Is Chatting Cheating?

In this age of social media, texting and constantly being “plugged in” it makes it easy to keep in touch with those who are important to you. Unfortunately, it also creates new ways of infidelity, too. Technology allows for lots of new ways for people to flirt, send pictures, and keep in touch like never before. But not all online conversations are cheating. SO when does chatting online cross the line into cheating?

When Does Chatting Become Cheating?

Unfortunately, there’s no cut and dried answer about when chatting crosses over into cheating. There are many spouses who feel that simply looking up an old girlfriend online is cheating. And for others, it takes for there to be some kind of physical romance. The worst thing is that when a spouse feels they have been cheated on online they don’t know whether they have the right to feel betrayed since no sexual interaction has occurred. So a lot of times it’s never brought up and the relationship goes one in a fragile state. But online chatting can be dangerous to a relationship. It can even be cheating. So here are some clues to help you decide when the chatting has crossed over into cheating.

How do you know when chatting becomes cheating?

1) They prefer to chat with them instead of you. If you find that they are overly-distracted waiting for the next text message to arrive or that they come home and instantly check their Facebook page instead of talk with you, then one relationship is taking preference over another, and that’s a big sign  that the chatting has crossed the line into cheating.

2) There are no boundaries to the chatting. If the chatting is taking place at strange times like when you’re together at dinner, at a movie, or after you’re asleep, that’s a sign that the chatting has gone too far. No online chatting should disturb time you two are spending together.

3) They try to hide it. When someone tries to hide a conversation, it’s a big red flag that they feel something inappropriate is going on. Otherwise they wouldn’t be trying to hide it. You may be concerned about the chatting but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s crossed a line. However, if they are concerned about their behavior by trying to hide it that’s a big red flag.

4) You ask them to stop and they don’t. If it’s an innocent relationship, they won’t feel uncomfortable stopping it. They’re not emotionally invested in the person they’re chatting with so they don’t care if they continue talking with them or not. However, if they refuse to stop talking to them it does show a level of emotional investment and preference over you.

Even though there may be no physical relationship between people on-line, that doesn’t mean you still can’t create a romantic relationship with someone. That’s why internet dating sites are so popular. If you feel your spouse has ventured into a place where an online relationship has gone too far, it is possible for them to stop the relationship and re-invest in the one they have with you. Have a frank talk with each other about what’s going on and ask them to stop the chatting. Make a commitment to each other to repair the relationship. Identify what they can do to repair the damage they’ve done and ask them to do it. Also, they may have started chatting with someone because they had some unfulfilled need in the relationship. Be open when they tell you what you can do, too. Together, you can rebuild your relationship where you both only chat with each other – and have a lot of fun doing it!

aaron anderson marriage counselorAbout the Author

Aaron Anderson is a therapist and Director of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. He is a writer, speaker and relationship expert. He specializes in helping couples overcome stale relationships, sexual difficulties and infidelity. In his spare time (whatever that is) you’ll catch him restoring his hot rod or coaching his children’s soccer games.

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6 Responses to Is Chatting Cheating?

  1. Chatting is cheating if you feel like it is. If you're getting something from someone that you're not getting from your spouse, and you feel guilty about it, then it's tantamount to cheating, imho.

  2. It does bother me when someone I'm attached to chats with the opposite sex more and more.

    I think it's wrong for two people who are not in a relationship to share pictures with each other.

    Call me an extremist but I dont like to play with fire.

    For me I have clear black and white lines that never cross.

  3. I like your honest opinion, LA therapist. I would also add that you need to listen to your spouse, too. So many times people don't feel like they're doing anything wrong but their spouse does. But the person doesn't listen because they're clouded by the infatuation. People have to listen to their own guilt and also to their spouse.

  4. Francine, Glad you know your boundaries. Make sure your partner knows them, too. A lot of couples get in trouble because their partner doesn't know their boundaries until after they've crossed one.

  5. My husband talks to several females that he tells me are all "old friends," and I told him that two specific girls he talks to make me feel extremely uncomfortable. He has picture chatted with them and has hid the pictures. When he gets home from his 10 hour day of work, he prefers to text or message them instead of spending time with me. We have only about 2 or 3 hours together at home each day but he prefers to focus on his phone. I have discussed it with him and he gets extremely defensive.

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