A recent survey reports that younger generations are more likely to say that a relationship has to be physical in order for it to count as "cheating"—but is this spelling doom for future coupling?
Indeed, according to a recent survey conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies for Newsweek, more than 1,500 participants were asked, "In your opinion, does a relationship need to be physical to count as cheating?". (By non-physical relationships, respondents could mean anything from online sexting to emotional affairs.) First, the good news for strict-constructionist monogamists—a full 55 percent of adults of all ages agreed that in some circumstances, a non-physical affair could be cheating.
But here’s where the generational story gets interesting—among Gen Z (that’s persons born between the late 1990s and early 2010), only 48 percent said a non-physical affair could be considered cheating. Among millennials (born 1981 to 1996), the number climbed to 55 percent, with Gen X (born 1964 to 1980) coming out with 58 percent believing that non-physical “entanglements” can be cheating, to use a newly coined term highlighted in the recent Gen X memoir Worthy by Jada Pinkett Smith.
So overall, the younger the person, the more likely they are to take in stride some person or experience—work wife to dick pic—that happens outside their monogamous love relationship. What’s behind the changing attitudes? It’s easy to pick on the big bad Internet as the source of moral decay (if you can even call it that), but perhaps that is part of the lackadaisical attitude.