The benefits of an open relationship (for TV watching): The rise of box set cheating


You’re definitely cheating on your girlfriend (or boyfriend) if you get drunk at a party and snog an old flame, but what if you betray their trust by watching the latest House of Cards on Netflix without them?

The on-demand television streaming service calls this “Netflix adultery” and has launched a clever PR campaign with a YouTube video off the back of a survey that says 12 per cent of married American couples admitted to being guilty of it. A further 50 per cent said they’d been tempted to do the dirty on their loved one after agreeing to watch a whole series together and feeling unable to keep their promise.

The fluffy PR study was only based on 2,000 people, but I can imagine it could actually be fairly accurate for once.  How many of us haven’t lied about our catch-up addiction and had to sit through the same episode of Mad Men or Breaking Bad twice so our spouse doesn’t catch us out?

It’s a dirty business though, as one writer in New York magazine pointed out in an April piece (interestingly published well before the Netflix campaign kicked off…): “I betrayed my boyfriend’s trust on the living room sofa… with my ear buds in, you could say Netflix was actually inside of me.”

In her defence (and mine), this broadcast adultery has been going on well before online streaming – I remember cheating on an ex-girlfriend with a box set of The West Wing dozens of times. Like sex addicts, us television cheats shouldn’t be held accountable for our actions. I for one am going to make sure my next girlfriend is game for an open Netflix relationship.