I know that this is going to make me sound super old, but honestly…the internet being a common household ‘appliance’ or a cash and carry mobile device? I was starting COLLEGE when that became a thing! Hehehe! Seriously. I mean, The Shack is actually almost an entire decade older than Youtube as you know it! It hasn’t been that long.
The idea that you could reach out and talk, argue, and share ideas, in real time, with someone on the other side of the globe was just like….wow!
People can make friends with others in places that they’ve never been to or have even heard of. Express ideas that they never could have in real life. However…
What happens when it comes to an emotional attachment with someone halfway around the world…when you’re in a committed relationship? Now, take a moment and think about this. What if you had a boyfriend/girlfriend that you loved with your whole heart, and they began talking…sharing…even FLIRTING…with someone online or on social media?
Is that cheating? Is that a betrayal? Put yourself in the place of someone who has someone who is completely loyal to them ‘physically’…but might have developed feelings for someone that they might never see, or touch, or taste, in real life. I mean…isn’t that just indulging in a fantasy? Or is that an actual ‘stab in the back’ by the person you gave your heart to and trusted them to be careful with it?
And…what if it WASN’T your partner doing it? What if it was YOU? You just found someone in Australia, or South Africa, or Brazil, that you really felt a connection to…and you enjoyed the idea of being with them. Would you be cheating on your love for someone else?
I’m interested to see what you guys have to say on this one, because it happens more often than you might think.
“Oh! Good question…
How would I feel if my SO was flirting and having an intimate connection to someone else, online (and IRL too)?
I wouldn’t like it and things would have to change. I don’t know if I would end the relationship, as I would if they had physically cheated on me. It depends on the situation.
I do consider it a form of cheating. Unlike pornography which is impersonal, and I wouldn’t care if my SO was masturbating to porn. But I would if they were ‘sexting’ with someone online. It’s the personal connection, not the porn aspect of it.
We’d at the very least have to have a conversation about why they’re having this relationship with someone else, online. And it would either have to end, or we’d have to end. They might not have a choice. Even if they promised to end it, depending on the details, I might not be able to forgive them.” – Mike
“I think it can work, but it rarely does in actuality. I’m married to a wonderful wife. She knows about me and would probably let me go have fun with a dude, but to me, my family and her are more important. My desire for family stability is greater than my (majority) sexual desires. Part of being grown up is sacrifice. For me its worth it. As a kid, its different – then I’d tap everything in sight!” – GanymedeRex
“This one’s a little hard for me. (No pun intended, but gratefully accepted)
I wouldn’t enter into an online relationship to begin with. For the sake of argument, however, let’s say that I have. Cheating is cheating. I don’t care how it happens or who it happens with, it’s wrong. Don’t do it. If we’ve established a relationship, even without physically meeting, I’d expect for the same rules to apply. If you’re with me, you’re with me. No one else.
In the event that a new connection is made with someone else, for the love of God, break it off with me. I’d rather be a little hurt now than furious, betrayed, degraded, belittled, and disrespected without even knowing it. I’ve been cheated on before, and it didn’t feel good at all. I can’t stand to live through it again.
The heart doesn’t care if your love is next to you or a thousand miles away. It can still care for someone just as much. Respecting someone’s feelings is just common courtesy. If you’re not serious enough to be with just me, back off and find someone else.” – TurtleBoy
“I have a friend who is always talking to guys online even though she’s supposed to be going with another friend of mine. She denied that she was talking to these guys but if you look at her phone a couple of these guys have sent her pictures of their genitalia and want her to send them back pictures of her genitalia. When my friend asks me what I think about this situation I tell him that he can’t stop her from talking to them because he can’t shut the internet down even if he wanted to do so.” – Butcher56
Even if it’s not a physical relationship where they’re meeting up with some other guy in a hotel to have sex or anything like that…I would definitely consider that cheating. And I won’t have any of that. No way.
To me, it’s the emotional attachment that’s the most important part of two people being in a committed relationship to begin with. And when you’re looking at pictures and flirting and cyber-sexing with somebody online…that IS an emotional connection. One that doesn’t include me. So, just because the other person isn’t actually kissing and making love to my boyfriend, that doesn’t mean that they’re not involved with one another. They most definitely are. And it hurts. Fantasy or not.
