When does Sexting become cheating?
It’s in the newspapers, you hear about it a lot, sexting as fun, but if it is your husband or wife doing it, well then, is sexting cheating? OK so you pick up your partners mobile one day and there is a message, something like “Hey Big Boy/Girl I want a piece of you!” You are in shock and you confront your partner who a) laughs it off and says it is a colleague from work messing about or b) goes bright red and says it was a stupid sexting site they signed up for and they haven’t met the person sending the text it was just a bit of fun. How do you react? Most of us might be highly suspicious and want to take it further, naturally we don’t want to believe our partner is cheating on us, but the words stick in our mind and we cannot sleep until we know the unequivocal truth, and we struggle with the thought “is sexting cheating?”
Is Sexting Cheating?
So, what if we discover that it is true, the person at the other end is some anonymous person paid to reply to texts with crude and sexy remarks, a sort of text version of soft porn, what do you do then? Is this stupidity cheating? It is more likely that this is a scenario where the person receiving the text is a man; that is not to say that women do not like some types of soft porn, I am not so naive or arrogant to say that there aren’t women out there who enjoy some smutty texting! However, the person sending the text could be a 75 year old granny from Alabama, the pictures on the website photo-shopped models and your husband is paying stupid dollar for the gratification of some texted thrills. Whilst you will no doubt want to have a conversation about why this kind of stuff gives him a thrill whilst producing profit for AT &T; it is going to be difficult to accuse him of cheating. Many men would answer NO to is sexting cheating in this case!
Co-worker texts, is sexting cheating in this case or an emotional affair?
On the other hand, the story about mates from work messing about may be true, or it may well be a co-worker, she just happens to be female and you discover a whole series of texts, including some hair-raisingly lurid ones penned by your husband. Is this sexting cheating? A torrid text affair is a type of emotional affair in that your partner is sharing intimate secrets with another person, secrets that you had no idea existed and ones they do not wish to share with you. It is an emotional betrayal and whether they have slept together or not, your partners’ behavior has put your marriage/relationship at risk.
The first problem may well be that your partner lies about the texts and it is hard to spot the lie, although your gut instincts are telling you something is wrong. Can you figure out if he is lying? How to spot a lie!
Sexting is not confined to words; all too often the exchange contains photos too, as in the case of Congressman Weiner whose locker room pictures got him into hot water. At this stage, the general public, if asked, might well say that the exchange of compromising semi-nude or nude photos is definitely cheating, as it implies intent. The intent is to flirt, outrageously close to actual physical contact without actually following through. The issue here would be whether the wronged spouse, felt that the “sexter” intended to have actual physical intimacy with the recipient of the texts?
Sexting is Betrayal
The argument from those caught sexting is almost always that they had no physical contact but they seem to have missed the concept of betrayal. If someone, in a serious and permanent relationship, communicates sexually with another person, outside of that relationship, they have betrayed trust. It is almost irrelevant that they have not physically consummated the betrayal, although it is likely that given time they will. When sexting involves a person that is known, that is physically available, it is almost inevitable that a physical infidelity will eventually take place. Part of the argument against sexting as cheating is often that the betrayer is discovered before physical intimacy takes place and so the sexter can, justifiably, claim that it is not a “real” affair. On the other hand, there are some sexting participants who never meet, and are only interested in the fantasy element of the texts and pictures, without wanting to go further. This is more often the case where one of the parties is a professional in the sex industry whose sole purpose is remote gratification, and where money is exchanging hands.
Whether you personally believe that sexting is a bit of fun or a pre-cursor to a full blown physical infidelity, there is no doubt that it causes untold damage to relationships. Certainly there are parents who are advising their teenage daughters in particular of the dangers of sexting becoming an uncontrollable physical situation. In some states there are laws being passed to protect the vulnerable from the potential dangers of sexting.
If you have a story of sexting, either for, as a harmless pastime, or against, as a dangerous form of infidelity, we would love to hear from you. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts on this question– Is sexting cheating?