When does an innocent text turn into cheating? We ask the experts…

11th April 2022

When does an innocent text turn into cheating? We ask the experts…

Is texting cheating in a relationship? In ‘real-life', most couples have clear boundaries about what is and what isn't considered cheating. When it comes to texting, WhatsApping and DM-ing on social media, however, the boundaries may not be so defined.

If you suspect that your partner is seeing someone else, you'll probably be looking out for the tell-tale signs of cheating. While these have traditionally been unexplained absences and excuses like going to the gym all the time or needing to ‘work late', it's now harder to identify the signs that the person you're with is getting involved with someone else.

As with everything else to do with relationships, it all depends on your own boundaries as a couple. But if you've never had that conversation, this is what the experts have to say about crossing the line online...

Is texting cheating in a relationship?

“Context is everything when it comes to texting,” Jessica Leoni, sex and relationship expert for the extra-marital dating site IllicitEncounters, says. “Are you texting flirtatious messages because you're a natural flirt and enjoy having banter with friends of the opposite sex? If so, carry on texting and flirting. Life is too short and this really is a bit of harmless fun. Your partner probably won't enjoy reading your messages. But they know you're a flirt and they also know that you have strict rules and won't cross the line.”

Emma Davey, relationship expert and founder of MyTraumaTherapy, says that as well as context, whether you're having to lie to your partner or the other person will be the decider on whether or not you're cheating. “If you are in a relationship with someone else and you're having to lie to someone to say that you're not in a relationship, you're hiding your phone, or turning your notifications off, you're doing that intentionally and you're lying to the person you're with.

“If you can't be honest about the person you're talking to, then you are technically lying to your partner and you're doing it for a reason. If you can't be honest, it's because you know you're doing something wrong.”

But as well as sending messages back and forth, whether that be texting, WhatsApping or DM-ing on Instagram, social media in general is a “hotbed for affairs”. As Jessica says, “At IllicitEncounters, 15% of our male members and 13% of our female members have slept with an old friend who Downey escort they have re-engaged with via social media – particularly Facebook. That boy that you snogged at the school disco 20 year ago – well, he is divorced now, he has aged well and, like you, he is very keen to take things further now that you're both grown up.”

When does texting cross the line and become cheating?

Despite the blurry boundaries of online messaging, Jessica says, “there is a very simple rule when a flirty text crosses the line into texting cheating”. This is when “the flirt is clearly intimating that they want to take things further, such as meeting, swapping sexy pictures, masturbating to mutual dirty talk (lots of people do this, believe me), by phone, FaceTime or Skype. The basic rule is: flirt by all means, but don't take action.” This is when texting crosses the line and become cheating.

There are a couple of other habits that could mean your partner is cheating on you or you're crossing the line. One of them to do with texting is the time that messages are sent. “Usually, the later the texts, the more sinister the intent,” Jessica says. “All the late night banter is probably the prelude to a booty call.”