I’d much rather be dumped than cheated on. If I have a boyfriend in real life, and I’m sort of joking around with someone online, even in a flirty way, I know there’s a line. And I’ll clearly say, “Sorry, I’ve got a boyfriend.” Period. Also, if I have someone that I really have feelings for online and connected with…and then I meet a cute guy in a bar or something who seems ‘interested’, the same rule applies. “Sorry, I have a boyfriend.”
Cheating is just despicable to me. And I’ve had it happen to me once or twice, and the pain of it never goes away. If the only thing keeping someone I love from potentially cheating on me is the price of a plane ticket and a hotel room? Then I don’t want any parts of it. So, for those ‘grass is always greener’ folks who think they can have a physical boyfriend and an online fantasy at the same time without either side being compromised? Please stay away from me. I’m not into emotional competition. Either we want to be together or we don’t. I’ll get over it. Move on and chase you perfect boyfriend. Just keep my heart out of it. I’ve been through enough, trust me.” – Comicality
“Christ… I remember no internet… and rotary phones! Hell my first mobile phone was like a sodding brick with a huge pull out aerial, and yes kids they were analogue.. no colour screens, no texting or data etc.. Comsie and I will remember computers using something call DOS!!!
Anyway… I agree with Com. To be fair though I have always had trust issues so have always been very guarded with whom and what I invest feelings into.
But I know that these days with the younger generation CONSTANTLY on their phones that in some ways it may not seem like cheating to them. May sound wired but I hear it often and see it. One place it is very prevalent is Twitter!” – Dom
“It kinda depends…. It depends on what kind of relationship you have with your significant other…. and the level of commitment you’ve made to each other. Me? I’d totally consider it cheating, let’s get that out in the open right away. Other people I know have open relationships, where each party just wants to know who you are flirting (or more) with, and what’s important is your honest about it. Also, is this a boyfriend, and you’ve just started dating? Or is this a Boyfriend, and you’ve talked about how deep your relationship is. It also depends on what level of flirting you go to… Telling someone “Oh, you’re cute” is totally different from engaging in cybersex with someone.
Me? I expect honesty and fidelity in someone I’m dating, but If I *have* to choose, I’ll take the honesty, please. I can forgive a one-time screw up, after awhile. and if all you are doing is telling someone they are cute, I can accept that level of flirting.” – FireSprite
“Jealousy is a real emotion, however, the idea (ideal) of a monogamous one to one relationship is not a given, written in stone, somehow the natural state everyone should be in. It is no more natural than little boys growing up to be princes and marrying their princess.
It is quite possible to have a relationship with someone which is strong enough that it can be shared with a third person for a brief or a longer moment. Why is sex sacrosanct? Why can a couple share friendship with other people, but not sex? Who made that barrier? Who says you have to follow that invented norm even if it is widespread, it is not universal in all societies across the world.
A one on one monogamous relationship that has no room for sex with someone else who comes along and for whom there is an emotional attachment, poses the question about how strong that relationship is. Do you need walls to protect your relationship? And we are not actually talking about physical relations with a third person, but an online, distant relationship.
This question prompts the response that my boyfriend, partner, is mine and I’m not sharing him and would rather split up if he cannot be loyal and reject anyone else that he has feelings for. That is jealousy talking, jealousy and possessiveness, demanding someone’s total attention and love. You might say that is very selfish?” – Talo Segura
“Is it not the search for the ideal love ant partnership that makes many people lonely? We are only looking for a perfect partner I have been living in an open relationship 5 years now. Are we perfect? No but we are happy. When I had cancer last year my boyfriend was always on my side.” – Wollter
If you guys ever want to add your two cents to any one of the ‘Q & A’ sessions for future issues of Imagine Magazine, we’d LOVE to hear your input and your personal stories on the forum! Feel free to attach your screen name, or do so anonymously! Drop by “The Shack Out Back” forum on the 1st of every month for a brand new topic of conversation! We look forward to hearing more from you! 🙂