With the accessibility to so many people with a touch of a fingertip online and around us it’s easy to cross that fine line between friendship and cheating. But, if there’s no sex involved, is it cheating? I’ve been asked to define cheating before and spoke quite clearly that cheating can be emotional and not only physical. One of my readers partner’s seems to be on the verge of crossing that fine line … or have they already?
Dear Single Dating Diva,
I am in a committed generally happy relationship with a great woman. We enjoy each other’s company and have a lot in common. I have to say I am quite satisfied with her and I think she is with me. Lately I’ve noticed that she’s a bit more distant. She is online much more often. She says she’s playing games and chatting with people. But, it’s getting in the way of our alone time. I have noticed she spends most of her time chatting to one person in particular. I have also noticed that this person also sends her messages on her telephone (I’ve seen his name pop up). I don’t think she’s met this person so I don’t think she has had sex, but, I am wondering if I should be concerned and if I should consider this cheating. Single Dating Diva, is chatting cheating?
A Little Worried
Is Chatting Cheating?
Dear A Little Worried,
Thank you for your message and your question. I can definitely see why you’re worried and understand your confusion as well as your frustration. Your question is a good one, but also hard to answer. It really depends on certain factors, namely, is she hiding anything or is it out in the open? Also, are they just having casual conversations or is there cybersex involved? How much are you aware of and how much is secret? Is it affecting your intimate relationship with her? Let’s break it down a little bit.
She doesn’t seem to be hiding the fact that she’s chatting with this person from you. That’s a good sign, usually people who are keeping secrets have something to hide. Regardless, it seems to be bothering you more than it used to because it seems that it’s becoming more intense between them and more personal. My main advice to you is to talk to her about it. If your relationship is as good as you say it is then you should be able to talk about concerns you are having. Approach it calmly and maturely, not accusatory in any way. Just mention that you’ve noticed that she spends a lot of time talking to this person and that it makes you uncomfortable. Also mention that you’d like to spend more quality time with her. Don’t just say it, do it. Plan it. Keep her schedule busy and remind her why she fell in love with you in the first place. It may very well be that things aren’t as rosy as you thought and she isn’t happy. The only way to find out is to communicate … to talk about it.
Relationships take effort to maintain. You need to work at it and keep it fresh. It has to be ongoing. It’s at those times that things get too comfortable that people look for entertainment elsewhere. It could be completely innocent, but often times completely innocent conversations turn into something more.
Is Chatting Cheating?
Chatting could very well turn into cheating. How? Well, with frequency and time. People show the image of themselves they want to show online. They show their “best” sides, tell you what you want to hear and be the person THEY always wanted to be online. They create an ideal world for themselves where they are attractive, funny, witty and desirable. They will say and do what they have to in order to make the other person like them. It is easy to create a fantasy world in which the other person is who you’ve always wanted, your soul mate even. But, for all you know they may be a serial rapist. When a person is put into a situation where they are bored in their current relationship (even if they are generally happy), they might get caught up in an online romance without even knowing it. Things can get heated and emotional very quickly. That is why people need to know what their boundaries are.
The problems online relationships cause are the following:
- you alienate your offline relationship
- you invest a lot of personal and emotional resources into them
- you often times want to make your fantasy online relationship a reality
- you let your guard down because it’s easier to be intimate and open with someone in cyberspace
- you start blurring the lines between fantasy and reality
- you start keeping secrets from your partner
So is chatting cheating? Yes, it definitely can be. So be careful how you interact with others and know your boundaries. There is nothing wrong with meeting people and speaking with them online. There IS something wrong with making that person your priority when you are already with someone else. It’s easy to get caught up in a fantasy, but don’t forget your reality.
Your Sister in Dating Bliss,
Single Dating Diva
Copyright Single Dating Diva
Openness and honesty are usually a good indication that someone isn’t cheating. I think the whole online buddy thing, can be a little alienating for an offline partner. When you’re in a relationship, you need to consider the feelings of your partner. I would feel a little concerned if, I was in his position.
Thanks Amelia! You’re right, there is a fine line when it comes to online vs offline … you need to be considerate of your offline REAL partner when engaging in online chatting.
Cheating to me is anything that would make your significant other uncomfortable.
Thanks for the comment! Definitely! If it makes your partner uncomfortable then most likely you’re doing something you shouldn’t.
I would consider it as cheating. Anything involving someone else that cuts into the pleasure of a couple (without permission) can be deemed as cheating, in my opinion. I would especially be uncomfortable if someone’s online conversation transformed into phone texting conversations. That’s a little more personal, if you ask me.
Thanks Q! I would have to agree that texting takes it to a whole new level. It makes it more real and personal, as you said.
i think online people can develop emotional relationships….those are stronger than physically cheating and usually a lot messier. alwasy remember that what you do online or offline affects those around you whether you want to or not.
yes I completely agree Ramon, our actions not only affect us but also those around us
I would have some doubts and not be comfortable if my partner were behaving like his. However, that being said, I do not believe she is cheating…YET!
Your advice is dead on and I only hope he follows it! Or, no matter how loose your definition of cheating, she will be soon!
I completely agree DIP that she’s crossing that fine line and it’s only a matter of time if nothing is done.
It’s a dangerous line… as a counsellor I’ve worked with people who have had emotional affairs and who’s partners have had emotional affairs and they often start with some extra “chatting” – the impact can be devastating. Important topic to discuss:)
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