have been upset, although it was rather harmless.
    Another perspective please. I’m trying to see his side of this too. He is a naturally outgoing and flirtatious guy, I accept that. At the end of the day, he comes home to me.

  • julian Apr 5, 2015 at 3:12 am

    Hi. What if a guy comitted with somebody is like that hes going to marry her but at the sams time he would go out with another friend without letting his gf know
    And has made out 2 times , yet he says hes sincere and he cant leave his gf .

  • Kate Nobody Apr 4, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    I am comfortable, competent and enjoy working and socializing in the profitable team efforts of men. I understand the emotional mislabeling of adrenaline charged situations people tend to do, so I keep it verbal, public and in the moment. I had a gf convo when her brother entered with “I don’t cheat” and continued to explicitly light my fire. He left me laughing for hours. He is a trusted friend.

    Because I grew up in male dominated environments my mom taught me never take seriously what is poked at me in fun. I follow her advice. It is only play, testosterone and adrenaline fueled play. These men make me laugh. Very few test my known boundaries.

    It takes a confident man to take me on as I won’t give up my guy friends and networks. Imagine how a man would feel if a woman asked him to give up half his business associates, contacts and contractors because she was insecure?

    I want nothing to do with possessive jealous men, they do not trust their own integrity.

  • Julia Apr 3, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Great post, very useful information to think about. Personally, I have a few very close male friends, they are very dear to me and we keep in touch a lot—and I could never be with someone who would feel threatened by that. It’s good to remember that I need to make this clear to any potential partner.

    I have a question, though: WHEN is the right time to have such conversations about boundaries? I imagine the sooner the better, though there might also be a “too soon” situation (I would be freaked out if a guy asked me this on the first or second date). So… when agreeing to become exclusive? Before, after? Thank you!


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