Is Online Flirting Really Cheating?

When you find out that your husband has been flirting online, in chat rooms, through emails, or on social media sites, the feeling of betrayal can be overwhelming. How could he do this to you? You feel like your trust has been compromised and that you have been betrayed. Then again, he hasn’t slept with anyone or even kissed anyone else. You might start to ask yourself: is online cheating adultery?

Is Online Flirting Cheating?

The answer to this question, and it’s very natural to be asking it, is complicated. You will get different answers depending on who you ask. It also depends on the extent of the online flirting and how you feel about emotional infidelity as compared to sexual infidelity.

If you ask your best friend, she might tell you that he is a no-good cheater and that you should leave him. You ask your mother, and she is more generous or maybe old-fashioned. She says it can’t possibly be adultery if your husband isn’t meeting women in person.

You Decide When It’s Infidelity

The real answer is your answer. Do you think that your online cheating spouse has gone too far? Do you feel betrayed and hurt? Is it impossible to imagine doing the same to him without feeling completely guilty? If you answer yes to these questions, you can probably consider your spouse to be cheating with his online activities. Everyone will have different answers and different limits for what is considered cheating, whether that is online or not. You have to set your own boundaries, and then you need to confront your spouse and let him know what you think.

Are You Suspicious?

This is an important question. If your husband has been going onto social media and messaging old girlfriends, he may not think it’s a big deal. In his mind, he may be reconnecting with old friends. He thinks his actions are harmless and fun. Before you impulsively decide to leave him, have a talk and get on the same page. If he loves and respects you, your husband will take your concerns seriously, even if he disagrees with the boundaries you set.

Flirting online is tempting to do. You have anonymity in many situations, which allows people to let down their guard and say things they wouldn’t otherwise — sometimes, being online means a chance to connect with old friends and old flames. In these situations, flirting may just seem natural, and it very well may be harmless, as flirting in the real world often is. When you should be more concerned is when your spouse develops an emotional relationship with someone online. As soon as his flirting or connection to someone else makes you feel upset and uncomfortable, call it cheating or not, but it should stop.