Last night I watched Seven Year Switch. And today, all I can think about is what actually constitutes cheating.
Is getting a tattoo with the another person the same as getting rumpy at the office Christmas party?
How about having a spa? In a bikini?
Giving a massage?
Apologies (well, not really) to all those massage-giving, spa-loving, ink-branded ‘best buddies’ out there, but the answer is yes.
What happens when the couples on Seven Year Switch meet each other’s partners? Post continues after video…
I know, I know. You’re just friends. He/she just really gets you. It’s not complicated and fraught with emotion in the way your proper relationship is.
Heads-up. That’s why it’s cheating. You might not be actually doing the deed, but your emotions – the good ones at least – are all trained on someone else. Which is a bit diminishing for the third party.
“He can get fucked,” Jackie said after discovering partner Tim had got real ink, in a real tatt, on his foot on an outing with ‘experimental partner’ Tallena (tumbling dice, FYI, kinda appropriate for someone who seems to like taking a chance).
Okay, it’s just a tattoo. It doesn’t match the one Tallena got.
But there's something very intimate, very personal, about sharing such an extreme experience, especially for the first time. About choosing the tattoo, deciding where to put it. And the person with Tim when he was doing it wasn't her. Every time Jackie looks at it - and let's face it, it's not going anywhere any time soon - she'll be reminded he was having good times with someone else.
Ditto for the spa incident (where Tim whipped off his swimmers). And the massage. And the time he decided to sneak into the only bed in the house, where Tallena was already asleep.
In Tim's eyes it was all high jinks, and jinks that will end with the show (possibly sooner, given Jackie's shocked, sobbing response).
But in many cases, this is where the cheating starts - well before the sex, some time after care and consideration have departed and bang on where thoughtlessness kicks in.
I get it. Cheating is slippery (no pun intended). It's hard to define. I'd like a dollar for every person who's joked about their 'work husband' - you know, the one they have coffee with, sit next to at meetings, share office gossip with first. It's not like anything would ever happen.
Only it often does. Studies estimate 50-60 per cent of married men and 45-55 per cent of married women engage in extramarital sex at some time or another during their marriage. And those relationships start with the most innocuous things.
One friend says she knew something would happen with her boss the day she shared a sausage roll with him. Seriously. A sausage roll.
"I knew it was wrong," she says. "You shouldn't share food with a man in a de facto relationship."
Another, who embarked on a torrid and fairly destructive, four-year affair, says she knew something would happen after she became acutely aware of his arm when they sat next to each other on a plane. Plus, she says, he'd somehow morphed into the most interesting man alive.
"Nothing had happened, but I never stopped talking about him," she says.
So while half the country cries 'overreaction' to the tattoo and the spa, it's worth thinking about what actions like those really say - and how they make you, or your partner feel.
Because at best, they say 'I didn't think'. At worst, it says they like someone more than you.
Whatever you think of Jackie on Seven Year Switch, watching her sob as the impact of Tim's actions hit home was an awful thing to see.
If you're in a great relationship, it won't matter what your partner does. If the trust is there, if the care is there, they won't do anything to hurt each other anyway.
The line might be different for us all, but they'll know where it is.
And they won't cross it.
*Feature image via Facebook/SevenYearSwitchAU.