The internet has made cheating a lot easier than it ever used to be. You can send naughty pictures and texts easily. But is sexting cheating?
Talking about cheating is a sensitive subject for pretty much everyone. Nobody wants to think about their partner being unfaithful. But sometimes this topic is unavoidable and we need to talk about things like virtual cheating. Is sexting cheating? What about emotional cheating? If they don’t follow through, should it still count?
Many people won’t want to hear the answer to these questions but they’re very important to understand in a relationship. In order to build boundaries, both partners need to understand where to draw the line.
How to handle a cheater
Some people will always cheat. They just can’t commit and, no matter how hard they might try, will end up being unfaithful to their partner. Those people should obviously never be in a relationship but knowing how to deal with one when you are with them is important to know.
The bottom line is that you’ll need to leave. Trust is broken when someone cheats. You’ll never be able to build it up to the place it once was and without trust, you’ll have many more issues. Therefore, the only way to handle a cheater is to say goodbye. [Read: What to do about that nagging cheating suspicion]
But is sexting cheating?
Now, what if the person didn’t actually physically cheat on you? What if they were just texting? Does it still count? While some may argue the right answer to this question, I think the truth is pretty clear.
Sexting is definitely cheating and here’s why.
#1 It’s betraying trust. If someone is doing something to betray your trust, clearly there’s an issue. And betraying your trust in the form of engaging in something inappropriate with someone else, is called cheating.
Sexting is even worse that emotionally cheating because it’s naughty. They’re being sexual with one another, even if it’s not physical. That type of behavior is clearly cheating, no matter if they were acting on those sexts or not. [Read: How to trust again in 8 simple steps]
#2 They’re emotionally involved. When a person is emotionally invested in someone else, it’s cheating. It might not seem like it, but it is. The difference between someone who might be crushing on another from afar and the person who’s actively seeking out their crush’s attention is that the latter usually leads to physical cheating.
You can’t have a partner who’s emotionally involved with someone else. And sexting is definitely something that has emotional involvement along with visual physical involvement.
#3 They’re being intimate with someone else. Just because someone isn’t being intimate in person doesn’t mean that intimacy doesn’t exist. Even showing someone else private parts of themselves over a phone screen is intimacy in a way that would betray their partner’s trust.
Someone who’s sexting is also describing, in intimate detail, what they’d do to the other if they engaged in sexual acts. That alone is considered cheating. Being intimate with someone besides your partner is not being faithful. [Read: 9 sure ways to find out if you’re dating a cheater]
#4 It’s usually done with intent to act upon it. Normally, if someone is sexting another person, it’s usually done before the physical stuff happens, or even after. Regardless, the person who’s sexting is clearly into the other and is even talking about doing stuff physically – not to mention sharing pictures of physical stuff.
Which means, while they might not be physically cheating, they’re kind of planning on it. This type of behavior is uncalled for and horrible for your relationship. And sexting will often lead to physical cheating.
#5 They’re keeping it from you. The fact of the matter is, if your partner is engaging in any way with someone else and feels the need to hide it from you, they’re cheating. If you can’t be open and honest with your partner about who you’re talking to, then you’re betraying them in some way. If sexting is the case, then it’s definitely cheating. [Read: 25 surprising secrets we keep from our partners]
#6 If they were being physical, it would be cheating. Just because they’re not actually doing anything with that person physically doesn’t mean it’s not cheating. They’re doing all the same stuff that a cheater would do in person, just over the phone.
When it’s the same like that, it’ll always be cheating. Imagine if you were in their shoes. Would you feel guilty enough to hide it forever? If so, you’d probably feel like you were cheating. Because you would be.
How to deal with a partner who’s sexting someone else
Not everyone will react the same way to their partner sexting someone else. Certain people will end things immediately while others might choose to talk it out first. Here’s what you can do.
#1 Confront them. Just ask them what’s going on. You clearly know or have a very strong idea that they’re sexting someone else and you deserve an answer. Ask them why they’re doing it and how long it’s been going on.
Get the details so you can fully understand what they’re truly doing. You may be misunderstanding a situation if you jump to conclusions. Sit them down and just talk about why it hurts you and why they feel the need to do it. [Read: 8 ways to confront a cheater who plays the victim card]
#2 Discuss their cheating. Talk about cheating. Is sexting cheating? That might be up to the two of you to decide. Even if you don’t want to call it cheating, it’s still a massive betrayal of trust. You need to talk that out and decide where the lines need to be drawn.
In some cases, you may need to talk about how far is acceptable to both of you. In pretty much all cases in a healthy relationship, sexting is uncalled for and unacceptable. But you and your partner need to decide that together.
#3 Decide if it’s forgivable or not. Personally, this type of behavior is never forgivable. Breaking trust that can’t be rebuilt is like a death sentence for relationships. However, depending on your relationship, it might be salvageable after discussing the matters with your partner.
#4 Get a support system. You’ll want close friends and family with you when dealing with this type of situation. Talk to them and tell them what happened. Have them give you advice and build you up if you’re feeling down.
After you’ve made a solid decision on how to proceed, you’ll want to tell them so they can be there for you because dealing with a cheater is an emotional process. [Read: 10 signs of someone who is truly supportive]
#5 Pack up and leave. Ultimately, it’s really hard to mend things with someone who’s cheated on you. Your best bet would just be to leave them. If they’re disrespecting you in such a horrible way, they’re probably not worth your time. Save yourself the added trouble late and leave them now.
So is sexting cheating? Yes. Yes, it is. Being intimate in that way with someone other than your partner is definitely cheating. There doesn’t need to be physical contact. If their emotions are in it, it’s cheating.
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Bella is a lifestyle writer, cheese enthusiast (Wisconsin native over here) and fantasy adventure author-in-progress who enjoys all things love, dog, p...