For many high school students, defining relationships is difficult, and defining the rules of that relationship is even worse. What exactly defines cheating?
When most people think of cheating, they think of it as sharing a physical intimacy with someone other than their partner. Senior Danny Gonzalez agrees, “I think of it as physical.” He believes that “when you get touchy with the person” it is considered cheating. But for a lot of teens, there is a gray area to what defines cheating.
Flirting is one of these gray areas because there is a wide range of what people consider to be flirting as well. Physical forms of flirting is something that is more likely to be classified as cheating since it is more of an obvious form. This can be anything from handholding to hugging or even friendly kisses on the cheek. But what about flirting that is verbal? There are also teens who flirt by giving compliments or playfully taunting others. Verbal flirting can hurt your partner just as much as physical flirting, so it is not very surprising that they would consider it cheating.
Now teenagers even flirt by using technology. Things like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter can facilitate a cheater. You can be messaging people without your significant other knowing or posting flirty comments on others’ photos. Since technology is a big part in teens’ lives, this form of “cheating” is becoming more common. Senior Kirsten Guerra says, “It’s cheating when he’s on the phone talking about things he wants to do with her or he’s on Skype showing her things.”
Phones can also be used as a tool for cheating in a relationship. Sending cute texts with excessive emoticons and selfies to others can be worthy of placement in the cheating category, and even worse, long phone conversations. Long phone talks can indicate a more emotional form of cheating because now they are having an intimate and personal relationship with someone other than their significant other.
Cheaters would argue that since they are not having physical contact with another person, it is not cheating. This is why it can be uncomfortable for a person to confront their significant other for cheating since they can have very different views on what they think cheating is, like senior Andrew Gonzalez who believes that “cheating is anything you do that would hurt your significant other.” Like if you have a friendship with another person and there are things in that relationship that you chose to hide from your partner, it is probably because it would hurt them. Maybe these things are not “cheating” per say, but it still hurts just as much.