We Asked 283 Readers About What Really Counts As Cheating In A Relationship

It’s time to get justice for Ross Geller.

Originally Published: 
photo of woman leaning over man's shoulder while he's texting on his phone.
JGI, Emilija Manevska/Getty Images, Simon, Studio Firma, Victor Torres/Stocksy Images, Margaret Flatley/Bustle

DMs, sexting, signing onto Hinge — these words meant nothing to us 15 years ago. And yet today, they’re not only some of the most popular routes to finding a romantic partner — they’re also just a few of the ways you can betray them too. But what is cheating these days?

To determine where the line lies in monogamous relationships, Bustle Trends Group conducted a survey of 283 Bustle readers. This is what they had to say about gray areas, sketchy Instagram behavior, and surefire deal-breakers.

Been There Done That

When it comes to survey participants' experiences with cheating in relationships, most Bustle readers have been there, done that — whether they knew it at the time or not.

Let's Talk About Monogamy

When asked how monogamy makes participants feel, the top three answers were safe, secure, and loved.

What Actually Counts As Cheating? (Aside From Sleeping With Someone Else, Of Course)

Bustle readers voted kissing, sexting, and using dating apps as indisputable cheating activities, but when it came to other digital behaviors — DMing, leaving flirty comments on Instagram photos, keeping a dating app on your phone — things got a little murkier.

The Gray Area

Nearly half of participants agreed a gray area exists when it comes to cheating. And counting all types of in-person and online flirtation, liking someone else's Instagram photos was repeatedly named as the biggest area for debate.

Liking someone's posts is a gray area. Sometimes people use it to get that person's attention, but other times it's completely harmless and there's no way to know which one it is.

So, Did Ross Cheat On Rachel In Friends?

Let’s settle it once and for all: Is it cheating if you hook up with someone else when you're on a break?

Is Cheating A Deal-Breaker? It Depends...

Participants were split as to whether cheating is a definite deal-breaker in relationships.

The Top Deal-Breakers

Bustle readers voted on which types of flirty behaviors were breakup-worthy, naming sexting as the top digital activity that would end a relationship.

Sexting or any type of behavior that would be definitely cheating if it were occurring in real life, not just digitally, is a deal-breaker.

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