Perspective

We Asked Singaporean Guys What Counts As Cheating

What Men Define As Cheating

While the general consensus of cheating involves the penetrative act of sex itself, it can be a massive grey area that’s hard for couples to navigate. Does sliding into that hot girl’s DMs count? What about that flirty text to an old flame? While these acts are seemingly innocent, they can also be seen as stepping stones down a dangerous path to the actual act of infidelity.

Everybody has their own boundaries and it’s often problematic for a relationship when definitions don’t line up. I mean, there are people who reckon giving $5 to another person is an act of betrayal.

So do men, the stereotypically “less sensitive” gender, count even the tiniest signs of emotional cheating? We asked 5 Singaporean guys to speak up.

People can’t control feelings, but they can control actions

Falling in love with someone is uncontrollable, but I’d want my partner to tell me beforehand so we can work things out. If she acts on her feelings by physically pursuing someone else, I’d feel cheated on because people can’t control how they feel, but they can control whether or not to act on it.
Sid, 21

Once she thinks ‘I wish it was you instead of him (the boyfriend)’

Once she starts flirting with other guys via sexual texts behind my back, that counts as cheating to me. Or along the lines of ‘I wish it was you instead of him (the boyfriend)’. I can still forgive that though, but once there’s physical intimacy such as holding hands or kissing, it’s bye bye for me.
Steph, 26

Once there’s physical intimacy behind my back

Cheating is a mental boundary for me. The gay community’s pretty open and liberal, and most relationships aren’t rigidly monogamous. If you tell me you’re going to sleep with somebody else and I say it’s okay, then it’s fine. If I say no and my partner still does it, then I count that as cheating.

Emotionally, I don’t care if they sext or flirt with other people, but once they engage in romantic acts with someone else, that’s cheating. For example, if they go on a date with the intention of it being a date.
Brendan, 19

There’s a fine line between being friendly and being flirty

It’s normal to check out people of the opposite sex but the seed of cheating is planted when she pictures herself with that guy. There’s a fine line between being friendly and being flirty. You don’t know when you’ll fall deep into infatuation, but if you do, it will easily lead to emotional cheating.

Both parties must always remember that they chose each other and accept the fact that there’ll always be somebody richer/smarter/sexier/easier to connect with, etc. For the girl, if you know this guy used to like you or you heard he does, or perhaps you even liked him before, extra precaution should be taken.
Cheng, 27

An emotional connection that goes beyond platonic friendships

When my girlfriend has an emotional connection with someone apart from me that goes beyond that of a platonic friendship—you think about him/her all the time, you flirt, and worst of all, you keep this from your partner.
Kuan, 21

Cheating in Singapore

Whatever your definition of cheating may be, it’s important to talk it out with your partner so you guys are on the same page.

If not, follow the general rule of thumb: if you’re not comfortable with your partner doing the same thing to you, chances are, you shouldn’t do it.

Cover image: source

Jing En Lim

Jing En is a feisty third culture kid with a restless spirit. Among other things, she enjoys red lipstick, stargazing, and tetris, and you'll usually find her singing along to the Hamilton soundtrack.

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