There is no right or wrong answer to this, as the truth is, it’s different for every couple. That’s why it’s a good conversation to get out of the way early in a relationship. Particularly nowadays, with polyamory, open relationships, and other approaches to dating becoming more common, along with the prevalence of porn and social media, every relationship will have different things they are OK—and definitely not OK—with.
“People have very, very different feelings about this,” Page notes. “This is something that needs a lot of discussion between partners. What’s most important is that one partner doesn’t override the other person’s needs and feelings around this.”
He adds that men generally have a lower tolerance for sexual infidelity than emotional, whereas women are much more negatively affected by a partner who’s emotionally cheating. Again, it’s a conversation that should be had sooner than later.
In general, though, when it comes to cheating, Birkel says secrecy is often involved—and guilt. “Secrecy is often a big part of it. That’s a really good clue it’s something that’s verging on cheating,” he says, along with “any time you’re feeling guilty about something you’re doing.”