Is texting another guy considered cheating? That question can receive a dozen different answers, depending on whom you ask. Ultimately, a lot has to do with what your current relationship boundaries are. Additionally, there’s understanding why you’re texting this other dude.
Is Texting Another Guy Cheating When You’re in a Relationship?
For many people, that depends on where you are in the relationship. Furthermore, it depends on what kind of relationship you have.
Let’s say you’ve just started dating someone: maybe you two have only been together for a couple of months. You might call each other “boyfriend and girlfriend”, but you’re really still getting to know one another. For many people, when they’re testing the waters with someone like this, texting other people is still considered okay.
In their eyes, it’s kind of like a trial period. We don’t truly get to know another person until we’ve been involved with them for quite a while. Some people are hesitant to commit to someone until they know they really get along. As a result, during this test run period, they’re still texting other people.
Why Text Other Guys During This “Trial Period”?
People tend to be on their best behavior during the first three months of dating. During this “honeymoon” phase, they’ll be really attentive and loving, and will keep things like their temper and bad habits in check.
Knowing this, many women will keep texting other guys they might be interested in, as a sort of fall-back plan. That way, if things don’t work out with the current person, they’ll have others in the periphery to choose from.
There are good and bad aspects to this. If you’re texting another guy as you’re getting to know your current partner, you might not be truly invested in the relationship you’re building. Ask yourself whether you’re truly interested in your boyfriend, or if you’re just with him until someone better comes along. Alternatively, if you’re happy with your guy but still texting others, are you seeking external validation about your self worth? Be aware of your motivations.
What About Texting Other Guys When You’re in a Long-Term Relationship?
Again, this all comes down to your motivations, as well as the subject matter.
If you’re texting guy friends innocently, because you care about them and want to stay in touch, then no. That’s not cheating: it’s merely talking to friends.
In contrast, if you’re flirting with other guys, sending them pics, etc. you have to ask yourself why. You should also ask yourself the following questions:
- Would your current boyfriend be upset if he read the subject matter in these texts?
- Is the stuff you’re texting potentially embarrassing to you if other people read/saw it?
- How would you feel if your boyfriend was sending these types of texts to other women?
If any of those questions made you flinch or feel upset, then that’s a pretty clear indication that you’re edging into cheating land.
That said, a great deal also depends on the type of relationship you have. If you and your partner have discussed your relationship boundaries, and decided that you’re in a committed, monogamous relationship, then you’ve probably also discussed what constitutes cheating. Same goes for an open/polyamorous relationship.
What are the boundaries that you two set? Have you established that the two of you can flirt lightheartedly with others? Do you only consider “cheating” to be if you actually have sex with someone else?
Revisit your relationship rules to figure out where both of you stand on the definition of “cheating”, and go from there.
What is Emotional Texting?
Some people also refer to this as an “emotional affair”. In simplest terms, it’s when you develop an emotional connection with someone other than your partner. When this happens, you begin to exchange deep, caring texts with one another.
You may even develop strong feelings for this other person. Sometimes, those feelings can be just as strong as the ones you have with your partner. In situations where someone has felt emotionally and physically neglected by their partner or spouse, this kind of emotional connection might be filling an emptiness they’ve been experiencing for some time.
As you may imagine, many people find this to be a kind of cheating. Although there’s no physical intimacy involved, partners can feel immensely hurt and betrayed when they find out that their loved one has developed a close kinship with another person… and they didn’t know about it.
Why does Emotional Texting Happen?
As mentioned, some people cultivate texting relationships with others when they aren’t particularly happy with their intimate life. If their partner isn’t paying enough attention to them, or if they’re feeling bored with their current situation, they might get giddy little dopamine thrills every time they get a message from someone new.
This often happens with really attractive people who are used to serial monogamy. When and if they do “settle down”, they may discover that they feel unfulfilled and unwanted once the initial bliss has faded.
For them, a text-based flirtation feels safe and easy. After all, it’s just words on a screen, right? They can delete those any time, and even ghost the other person if things get too intense. Furthermore, people with cluster B personality disorders—such as Narcissistic or Borderline Personality Disorder—require a great deal of external validation. They pursue escapism, and may cultivate online or texting relationships with other people to get their self-worth “fix”.
Emotional Texting Examples
You may be spending a lot of time texting this other guy because you feel that he understands you better than your boyfriend does. Maybe he’s into the same things that you are, while your partner is the complete opposite. Similarly, this other guy might be really excited to talk to you, compared to the partner who’s already complacent about having you around.
Here are a few examples of what may be considered emotional texting, or signs of an emotional affair:
- Telling this other guy things that you aren’t sharing with your partner
- Complaining to other guy about your relationship issues
- Talking about this other person a lot
- Sharing great news with other dude before telling your boyfriend
- Letting him know that you miss him and are happy every time he texts you
- Breaking plans with your partner to talk to this other guy
- Over-sharing, especially details about your relationship
- Sending sexy photos
- Talking about sexual fantasies, experiences, etc.
Do any of those ring bells? Furthermore, do you delete your chats after exchanging them just in case your partner sees them? Or do you hide the phone when texting so he can’t see what you’re writing?
Yeah, those are pretty strong indicators, right there.
What is Considered Cheating in a Relationship?
Again, this is something that can have dozens—if not hundreds—of different perspectives and answers. The best way to determine what’s considered cheating in your relationship is to discuss it with your partner. First and foremost, grab a sheet of paper and write down what you think constitutes cheating. Then ask him to do the same, and compare notes.
Try to do this in a way that’s lighthearted, open, and understanding, rather than confrontational.
For example, if you feel that even talking to another woman is considered cheating, and he thinks anything more than oral sex falls under that category, you two will definitely need to have A Talk about your relationship boundaries. If this type of situation unfolds, try not to be confrontational. Ask before assuming or attacking. Be very clear about what the two of you have done with others up until this point. Then decide together what your relationship parameters will be as you move forward.
If you had different expectations of your relationship but didn’t express them clearly, it’s not too late to do so. Consider this like re-negotiating the terms of your work contract. As the relationship evolves and changes, so might the parameters for exclusivity (or the lack thereof).
Find a Middle Ground with Respect, Love, and Understanding
There’s no need to accuse him of hooking up with other women simply because his perspectives are different from yours. Just because someone thinks differently about a subject doesn’t mean they’ve acted on it, right?
Ultimately, what you and your partner consider to be “cheating” is unique to your relationship. Many people find it unreasonable to expect that their partner will only have feelings of any kind for them, for life. As a result, many are okay with their partner making friendships and other connections.That said, there’s always a line that can be crossed.
If the texts show a close, but platonic friendship, then no. That isn’t considered to be cheating. On the other hand, if you’re flirting blatantly and are making plans to hook up in person, then that’s a different story altogether. When you’re trying to determine the answer to the question “is texting another guy considered cheating?”, so much comes down to intention and tone.
Would these texts be hurtful to your partner if he read them? Furthermore, would he feel betrayed? While you’re doing that kind of soul searching, ask yourself this:
If you’re happy in your current relationship, then why are you texting flirtatiously with that other guy?
Or in contrast, if you’re unhappy with your partner, why are you still with him?
The other guy you’re texting with is a very real person. You’re likely establishing an emotional bond with him, just like he is with you. Where do you think things are going to evolve to from here on in? What do you hope to achieve with these exchanges?
Take stock of your current relationship, and be brutally honest with yourself about how you feel about it. Then you can decide whether you want to dedicate yourself to making it work, or sabotage it with texts to someone else.