Word of the Week: Cinemadultery

photo via flickr

These days, most of us watch TV on our own schedule, rather than sitting down in front of the box when the networks tell us to. In fact, plenty of people never even sit in front of a television set to watch their favorite shows! And plenty of us wait until an entire season (or more) of a show is available on Netflix or iTunes before choosing to watch it. But this new world order has ushered in the problem of cinemadultery.

You may not have heard of the term, but unless you’ve been single since the advent of Netflix et al, we’re fairly sure you’ve suffered the syndrome: It’s when your significant other watches an episode of a television without you — a show that you were supposedly watching together. For example, one of you is working late, or is out on a ladies’ or guys’ night, and the other one, home alone, sneaks in an extra episode of “The Good Wife.”Low blow, right?

And because we live in such a high tech world, it’s not always even possible to lie about this cinemadultery. Em once discovered her guy’s cinemadultery when she logged into their Netflix account and saw the cursor shifted down three episodes in the “House of Cards” section. (“House of Cards” is particularly vulnerable to cinemadultery, as an entire season is released at once.) He responded that “it meant nothing” and “it’s not you, it’s me” (he was bored) and, finally, “I didn’t know you cared!”

In the interest of protecting your relationship from cinemadultery, we suggest communicating clearly about the shows you watch together. Perhaps some shows are reserved for couple viewing time only (especially those with steamy sex scenes and hair-raising plot twists), while others can be consumed on an individual basis (foreign shows with sub-titles, for example).

Unless, of course, you feel like cinemadultery serves a purpose in your relationship. Perhaps it’s an outlet for partner-related frustration. And perhaps it’s a substitute for actual cheating — the kind that involves stealth late-night texting and handjobs in semi-public places.

In which case, let your asshole flag fly! Go ahead and watch that entire season of “Game of Thrones” on your own. Make a bag of popcorn and eat the entire bag yourself. And when your partner comes home and finds you passed out on the couch, remote in hand and your face smeared with butter? Don’t even think of apologizing.