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When Does e-Flirting Become Cheating?

23 Jun

Flirting is a natural part of life, and many people in committed relationships do it all the time.  I said “many” instead of “all” because I know some of ya’ll will insist to the grave that you have never and would never do such a thing and while I know yous a no good dirty liar I’m not going to accuse you of lying- that just wouldn’t be fair, now would it?

Many people will argue that what happens on the internet “isn’t real”.  That’s juvenile, yet people still use the internet as if it’s a Holodeck on Star Trek, wanting whatever happens online to stay separate from what happens in day to day life.  The two, however, have grown to become forever linked; recently a woman tweeted a miscarriage, sparking strong reactions across the country. Women have broken up with their men because of 1 particular facebook friend he had that she didn’t like.  There have been murders and suicides online.  Countless have lost their jobs because of online content.  Babies born, and deaths of elders.

It hasn’t all been bad though.  People have met, fallen in love and married.  Lives have been saved because of information sharing.  Causes have been aken up.  The ability to create positive change has been impacted… in a good way.

Authentic connections can be made online; anyone who spends time online knows this.  You’ve got people who you enjoy, people that irritate the hell out of you, and people that just fill the void.  Humor, personality, common interests are all things that draw people to each other and create relationships- even if “just” online relationships, they are still relationships.

In a nutshell, our e-lives are much to intricate and complicated to not be real.

The internet can provide a space for complete anonymity.  People can lie about any and all aspects of their lives and who they are.  Men can pose as women and vice versa.  Adults can pose as children.  Married people can pose as single; it never ends.

Where relationships and the question of cheating are concerned, let’s look at a few scenarios:

You’re a guy with a long term girlfriend, and you just met shorty from New York on facebook and you’re diggin’ her vibe.  She’s smart, witty, and you’ve combed through all her photo albums and dang, she kinda cute!

It starts off innocent enough.  You comment on a few things she posts to the newsfeed, she responds a couple of time a week to your brilliant status updates.  Then you send her a note to her inbox about something forgettable profound, and now you’re sending notes back and forth via the inbox- a private communication no one else can see.

Flirting ensues.  You’re not worried, after all, you live in California, you love your woman and don’t plan on letting her go.  Obviously you don’t tell your girl about shortyNY; that’s for you to know and for her to hack your account and find out never find out.

You think about shortyNY enough to send her at least 1 message every day.  The conversations get longer, and the flirting is pretty strong between the two of you.

The question is, does this scenario equate to cheating?  Why or why not?  The man in question has no desire to take a weekend trip East, he’s not telling shortyNY that he loves her, but he is talking to heron a regular, the flirting is often of a sexual nature, and he makes it a point to hit her inbox every day.  Cheating?

Or this:

Same scenario, only this time you’re not just hinting at sexual stuff, you’re openly talking about it with each other.  You’ve graduated from the inbox to either gmail or some other IM.  Yeah, you talk about the weather and stuff, but you also tell shortyNY what you’d be doing to her if you were there right now and she’s doing the same. Meanwhile, your girl is in the kitchen making dinner.

Cheating?

Or this:

You and shortyNY have exchanged numbers.  You text and you talk.  Most conversations are laced with flirty-sex-talk, and you’ve gotten a hard on a few times talking to her.  Cheating?

And finally:

You’re up late one night, and you and shortyNY are on the instant messenger flirting back and forth, and you finally go there and “have sex” via words.  She’s undressing, sucking on you, and she’s gasping and moaning while you give it to her, and every bit of it is being typed out, all the way to the climax- and not just an e-climax, but a real climax.

Cheating?

Discuss.