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Is Watching Pornography Considered Cheating?

Is Watching Pornography Considered Cheating?The question of whether watching pornography is considered cheating on a partner has to be followed up by another question. By whom?

There is far from universal agreement on a wide range of activities that may or may not constitute infidelity, but pornography viewing may be the most divisive of all of these activities. As firmly as some people believe that looking at porn would be a huge betrayal on the part of a romantic partner, other people feel equally strongly that porn is not harmful and at best can even be helpful to a relationship.

And both of these points of view can be equally correct, for the right couples under the right circumstances. The most important thing is that both partners in the relationship are on the same page when it comes to porn and that there are ground rules that each partner is willing to abide by.

Have the Conversation Before It’s Too Late

Don’t know the rules concerning porn in your own relationship? Well, if it’s not a topic that you and your partner have ever addressed, the best way to get a clear answer is to ask. It may not be a very comfortable topic of conversation for many people, but it’s almost certain to be more comfortable than the conversation that would happen if your partner discovered you had been watching porn and felt hurt and betrayed.

Even without having such a conversation, most people probably have a pretty good idea how their partners feel about the subject of pornography. For some folks, porn is not just unacceptable in the context of a relationship, but in any context. They may view porn as unhealthy or exploitative, but whatever their specific points of view, they are definitely not going to be OK with their partners watching a little porn on the side.

You should also consider your own behavior when you are trying to decide whether watching porn is acceptable in your own relationship. Suppose you tell yourself that there is nothing wrong with it but are also careful to make sure that your partner never finds out about it. Or, suppose that you are reluctant to give up watching porn yourself but are also extremely uncomfortable with the idea of your partner watching porn. These are signs that you need to either clear the air or leave porn out of your relationship altogether.

If You Cross a Known Boundary, It’s Cheating

Whatever your own attitude toward pornography, your partner is perfectly justified in considering porn to be off limits and in considering any violation of this boundary to be infidelity. If you were truly unaware of your partner’s disapproval, you might reasonably argue that your partner ought to give you another chance as long as you are willing to respect this boundary in the future. But again, it’s rare that someone is completely clueless about a partner’s attitude toward pornography and had no idea that they might cause a partner pain.

Furthermore, even a situation of true ignorance on both sides prior to the painful reveal can require a long process of healing and recovery. In addition to anger and hurt, victims of infidelity often struggle with their self-esteem and feelings of security in the relationship. However much you may feel that you did nothing wrong, failing to support your partner during this process and to do what is necessary to help him or her regain trust, security and self-confidence is a sure way to kill off your relationship for good.

For some couples, watching pornography separately or together is a way to make a relationship more erotic and to talk about what the other finds exciting. However, it is critical to remember that not everyone feels this way, and that ultimately the boundaries that you establish with your partner have to be your guide. If you knowingly cross those boundaries, then there is no getting away from the fact that you are committing infidelity.

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