Or perhaps you feel there is no leeway, and cheating in marriage is cheating in any shape or form.
Infidelity definition or definition of affair in marriage has different connotations for different people.
The definition of infidelity in marriage can broadly be attributed to the violation of a couple’s mutually negotiated and agreed upon contract or understanding regarding emotional and/or sexual exclusivity.
What is considered cheating in a relationship? Let’s have a look at the definition of cheating in a marriage legally.
Legally, cheating in a marriage often constitutes two people having a sexual relationship with at least one party being married to someone else.
Unfortunately, in real life, cheating isn’t so simply defined.
There are many avenues of infidelity, ranging from emotional attachments to cyber-dating. Online infidelity is another challenge to a happy and healthy marriage.
No matter what form it takes, all types of cheating are devastating to a marriage.
Here are some of the most common forms of cheating today:
Emotional affairs: Emotional affairs can sometimes hurt worse than sexual infidelity. Having an emotional affair meant that while your partner did not necessarily have a sexual relationship with this person, their feelings had crossed the line into emotional intimacy. This often involves sharing personal details with this person and treating the connection as they would a romantic relationship.
Physical affairs: This includes mutual sexual touching, oral copulations, anal sex, and vaginal sex. These involve both parties being present. Infidelity in a marriage is painful whether the affair lasted three days or three years.
Common forms of physical affairs
What is cheating in a marriage? To define cheating in a relationship, it is important to understand the common forms of cheating in a committed relationship.
One night stands: A one-night stand means that your partner only cheated once, and it ended there. This was likely nothing more than a physical attraction that was about sex and nothing more. Regardless of the circumstance, the affair ended after that night.
Long-term affairs: Opposed to a one night stand, this kind of affair goes on for many years. Instead of simply being in a physical connection, when your partner forms a romantic relationship with another person and, in a sense, creates a separate life with them, that is a long-term affair.
Revenge cheating: After being cheated on, some may find a surge of anger that creates a need to “get even” with the cheating party. If you have cheated in the past and your partner couldn’t deal with their feelings on the matter, they may have lashed out and cheated out of revenge.
Online affairs: The internet has opened up a new world of cheating. This could include sexting, sending nude or explicit photos to someone other than your marriage mate, pornography addiction, watching cam girls, having phone sex, indulging in explicit online chat rooms, or pursuing a relationship via a dating app.
Also, watch this video on types of infidelity in marriage.
What legally determines ‘cheating’?
The unfortunate fact is that you and the law have different definitions of what constitutes infidelity in marriage.
If you are legally pursuing action with your spouse after discovering their affair, you and the law may have conflicting ideas about what constitutes infidelity in a marriage.
For example, the law commonly does not accept emotional affairs as grounds to file under adultery.
However, States like Massachusetts consider cheating to be a felony that can land your straying spouse with $500 worth of fines and up to 3 years in jail.
Laws vary greatly by country and state. Sometimes, things you consider as a grievous break in your marriage vows may not be recognized by the court system.
Common questions regarding adultery and the law
As per adultery definition, whether it is a single act of sexual intercourse or multiple instances of it during an extramarital affair, it constitutes adultery in marriage.
Is it adultery if your partner cheated with the same sex? Yes.
Most states consider physical acts of sex to fall under infidelity regardless of what gender the marriage mate is cheating with.
Even if the affair has been going on for 10 years, courts usually require the physical act of sex to have occurred to dissolve the marriage under the flag of adultery.
The bottom line
What constitutes infidelity in marriage is between you and your marriage mate.
Discuss, openly, and honestly, what both of you consider the breaking point of trust in your relationship. If you are reeling from the aftermath of an affair, do not be afraid to seek professional help.
Learning what legally constitutes infidelity in a marriage is important information to know, especially if you are considering pursuing legal action against your partner.
If you are dealing with the fallout from an affair, you may want to pursue infidelity therapy to regain control of your life, either with or without your partner.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.