Cheating is when you fold in on yourself or someone else. Cheating on someone else almost always implies sexual infidelity, but for me it has been as slight as coveting another woman with your eyes, hands, or intentions. It surprises me that cheating on someone seldom applies to anything beyond that, for it is apparent that we are capable of various ways of being weak and having someone suffer for it.

For me, cheating is something I consider or contemplate every day. I cheat mainly on myself, and though I have not cheated on someone in the aforementioned way, I know I have held back from people devotions or commitments, things they asked for that I was unable to give, though I will be told that I promised these things, later on when it is too late and my memory fails me.

I cheat on my rigorous gym schedule, my online limits, my time reserved for myself that I claim to so desperately need. I cheat myself of the ability to move forward financially or professionally, personally or emotionally, using fear as the primary excuse. I cheat myself of the Bible study class I attend weekly with the other women in my small congregation, women who are mothers and friends to me, whose banter I often welcome at the end of my bleak Wednesdays. Whatever excuse I have, it's given only to myself, so who is going to argue? I've already won.

The first cigarette I pick up after I've quit feels odd fit to my fingers, the wrong circumference. I don't want to want it, and I extinguish it in the street. Eventually, I'll snap all the filters from the rest of the pack and chalk up the wasted cost as cheating deferred. Par for the course.

I try to limit the cheating in stages, try to adhere to rules set and maintained by only myself in my life in the singular. The sensation resembles watching an iguana wrestling in a tub of warm water, his delicate claws scattering to find a surface to cling to, until finally he lies still, breathing deep to keep his body afloat. When he swims his laps, his limbs lie against his body, and he becomes a ribbon of green, beautiful and fluid. But every bath starts with that struggle to grasp the sides of the porcelain, to find footing where there is none.

I think cheating is whatever your so thinks it is.

If it is ok with your significant other that you flirt at work and go to lunch with people, then it should be ok.

On the other hand, if your so doesn't even want you looking at other people (drop them), it isn't ok.

My wife doesn't mind me going to strip clubs if I want (i don't). I actually went to a "lingerie show" last weekend that had several models wearing skimpy clothes. There was a playboy model, Laurie Wallace, signing her issues... My wife said "That sounds like you will have a good time! Have fun, sweetie!"

Cheating could also be defined as what hurts your conscience. If you feel guilty about something, don't do it (again).

How's this.

Think of your significant other, ok.

Imagine he/she has a friend, an acquaintance, that you do not know.

Now what would he/she do, what behavior would occur that you would consider "cheating on you?"

Heartfelt letters?
Some heavy petting in the back of an Acura?

What is the standard of intimacy that you would set for them, this imaginary couple?

Whatever you would find intolerable and "too much," well, there it is,
that is what you consider cheating.

Cheating also extends to any form of competition - be it computer games, at cards, sexually (see above), in sports, or in any activity that involves a form of ranking or competition.

As a social commentary, cheating is more the act of altering the way a person acts to achieve inflated results. Often, the act of cheating is immoral or "illegal" - whether to the rules of the competition, the ordinary actions of a person in a social sense, or against the concept behind the motivation for the competition.

Cheating also has been documented to lead to reduced overall performance through the reliance on the "cheat" to achieve consistent results. Cheating in computer games usually leads to the player being ostracised, often even being banned from the game all together. If the player continues though, studies (too numerous to mention) have shown that the use of cheats leads to the overall maximum potential for the player being reduced to those who do not cheat.

Cheating is a concept that is anti-social, yet remarkably accepted in today's society. A cheater is often given "the benefit of the doubt", and sometimes is coupled with the underdog affection mentality and the reformed criminal hopes.

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