“Netflix Cheating” Is On the Rise—and Chances Are You’ve Been Cheated on Already

When watching a few extra episodes has far greater consequences than you might think.

Is Netflix Secretly Ruining Your Relationship?iStock/franckreporter

Cheating has subtle but definitely serious signs: Your significant other repeatedly cancels date night, keeps “missing” your calls, or suddenly seems very protective about his or her phone.

But sometimes, infidelity goes unnoticed. With careful planning and execution, perpetrators cover their tracks so well that the faithless act may as well have never happened. That act is Netflix cheating, and apparently, it’s the new norm.

People have probably been “Netflix cheating” as long as Netflix has been around. But a new study directly from the company shows that almost half of couples who stream together have cheated, meaning they secretly watch episodes ahead of their significant other (or whomever they watch shows with). Of these cheaters, 44 percent have done it three or more times, and 60 percent said they’d do it more often if they knew they wouldn’t get caught. Nearly half never confess to their misdeeds.

Before you lament the loss of trust in relationships, rest assured that for many Netflix users, cheating isn’t all that big of a deal. Most of the time, it happens on impulse just because viewers couldn’t help themselves. The top offenders in the U.S. cheated while watching American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, and Orange Is the New Black. As a recovering Netflix addict, I can attest that turning off a show after an episode that ends in a cliff-hanger (which, let’s face it, is every episode) is infinitely harder than it sounds.

However, Netflix cheating could be the final straw for a couple that already has trust issues. If that’s the case and you want to save the relationship, you need to approach it the same way you would a romantic affair. Think that sounds crazy? Forty percent of viewers in Hong Kong think Netflix cheating is actually worse than an affair.

The bottom line is that couples can work through this new form of infidelity with the same method that solves many other relationships problems: communication. But if worse comes to worst, you can always get a new streaming buddy from the Netherlands, the country with the most loyal Netflix couples.

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