Is Technology Flirting the Same As Cheating?

Brittny Drye

computer on bedIn the virtual world of Facebook, chat rooms, and instant messengers, you have the ability to leave poopy diapers, moody husbands, and your messy living room behind. And, especially for couples with a young child, that can sound pretty darn tempting.

Tempting to touch base with that old high school boyfriend; tempting to meander into that chat room filled with people who are just looking for the same escape.

Tempting to, whether you realize it or not, emotionally cheat.

This happened to a friend of mine. He came across some emails between his live-in girlfriend and her ex, and they weren't exactly just "friendly" exchanges. They were trips down memory lane, reminiscing of their former relationship. And my friend noticed how, as their interactions increased, even though her ex lived across the country, the emotional bond that he shared with her decreased. She was turned off from him, rarely said, "I love you," and put less and less effort into the relationship.

People often flirt online for the same reasons they have a physical affair: They want to feel sexy, they want proof that they "still got it." If you need confirmation of how hot you are, for goodness sakes, strap on some stilettos and walk by a construction site. Don't turn to something that could spiral into cheating oblivion.

But a lot of people don't consider technology flirting as cheating because there is no physical connection -- no kissing, no touching, no sexing it up. But relationships are so much more than sex and my question is, how is it not cheating when your online friend is getting all of your positive personality while the wife or husband gets the shafted side filled with your nagging and bitterness? It's not healthy for anyone. I suppose it boils down to the age-old question, should emotional cheating be considered cheating, and that depends on the couple and their specific boundaries.

I'm not saying that anything is wrong with some innocently sporadic, witty banter ... but when it gets to the point of someone else other than your significant other being the first person you text in the morning and the last person you message at night, then you have a problem.

What is your opinion on this? Should technology flirting be considered cheating?


Image via Johan Larsson/Flickr

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