Thursday March 23, 2017

Is Sexting With Someone Else Considered Cheating or Harmless?

The 21st-century's technology has not made the subject of modern-day relationships any easier to decipher. Not so long ago before the age of Facebook, Twitter, and Whatsapp, relationships were only made and broken in clubs, churches, parties or any other social gatherings. Enter the social media era, where smartphones have taken the centerfold of who we go out with, who we date and even who we sleep with. It's now easy to meet your spouse, fiancee or lover via any of the popular adult dating sites. So, taking all these factors into consideration, what would be your reaction if you one day snooped around girlfriend's phone, only to catch a glimpse of a juicy Snapchat convo?

Middle aged man sexting from couch

Ok, reactions aside. It’s only human to be jealous, especially if you have invested a lot in the relationship. But should sexting be ruled out explicitly as cheating? Would you ask for a divorce if you found out that your long-term hubby has been exchanging some not-so-decent pics with other girls under your nose?

Relationships gurus also seem to be equally divided by this touchy subject. According to Sarah McCourtney, a leading relationship therapist in New York, sexting or exchanging flirtatious SMSs is not exactly cheating but is the first step that finally leads to the colosseum of outright unfaithfulness. It represents a breach of the trust and confidentiality that should only be reserved to the other (sic) significant party. By sexting other people, the person undermines the authority and sacrifice that their spouse has put in the union. The same can be said about a man or a woman who seeks entertainment by having phone sex with a stranger on an late night party line or registers to an affair dating website such as AshleyMadison.com or VictoriaMilan.com.

To some extent, this could be true. No sane person would go on flirting with other people other than their lovers, if they don’t like them in one way or another. It may be out of boredom and sexual frustration or it could be just the thrill of exploring new flesh, whichever way you choose to justify it, it usually carries a hue of infidelity. The most heart-breaking thing about sexting is that it sells itself as being disrespectful enough that the unfaithful party could do it under their spouse’s keen eye. Which means that you could be discussing a ‘serious’ subject with your girl like how to save money to buy a new coffee table, but at the same time they are busy sexting the hot guy that they always ogle at in the office.

Anyone who has ever been cheated on is familiar with the bitter taste that accompanies the realization of unfaithfulness. But what they don’t know is that the biting or scathing reality is not about the sexual act in itself. It is not even about the broken promises or vows. It is about the intrusion of private intimacy that the once pristine relationship had enjoyed. To some persons, especially if they are deeply religious or uphold high standards of morality, sexting pokes the same holes in a union as adultery does. Most often than not, the suspicions are usually confirmed when the sexting escalates to full blown fornication.

On that note, sexting can be synonymous to cheating, especially if the couple has shared so much between them. We’re talking about a married man with a litter of kids who goes advancing sexual innuendos to nubile girls half his age. Given his age and marital status, that could easily pass for cheating. Or is it not?

On the other hand, Kurt Smith, a leading family therapist seems to disagree, and I quote “Sexting is not cheating as we live in a very digitized world. What you could term as an adulterous conversation could easily be an innocent exchange to me!” This could true given that some folks might be so insecure that they could mistake a friendly chat for something more than that. This also implies that sexting could take various forms and there’s no exactly a way of classifying what harmless and what isn’t. Therefore, according to him, whether it involves exchanging something as minor as saucy emojis or stuff higher on the X-rating such as nudes, sexting should not be mentioned in the same breath as cheating.

His argument could be valid considering that cheating can only occur if there’s some kind of physical commitment between the two parties. Which, of course, is simply a consequence of people’s affinity for double standards. For example, if you’re a woman and you had vowed to never sleep with a man until after your matrimonial union, why would you be offended if your husband is only into suggestive Whatsapp chats and nothing more? I mean, he is not sleeping with the other women or anything! As far as your earlier definition of infidelity goes, physical sex has to be in play for it to qualify as a breach of your commitment.

As a guy, why should you crucify your long-term girl for getting a little cozy in her texts with another man, yet you are taking ages to propose to her? Didn’t you know that if you were to man up and claim your territory as the Alpha male in her life she would even give the other men a second thought?

What I’m trying to drive home is that sexting is still subject to double standards as is all other controversial issues. Before you rush to judge the other party for wandering off your conversation thread, you first should take a second to probe the reasons behind the loss of interest. Chances are, you could be the one pushing them away. Instead of seeing sexting as downright adultery, learn to recognize it as a crack in your relationship that can only be mended if your act fast and right

Personally, I wouldn’t feel guilty sexting with other girls as long the e-flirting does not lead to indiscriminate shagging. What I mean is that sexting is simply a 21st-century way of keeping yourself relevant in the game. And yes, relationships go south and as a human being I would want to be left in the cold if one day my spouse woke up and decided that we are no more. It would be easier for one to bounce back in the dating arena if they had an ongoing steamy Whatsapp thread tucked away in their phone.

So is sexting cheating? Only you and your spouse can truly answer that.

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