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Cyber sex . . . does that really count as cheating?

Victoria Frank

Cyber sex . . . does that really count as cheating?

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With a name like Weiner, you may either grow up liking sausages or you may end up being one.  Anthony Weiner perhaps made himself look like the latter. He maintained that his Twitter-filled flirtations never became physical; and so felt it should be viewed as a non-action or as not unfaithful.
But would such behaviour – texting, tweeting, Face-booking, e-mailing – constitute virtual infidelity? Or is this type of manifestation crude, harsh reality which can wreck a marriage or serious relationship? Considering the scandal that followed Weiner, chances are one may say that it is, in fact, cheating to communicate in cyberspace any type of suggestive or intimate fantasies with someone other than one’s mate.
Some may say that casting a flirtatious glance, or making a passing suggestive remark is ‘harmless flirting’ and can even be fun. But what about going the extra inch and e-mailing nude pictures or photos of one’s private parts? Any reasonable person would say that that constitutes infidelity or at least, disrespectful behaviour on the part of one’s partner. 
But instead of pointing a finger, it may be important to examine the reason behind the behaviour. Are there feelings of inadequacy? Has the tweeting or texting partner become bored with the relationship? Or is there a serious mental problem, such as addiction to pornographic content, that has arisen over the past few months or years?
Is cyber sex or Internet porn the same thing as sneaking out to a strip club without your partner’s knowledge? I asked a group of male friends that the other day and the responses were very different. One guy maintains that if he has an addiction or makes it a habit, then it constitutes cheating. Another said either way, both actions were unfaithful.
Another was adamant that all men look at porn or masturbate; and therefore all men cheat. One man in his 50s said that all men do not cheat and reasoned that having a partner who can communicate, share experiences and with whom he was passionately in love had negated his urge for any such behaviour.
At the end of the day, it is easy to rationalise any type of behaviour, but can one justify it? If there is dishonesty or secrecy in any type of sexual indulgence, in its strictest sense, this can be deemed infidelity. It is up to both partners to share what they need and want and to listen carefully to the other’s needs.
One woman said: “Cheating is cheating regardless of the means or method”.  Suggestive texting or tweeting is almost equated to foreplay – the whisperings of ‘sweet nothings’ to the partner you have. Talk to your partner about it. Put yourself in each other’s shoes. You’ll see what cheating means to you both. That’s the most important thing of it all.

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