Is Sexting Cheating?
The sad, slightly ridiculous case of former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY) almost perfectly highlights the issues of sexting with people to whom you are not married. He left the U.S. House of Representatives in 2011 after being caught up in a sexting scandal. Eventually, Weiner was forced to admit that he had sent the explicit tweets.
Sexting and Sexual Affairs
No matter how strenuously Weiner denies cheating on his wife, the fact remains that he did send explicit photos of his genitals to women he was not married to. According to Dr. Jamie Turndorf, virtual flings are just as serious as physical flings because the virtual flirtation can become a physical affair. In looking at the question, “Is sexting cheating,” the partner unaware that their spouse is conducting an emotional affair is being cheated on. The cheater is aware that they are stepping outside the boundaries of their marriage and cheating on their spouse, even if only emotionally or virtually.
Relationship Issues and Emotional Affairs
Why does this happen? Spouses drift apart. Over time, one partner becomes dissatisfied with the state of their marriage and finds a partner willing to participate in some form of an affair. The other spouse is just as aware that something is wrong but, to protect themselves, refuses to act on that instinctive knowledge.
Weiner strayed twice, showing that he wasn’t serious about addressing the causes of his first known instance of sexting behavior. This may be more of an indicator of his true character than the state of his marriage – Abedin has likely been reassessing the state of her relationship and marriage to her husband.
Effect of Sexting on Marriage Relationship
In couples where sexting is an issue, the offended spouse may suspect their spouse has already strayed, according to the Huffington Post. They may witness incidents that tell them their instincts are right. Perhaps, during a social occasion, the offended spouse catches the straying spouse interacting too intimately with someone else.
It’s interesting to see that the straying spouse doesn’t believe they have cheated because they haven’t physically had sex with the other person. As these couples confront their relationship in therapy, they may be asked to answer this question: “Is sexting cheating?” The straying spouse may simply stray because, they are thinking, i love sexting as they pursue their behavior. This behavior is forbidden within the marriage – therefore, it’s fun and tempting. Men may believe that, as long as their spouses don’t find out, they aren’t actually hurting them.
U.S. Statistics on Sexting and Infidelity
The Huffington Post referred to a Pew Research Center poll, conducted in 2013. In this poll, 9 percent of men and women who own a cellphone have sexted someone else. Twenty percent of men and women who own a cellphone admit to having received a sext message. Younger couples in committed relationships are more likely to engage in sexting while couples older than 25 are less likely to do so – 44 percent for younger couples, compared to 22 percent for older couples.
Why Adults Sext
Looking again at the question, “Is sexting cheating,” women sext because they are not getting something from their husbands – they need confirmation that they are sexually attractive. They want to know that they are interesting to someone, even if that man isn’t their spouse.
Men sext so they can have a ready supply of material to use as they masturbate. These men don’t even plan to physically cheat on their wives. Other men do sext with the ultimate goal of progressing to a physical affair.
Online Sexting and Infidelity
Sexting can be called by another name: cyber infidelity. Those involved in a sexting relationship break the boundaries of their marital relationships by engaging in a virtual sexual relationship with another man or woman, according to Anik Ferron, a psychotherapist practicing in Quebec, Canada. Because something is missing in the couple’s emotional relationship, one spouse may decide to fill that void with a virtual relationship with another person.
Still, Canadian couples are more likely to engage in face-to-face emotional or physical affairs than they are to engage in sexting. Couples engage in in-person emotional affairs about 55 percent of the time, while they do so over the Internet 33 percent of the time. In full sexual affairs, only 17 percent of these exchanges were conducted via the Internet while over 34 percent were actual physical sexual contact.
Sexting, Cheating and Online Behavior
Whether sexting can be defined as cheating is still an open question in some minds. In others, it’s clear that sexting is cheating. Who engages in cyber infidelity?
º Risk-takers. Men and women who aren’t afraid to step outside the bounds of their marriages to experience something new and exciting.
º Power and entitlement. People in high-profile positions may come to feel that, because they are in positions of power, they can do what they want, even if it means they hurt someone else. They may also develop a sense of invincibility, believing that, despite what others may think, they won’t get caught or they will be protected, according to Everyday Health.
º Powerful individuals, well-known people – or politicians – may feel they are immune to the consequences of their actions.
It isn’t only the rich and famous who sext. Everyday couples do as well – and the evidence is being used more and more as proof in divorce cases.
Indicators of Cheating Online
If you are beginning to wonder whether your spouse is involved in a secret cyber relationship, you need to know what the signs are:
º Spends several hours on the computer rather than relaxing with you.
º Carefully safeguards passwords to email, cellphone and social media accounts. If they didn’t bother with passwords before but they do now, pay attention.
º Responds immediately to cellphone text messages.
º Secret email or social media account that didn’t exist before.
º Cellphone bill costs more because of increased text messaging.
º Your spouse’s manner has suddenly changed toward you – they are either dismissive or rude to you. If they were rude before, they are much more considerate now.
How Sexting Can Hurt a Marriage
Sexting isn’t an innocent or harmless activity. It hurts the spouses of those taking part in the activity:
º Taking part in intimate behaviors with someone else undermines your marriage.
º Sexting online is a behavior that is hidden from the unknowing spouse.
º Sexting and flirting are the same thing, which makes the innocent spouse feel hurt.
º The sexting partner endangers the trust their spouse has put in them.
º Sexting – any form of infidelity – makes the innocent spouse feel bad about themselves and their ability to make the sexting partner happy, writes Project Happily Ever After.
Is Sexting Harmless?
Is sexting cheating? Yes, it is. The innocent spouse begins to wonder why they can’t make their spouse happy. Communication begins to suffer. The spouse’s self-confidence takes a nosedive. They may become depressed.
This means sexting isn’t a harmless, innocent pastime. The sexting partner is putting their time, effort and emotions into a relationship with someone who is not their spouse. Over time, the feelings and activity may become addictive, writes DNA India. Eventually, the emotional investment in the sexting relationship draws time, energy and attention away from the spouse. Most of all, sexting may be a precursor to actual physical infidelity.
Sexting Can Predict Future Infidelity
“But it’s only sending pictures! I’m not cheating!” Men and women who have discovered their spouses are sexting someone else may hear this response. They know, in their guts, that they feel cheated on.
According to the Ars Technica website, these men and women aren’t wrong, because one predictor of future physical infidelity is sexting and cybersex.
Sexting and Revenge Porn
Couples who take part in sexting and sending explicit photos to each other may eventually break up. If one of the parties didn’t want the breakup, they could become angry enough to take a step that is clearly illegal – posting the photos on the Internet and making them readily available to anyone who can find them. This is known as “revenge porn,” and in 2014, this became a criminal act, according to the National Post.
The new law is intended for people who widely publish intimate images for the purpose of retaliation. It is also intended to prosecute those who send intimate photos from one cellphone to another. The Crown Prosecution Service is taking action to deter those who would humiliate former sex or romantic partners.