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Honey, I have something to tell you.
You know that episode of House of Cards we watched last night on Netflix? Well, here's the thing: I watched it without you last week. Aaaaand, I was afraid to tell you. So I just sat through it again, gasping at all the right scenes, shouting "How is it possible for Robin Wright to look that good?!"
Yes, I am a Netflix cheater (and it turns out, an amazing actress as well!). But, on the plus side, I have a fair amount of company in the land of TV adultery.
Netflix recently surveyed 2,068 of its adult users online and found that 51 percent would stream a program alone even after having promised to watch it with their partners. Twelve percent confessed to actually doing the deed, while 10 percent said they had been cheated on.
More than 20 percent of respondents admitted to watching in bed while their significant other was asleep next to them (oh the shame!) and 12 percent said they’d stream a show while on a work break (check out the hilarious video Netflix made that shows a woman “watching ahead”). Five percent even confessed to sneaking shows in the bathroom. Ew. No surprise: 80 percent of those were men.
To hide their cheating or avoid fights with their partners, 32 percent would re-watch the show and say nothing, while 12 percent would re-watch and fake itwith emotion as if it were their first time (my people!).
TV cheating isn’t confined to Netflix, either. My coworkers and friends admit to cheating with shows saved on DVRs, downloaded from HBO on Demand and more. We all end up bickering with our husbands or boyfriends about it, beacuse experiencing certain shows together has become one of the ways we bond, and it feels like the ultimate a betrayal if one watches it without the other.
It’s an unexpected 21st century problem for couples to have -- and a first world one, for sure --but here we are. I mean, it’s not as bad as actually having-sex-with-another-person cheating, but it’s still lying, and that is almost always bad in a relationship. (Unless I ask if my butt looks big in these pants, and then the correct answer is always an emphatic “No!”)
Anyone who wants to join me as a founding member of Netflix Anonymous can find me at the coffee shop down the street. I’ll be the one trying not to look furtively at my iPad.
Ellen Sturm Niz is a freelance writer based in New York City.