I love these topics
My last blog entry raised the question of why men cheat, and thousands of you weighed in--not just on the whys of cheating, but on what, exactly, constitutes cheating. In fact, one woman said she considers it cheating if her man so much as looks at another woman. Huh? You mean he's not even allowed to scope, peek, glance, admire, or notice another beautiful woman? Now, it's one thing to hold a man's words, actions, or nether regions to a high standard. But his eyes, too? That seems to make about as much sense as our societal obsession with Britney's apparently empty underwear drawer.
While researching my book Men, Love & Sex, I found that not only do men and women define fidelity differently, but they also fail to talk about their definitions before something happens (with the exception of the one action everyone acknowledges as cheating). Here's how guys tend to define the murkier areas of fidelity. Don't like it? Then talk about it now before he steps across a line he didn't know existed.
Flirting or Cheating? Looking at another woman?
It's one thing if his tongue drops to the floor in your presence; that's just plain disrespectful (though 80 percent of men have admitted to looking at other women even with their wives or girlfriends around). But cheating? Hardly. Men think there's a huge difference between thinking and acting. "We have two sides--the committed husband/boyfriend and the 'check out the hottie' side. In men, the committed wins out, but the checker always exists," says one man who responded to the Harris poll I used when researching the book. (And ladies, don't even try to tell me you haven't had more than a couple of thoughts and conversations about whether McDreamy or McSteamy is hotter.)
Flirting or Cheating? E-mailing an ex?
The e-mail exchange per se isn't a cheat (depending on exactly what's exchanged, of course). But, for many people, any contact beyond a few truly platonic and innocent "just catching up" messages is a relationship-killer-not because of the act itself, but because of the potential act that may follow. About 60 percent of guys consider dinner and drinks with an ex as cheating. Looking her up online? Only 20 percent of us would classify that as a relationship no-no.
Flirting or Cheating? Hanging out with the women at work?
Here's the real relationship danger zone: About 50 percent of guys consider having dinner and drinks with an attractive co-worker as cheating. But the more troubling stat for you may be this one: One in five men says that he secretly loves his platonic (for now) coworker. Just look at Jim and Pam on The Office, and you know exactly what I'm talking about. That's not meant to scare you-more just to make sure you keep your eyes open (as if you don't already) and intentions honorable.
Flirting or Cheating? Kissing another woman?
Some guys may try to wiggle out of a drunken kiss with a stranger (or coworker, in the cloakroon, at the Christmas party) as a one-time-only event. But the true test about whether a guy thinks something is cheating is whether he'd be ok with the situation reversed. Guys don't want their women exchanging lip balm (or any thing else physical) with another guy, and nearly 90 percent of guys agree that their own drunken hook-up with a stranger is indeed off-limits.
Flirting or Cheating? Going to a strip club?
The good news for those of you who are anti-exotic dancer: Half of men think that visiting a strip club is cheating. The other half? Going to a strip club is like going to a sporting event-there's lots of entertainment, lots of excitement, and lots of interest in watching the most talented players in action. In the poll, many men said that they feel there's no harm in once-in-a-while visits since there's no emotional attachment and only temporary, artificial physical attraction. "Sometimes, to be blunt about it," one man responded in the poll, "it's just a bit of art appreciation, and it's nice to see another woman naked