Sexting. Now there’s a heated word. If you don’t know what that means, it is the act of sending sexually-explicit word or photo-based messages through an app, such as Facetime, iMessenger or Whatsapp, on your smartphone.
Millennials are quite the sexting generation.
Most older people learned about the existence of sexting when the Anthony Weiner scandal broke back in 2011 when the public learned that this married Congressman had sexted with several women not his wife.
Let’s examine sexting in several of its contexts.
First, is sexting really cheating if you are married?
Is sexting cheating if you are married?
Depending on who you talk to you will get a variety of responses to this question. On one side, the defenders who will tell you that as long as you don’t go any further than some “harmless” sexts, it does not fall into the cheating category.
This reminds us of Former President Clinton’s now-infamous quote about his liaison with then-intern Monica Lewinsky: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” Right. He did not have penetrative intercourse with her, sure, but the world at large did and still considers what he did cheating.
And so it is with most people when asked the question.
Is sexting cheating on spouse?
Sexting is cheating if you sext with someone who is neither your spouse nor your significant other.
You are in a relationship. You sext with someone other than your partner, but you don’t ever meet up with them.
Why is sexting cheating if you are in a relationship?
- It makes you feel desire for another person other than your spouse or significant other
- It provokes sexual fantasies about another person other than your spouse or significant other
- It takes your thoughts away from your primary relationship
- It can cause you to compare your real relationship to the fantasy one, provoking resentment towards your primary partner
- It can cause you to become emotionally attached to the person you are sexting with
- Having this secret sexting life can build a barrier between you and your spouse, which damages intimacy and trust
- You are directing sexual attention to someone who isn’t your spouse, and that is inappropriate in a married couple
- Even if you start out sexting “just for fun” with no intention of follow-through, sexting can often lead to actual sexual encounters. And that is definitely cheating.
Does sexting lead to cheating?
This depends on the individual. Some sexters are content with the illicit thrill they get from a sexting relationship and do not need to take it from the virtual to the real world.
But more often, the temptation to follow the sexting with real life encounters is just too great, and sexters become compelled to meet up in real life to enact the very scenarios they have been describing in their sexts.
In the majority of cases, continual sexting leads to cheating, even if things don’t start out with that intention.
What to do if you find your husband sexting?
You’ve caught your husband in the act of sexting another woman, or you inadvertently read his messages and see sexts. This is a horrible situation to experience. You are shocked, upset, disturbed and outraged.
Best way to handle it when you find out your husband is sexting?
It is important to have a full and frank discussion.
Why did this happen? How far has it gone? You have the right to his full disclosure, no matter how uncomfortable this makes him feel. This conversation might be best had under the expert guidance of a marriage counsellor.
A marriage counsellor can help you through this incredibly difficult moment and help you both seek the sort of resolution that would be best for your relationship.
Topics you might explore in therapy include:
- Why the sexting?
- Should you leave him?
- Does he want to end his relationship with you, and is he using sexting as a catalyst for that?
- Is the situation reparable?
- Was this a one-time indiscretion or has it been going on for a while?
- What is your husband getting out of the sexting experience?
- How can trust be rebuilt?
Can you forgive someone for sexting? The answer to this question depends on your personality, and the exact nature of the sexting.
If your husband tells you (and you believe him) that the sexts were just innocent play, a way to add a little excitement into his life, that he never went further and doesn’t even know the woman he was sexting with, that is different from a situation where there was a real emotional and perhaps sexual connection to the sextee.
If you feel that you can indeed forgive your husband for sexting, you may wish to use this experience as a springboard for a serious discussion about ways you both can contribute to keeping the excitement in your marriage alive and well. When a partner is happy at home and in bed, their temptation to sext with someone outside of the marriage will be lessened or non-existent.
What about married sexting?
Only 6% of couples in long-term (over 10 years) marriage sext.
But those who do sext report a higher level of satisfaction with their sex life.
Is sexting bad? They say that sexting with their spouse promotes a feeling of sexual connection and actually helps to heighten their mutual desire. In the case of married couples, sexting is definitely not cheating, and can be beneficial to the couple’s romantic life. Try it and see what happens!
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.