We All Know What Counts As Cheating, but Here’s What Doesn’t…​


  • Flirting, a drunken kiss and attending a strip club are just some of the things that DON’T count as cheating
  • Nearly two thirds of men and over half of women would forgive their partner if they caught them sending intimate messages to someone else
  • However, 89% of men and 93% of women would end their relationship if they caught their partner getting intimate with someone else
  • The results come from a survey of over 2,500 members from IllicitEncounters.com, the UK’s leading dating website for married people

There are no hard and fast rules as to what constitutes cheating. Or at least there weren’t.IllicitEncounters.com, the UK’s leading dating website for married people, have written the rule-book on cheating, compiled from suggestions and responses of over 2,500 of their members.

Cheating includes:

  • Sexting
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Other sexual activities (e.g. oral sex)
  • Dating someone outside of your relationship
  • All of the above, even if the relationship isn’t ‘official’

Cheating doesn’t include:

  •  Flirting
  •  Romantic and intimate thoughts about someone other than your partner
  •  Kissing someone while drunk
  •  Holding hands with someone other than your partner
  •  Denying being married / in a relationship
  •  Sleeping in the same bed with a friend of the opposite gender
  •  Dancing with a member of the opposite gender
  •  Going to a strip club
  •  Liking or commenting on someone else’s photo on social media
  •  Remaining close friends with an old flame

However, despite there being an overall consensus, the numbers did differ slightly depending on gender. 82% of men felt that flirting with someone didn’t constitute cheating, compared to 60% of women. And while 68% of men didn’t think that lying about their relationship status counted as being unfaithful, a little over half (53%) of women felt the same way.

83% of men felt that going to a strip club didn’t constitute cheating, and a surprisingly high number of women (77%) agreed. A high number of both men and women, 96% and 93% respectively, felt that liking or positing flattering comments on someone else’s photo on social media also didn’t cross any lines.

The survey also found that 65% of men and 54% of women would forgive their partner if they caught them sending intimate messages to another person, while 89% of men and 93% of women would break off their relationship if they caught their significant other getting intimate in any way with someone else.

Spokesperson for IllicitEncounters.com, Christian Grant, explains:

“While sex or sexting might be the obvious lines in the sand, it’s quite surprising to see the things that don’t fall under the bracket of cheating.

It seems that many people are willing to forgive a kiss, so long as it’s while under the influence of alcohol, while flirting and even going to a strip club don’t cross any lines.”

Emily, 37, explains:

“For me, cheating is all about the intent behind it. If the man I was seeing cared for someone more than me, and expressed those emotions by sexting or dating her behind my back, that’s not ok.

But a drunken kiss, the odd bit of flirting… look, we’ve all made mistakes, and context is important. Remaining monogamous is incredibly difficult – I don’t believe that all of us haven’t had an inappropriate thought about someone else at some stage, that doesn’t make us all adulterers.”


IllicitEncounters.com is the UK’s leading and longest running dating site for married people. With over 1,000,000 genuine UK users since 2004, you’re sure to find your perfect match.

Established in 2004, we have been providing a meeting place for like-minded married and attached people for nearly 10 years. Our members have one thing in common – they are all looking for a little romance outside their current relationship. Whether that’s the occasional bit of flirtatious chat, a regular coffee date, or a full-blown affair, that’s up to them.

For comments, case-studies or more information, contact Christian Grant:

Email: presspr@illicitencounters.co.uk
Office: 020 7729 6098
Twitter: @cheatsafer

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