What constitutes cheating in a relationship? My girlfriend whom I’ve been dating for three years had coffee with an ex and kissed him, which I consider cheating. She thinks I am overreacting. What is your opinion?

–Not a Happy Camper (Canada)


Every couple must negotiate the rules of what is acceptable and not acceptable in their specific relationship. Did you know she was going to have coffee with her ex, or did they run into each other on the spur of the moment? Perhaps if she planned to have coffee with her ex, she should have let you know in advance. And as far as the kissing, was it a peck on the cheek, a quick kiss on the mouth, or more?

Every couple has different expectations and agreements. Some couples are even polyamorous, allowing each other to have sex with others with the consent and knowledge of their partner. But for any couple, the main issue is trust and respect.

Ideally, the couple should discuss up front what is acceptable and unacceptable and make agreements with each other accordingly and no one should ever deceive their partner or keep them in the dark.

It sounds like perhaps your girlfriend was up front with you in letting you know she kissed her ex (unless you found out some other way). That being said, if your relationship has been solid and enjoyable in most ways, think about whether you want to give up all of that because of one kiss.

This is a good opportunity for the two of you to sit down and discuss what your expectations are of each other and to set guidelines for what you each consider acceptable or unacceptable behavior, and to make agreements on how the two of you us will move forward in the future.

Perhaps this is a good opportunity to also think about where the two of us are going as a couple as well if you both wish to move forward.

Wishing both of you whatever is for your highest good.

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