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The Globe and Mail

Does ‘Netflix adultery’ count as cheating?

The definition of cheating can be a hot topic – is it kissing another woman? Is it flirting with a colleague? Or, as Netflix will have you believe, is it watching a television show without your partner's knowledge?

In a rather clever new campaign, the Intenet-based television and movie service said that "Netflix adultery" affects half of relationships, based on a study of 2,000 American couples.

In conjunction with the study is a YouTube clip with a couple watching an action-packed show, and the female clearly faking her responses: "Oh wow, I cannot believe that happened," she says unconvincingly.

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It isn't long before the guy calls her out: "You watched ahead," confronting her about the illicit affair.

She eventually confesses to watching without him – on the subway, at work, and in bed. "Season TWO?!" he exclaims, baffled.

Sure, it's all a carefully planned PR stunt – to promote the service, conveniently a week before the long-awaited new season of Arrested Development comes straight to Netflix (which, I admit, I've been blue-ing myself about for weeks.)

The underlining philosophy that watching shows and movies is a shared experience, a sacred bond with a special someone, is pretty effective.

And I confess, I've been both the cheater and the cheated – and it stings when you're the victim. I recently discovered my best friend, with whom I shared a Game of Thrones bond, albeit not on Netflix, has been cheating: I caught him in the act, and can never watch that show again.

The campaign has already gained success online: the YouTube comments are mostly sympathetic: usuallydead writes "this why I always watch alone. Introverts unite! … by staying away from each other." Brian Tate says "My wife does this to me all the time. I need a support group…, and LiveLongshot simply confesses: "Guilty :(" With addictive shows such as Homeland and House of Cards – that leave you with that just one more episode feeling – it's hard to blame the cheaters.

Have you been a victim or culprit of Netflix adultery?

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