Is it cheating? Study shows men and women might have different definitions of infidelity

As if dating and relationships in this day and age weren’t complicated enough, a new study has confirmed what many of us might have already guessed: when it comes to cheating, men and women have different perceptions of what counts as crossing the line.

According to the study, which was published in the journal Sexual & Relationship Therapy, women have a much broader view of what constitutes infidelity than men do. The researchers surveyed participants on three potential types of cheating: sexual, emotional, and fantasy. Men tended to view only sexual encounters as cheating, while female participants were much more likely to perceive behaviors in all three categories as forms of cheating.

Another interesting finding of the study? Which type of cheating each gender fears most. While men found physical infidelity to be most distressing, women were more afraid of emotional infidelity:

Of course this doesn’t mean that ALL men and ALL women think this way, but it is an interesting perspective on the way different genders tend to view relationships, and the expectations we have of our partners. It’s also a great opportunity to talk to our partners and make sure we’re on the same page.

“How do you define infidelity?” might not be a light topic to bring up while watching Parks and Rec reruns, but it is a super important question, and one that can bring you closer as a couple.

So ask. Talk about it. And then get back to taking notes on relationship goals from April and Andy.

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