Cheating happens. For as long as there've been relationships, there've been people who violate the trust that comes with them. With the rise of sexting over the past decade or so, online affairs have since become the most common form of infidelity, with around 30% of adults admitting they've virtually-flirted with someone outside the boundaries of their committed relationship.
Infidelity isn't always a male-dominated arena, but according to recent data, cyber cheating is mostly employed by guys (unlike regular cheating, in which women take the top prize). If you have a sneaking suspicion that your husband may be playing away, at least in the form of sexting, here are the signs to look out for.
Before we look at the signs your husband might be cyber cheating, it's important to ask one overarching question: is an online affair the same as actual cheating? Opinions differ greatly on this topic, and there's no real 'true' answer. It's all comes down to your individual beliefs, as well as a few key factors that may have intially influenced your partner to begin a cyber affair.
The first factor is whether or not your partner had intentions to go further than text messaging. People cheat in a variety of ways for a variety of different reasons, but some people just want a little attention with no desire to actually progress things in real life. Some of them have no intention of taking thing further than a simple dirty text conversation.
The second is whether there was an emotional element involved. For some people, engaging in an online affair is no different than looking at pornography. Some people are able to separate sexual and emotional intimacy, which is why some online cheaters might not think their cyber affair is such a big deal. But again, every issue on this topic is subjective.
Want to know if he's really sexting somebody else? Look out for these subtle hints with your partner.
Check how and where he places his phone. If he puts on the table or the sofa arm, is it face up or face down? If it's face down, does he have notifications enabled on the front screen? If so, he might be trying to hide his cyber lover's name popping up for the world to see. As a general rule, most people put their phone face up out of habit. If he doesn't, there might be a reason.
Is he depressed and miserable one minute then suddenly alive an hour later? New relationships, even cyber ones, can cause severe fluctuations in mood. Cheating relationships are risky and volatile as they naturally introduce drama. This can greatly affect someone's day to day outlook, thus resulting in a seesaw of emotions.
Honest people leave their phones within reach of their partners. They might leave it on the kitchen table or the side of the sofa. If they have nothing to hide, you'll often see their phone left lying around the house. However, is your partner glued to his cell? Does he rush out of the room whenever his phone rings? If so, he might have a secret relationship on the go.
Is he constantly sending text messages but doesn't reveal who to? Does he get defensive when you inquire about his activities? If he deflects such questions or suddenly mentions one his buddies' names after a short pause, then it's a cause for concern. Likewise if he tilts his phone whenever you try and glance over his shoulder.
Believe it or not, most people know the passcode to their partner's phone. They also know their passwords to their social media accounts. Does your partner keep their login information a secret? If so, he might be hiding something. At an opportune time, ask him if he's willing to share his passcode in case of an emergency. His response might be quite revealing.
A cheater will do everything to erase evidence of their deceit. This includes deleting messages, pictures, videos and anything else that might autosave on a person's phone. If you happen to notice his WhatsApp logs or his picture roll are concerningly empty, then he might be destroying the trail.
You know your marriage. You know what it looks like, feels like. There's an instinct there, which is why your gut will tell you if something's wrong. It might sound like pseudoscience, but the majority of our communication takes place through non-verbal signals. We're in tune with our surroundings and feelings at all times, so be sure to listen to your instincts.
If your conversations are suffering, it might be a sign he's up to something. Even if it's just minimal conversing as you pass each other by, it's unlikely that your chats will go from detailed to basic overnight. If he's getting his fix of interesting or sexual conversation from another woman, yours will suffer.
Did he used to spend time at the gym, now spends too much time at his laptop? Has he suddenly started 'popping out' every night, maybe for a walk or a trip to the grocery store? If there's been a sudden change in his daily activities, he might be using these new moments away from you to get some quality flirting time in with his sexting partner.
It doesn't matter if you've been together 10 days or 10 years, it's hard to completely erase all signs of an extramarital relationship, even if it's purely sexting based. It could be regular buzzes of his phone or a thorough clearing of his Internet history. The signs aren't always obvious, but you'll definitely spot some if you pay attention.
Has he suddenly started spending his evenings alone in his office? Maybe he's constantly 'working'? He might give a thinly-veiled excuse like he's working on a 'project,' despite having never engaged in such things in his life. It's also a good idea to monitor his social media platforms for any signs. Look for A) new friends he's added and B) erasure of past posts.
Why might your partner resort to virtual cheating? Here are the most common reasons.
The current Internet age has made us all crave online attention. Social media platforms turn us into like-obsessed narcissists. Retweets and reblogs force us to want bigger numbers, more interaction. If your partner has fallen prey to online clout-chasing, this may be his motivation for virtual cheating. He might have taken his lust for attention a little too far.
A common reason for seeking out extramarital activity is to help cope with a major life event. Traumatic things such as losing jobs, medical issues, the death of a loved one, or any mental health flare-up can all prompt partners to look beyond the confines of their marital relationship to find a short-term cure for the pain.
It's one of the pitfalls of marriage. Spend enough time together and there's a worry you might get bored of your spouse. If this is happening, a perceived solution for many guys is to seek the excitement and atention that comes with an affair.
A healthy sex life is an important component for any relationship. When the sex begins to suffer, this can cause partners to look elsewhere to find the thrill they used to get from sex with you. Even if he's not sexually active with the person he's sexting, the symptoms will still appear in your sex life.
Your partner may be sabotaging your relationship at a subconscious level because he deems himself unworthy of your love. It's similar to self-destruction through drugs and alcohol. Insecurity can rear its head in strange ways, including purposely ruining the things you love and relationships with those closest to you.
Even if you've discovered your boyfriend or husband sexting another person, it doesn't mean your relationship has to come to an end. He could still be in love with you and simply suffered a momentary lapse of reason. Instead of immediately ending things, try these solutions.
To rebuild trust, you need to communicate. You can't start building trust if you both remain silent and distant in the wake of your trauma. If you shy away from the subject, the gap between you both will just grow until it becomes irrepairable. Make the effort to discuss things with him so you can both come to terms with it.
The sight of his phone might be enough to prompt those feelings of betrayal. If you forgive your partner for their cheating actions, you might want to consider hiding phones when you're in bed together. Furthermore, if you spend your evenings watching TV together in bed, consider putting your phones aside and focus on being together.
If you've discovered your partner having an online affair, you're going to experience symptoms of anger, disgust, betrayal. This is totally expected, so process these emotions as they come. However, it's important not to make accusations about your partner's actions. Listen to their explanation and work with what's right in front of you.
We're not saying that cyber cheating is acceptable by any means, but the truth about his behavior could be a grey area. He might have solid, legitimate reasons for talking to another woman. You don't have to accept them or forgive him immediately, but hearing his side of the story will help you go back to being husband and wife.
Couples therapy. More time together. More dates. Better communication. There are plenty of solutions available to help get over this little hurdle in yourrelationship. After you've processed his reasons, offer some applicable solutions that you can work through together.