It used to be if you wanted to have an affair it took some effort. You had to arrange for secret calls and rendezvous and sneak around -- not anymore. Today’s technology has provided easier and easier ways for partners to cheat on one another. And sadly, text message cheating has become a simple way to cheat without much work at all.
Sometimes it's intentional and other times not. Regardless, text message cheating is a really easy way to start cheating, and often times not even realize it. Someone gets your cell number (a coworker, someone from the gym, a person you met at a party) and starts sending you friendly texts. Before you know it it's very easy to be having full-on conversations by text -- and most problematic is that you can to do so anytime, anywhere.
Why Text Message Cheating Can Be Hard To Recognize
It's not uncommon at all for cheating partners to be cheating by texting messages right in front of their unknowing partner. I've had partners tell me that it happened when they were lying next to each other in bed, riding in the car together, and standing in the kitchen talking to each other. The phone beeps or buzzes and the partner responds to a text that is explained away as just a friend or coworker, but is really the other woman or other man.
Here’s an interesting example of text cheating:
We have had problems since December when I found out she was in a texting affair. We worked through that, but in February she developed a very close friendship with another woman. I started suspecting something was not right with this friendship so I confronted her and she became mad and defensive. Well it seemed ok until she started texting her like 100 times a day, then she started running into to her wherever she went. I think they were doing it on purpose, so I asked her and she became very angry again saying I was over analyzing it." -Rick B.
Here’s another case showing men and women are equally vulnerable:
I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for 3.5 years and we are both thinking about getting married. I love him, I love spending time with him, and I really want to be married, but I'm also very worried that I can't trust him not to cheat. From the very beginning it has been difficult for him to stop being always on the lookout for someone to flirt with or date, even though we are together. He had an extremely inappropriate texting relationship with a girl he briefly dated in college, which went on for the first year and a half of our relationship." -Tonya W.
All cheating causes pain, but because text message cheating can literally happen while together with your partner it can be especially hurtful. It doesn’t take physical contact with someone else to cause deep wounds and break the trust that’s so crucial to a healthy relationship.
Symptoms Of Text Message Cheating
As you can see, texting can cross the line and become a problem with any relationship. So what are some signs of text message cheating?
- Treating your cell phone like it's something you cannot be separated from. If you always have to have your phone with you, even at home, and never let it out of your sight, that's a warning sign.
- Your cell phone is password locked and no one is allowed to use it or look at what's on it.
- Apps are installed that can be used to text or instant message in secrecy. I won't give their names to prevent the information from being misused, but texting apps exist, so do cheating apps, and some of the everyday apps many of us already use give the option to hide communication. So you should know what apps are on your partner's phone and what they're used for.
Unfortunately, today's technology offers many ways to have a texting affair and keep it secret. Phone records will show you texts were sent, but you cannot see their content. Flipping through the contacts list won't usually be revealing either as the names and numbers are often hidden under a false contact name.
Dealing with a cheating partner is tricky no matter how it’s happening. The pain and betrayal can stir-up many strong emotions, especially anger. These feelings can cause people to act in ways that simply make things worse and lead to even more hurt, particularly if you’re mistaken about your suspicions.
There are things you can do, however, to help determine whether there may be something to worry about. Here's one thing you can do to uncover text message cheating. Ask to look at your partner's phone and watch their reaction. Their behavior will typically reveal more than anything you could ever find on their phone.
I was counseling a troubled couple recently and he had been suspected of cheating. When she asked to see his phone, he wouldn't give it to her, but after a long fight he held it up 3 feet away from her face and flipped through the screens. Then he locked it and walked away. Do you think she had anything to be suspicious of?
There are many excuses that can be given as to why the contents of a phone cannot be shared, but keep in mind that very, very few of us really have justifiable reasons why our partner cannot look through our phone. And if your partner says they do, be very skeptical.
And, unfortunately, texting isn’t the only way technology can be used to facilitate an affair. Facebook and Instagram also provide covert ways for partners to cheat. Once again, smart phones can provide convenient and stealthy means for partners to cheat.
In some ways cheating through texting is really obvious if you know what to look for, see the guy above, but in other ways it's not. Nevertheless, healthy relationships are built on transparency and trust. When you don't have that your relationship is very susceptible to the development of text message cheating.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published September 14, 2015 and has been updated with new information for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Looking for More? Check Out These Articles
- Here's Why You're Cheating When You're Flirting
- My Wife Is Cheating And I Caught Her
- My Husband Is No Longer Affectionate With Me
- Get More Help with a Cheating Spouse