Is Kissing "Cheating"?


When I’m out at night with my girlfriends we occasionally meet guys and, though I’m in a committed relationship, I still find myself kissing one now and then. The strangest part is that because my relationship with my boyfriend is so solid, I feel like kissing these guys is OK and I'm not really cheating. Am I kidding myself?

He Said:Many of us have a similar feeling, that when we are safe from a particular danger, we enjoy playing around the edge of it. And having a strong relationship can give you a solid boundary. Maybe kissing a guy in a club feels safe because you always leave with your girlfriends. But feeling safe isn't the same as being honest and that's where you're kidding yourself. The larger question is, of course, what constitutes cheating? Men, at least in private, are able to be more honest about this. We sometimes brag about cheating, at least with each other. I think cheating has been harder for women to admit to, even privately. I’ve heard some Olympic gold contenders in this female mental-gymnastics event:

  • "As long as I'm not having vaginal intercourse with someone who isn't my boyfriend, I'm not cheating."
  • "I'm only married on the weekends."
  • And finally, from a hooker in my temporary employ, "I never have an orgasm with anyone but my boyfriend, so I'm emotionally faithful."

But as Dr. Phil likes to say, let's get real. Cheating is anything you wouldn't want your partner to catch you doing. And since San Francisco can be a small town, if you put a lip lock on enough guys, eventually your boyfriend may find out.

She Said: I'm not going to delve into the question of why you feel the need to kiss other men though you say your relationship is "solid." Perhaps after a while with just one man, you want the validation that you are still attractive to others. Perhaps your relationship is more solid than passionate, or fun, or romantic. Perhaps you like a little danger, and you haven't found a way to incorporate that into the relationship. We could go down any of those roads, but for simplicity's sake, I'm just going to dwell on one fact, and it is a fact: You are not cheating because you kiss guys. This is the most liberal city in the world, and it's 2010, meaning you and your BF can create any type of relationship and rules you want. You are cheating because you are playing by one set of rules, while you have imposed a wholly different set on him. That, in effect, is why it's called cheating. It's like you're both playing cards, and you've marked yours. Playing with marked cards is risky and potentially fun, yes, but if your partner finds out, he probably won't want to play with you anymore. And, if he doesn't, you may "win" (i.e. get away with it) but then you'll have to take your trophy (perhaps a wedding ring, perhaps a few children and a house, perhaps a lifelong love) and look at it every day, knowing you didn't play fair to get it. Bottom line: You want the freedom to kiss guys? Great. Tell him, give him the same freedom, and then go for it.

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