Many of us have received the random, out-of-the-blue text from an old flame, and go on to ignore it. Texting is an easy way for former connections to get back in touch with no repercussions if they don’t get the expected reciprocation. But what happens if you’re in a relationship and choose to carry on a conversation via text with an ex? Even if your intentions are innocent by taking it no further than a screen, if you’re hiding those texts from your significant other, could that be considered a form of cheating? The lines are becoming more blurred as technology makes it easier than ever for people in our pasts to find and reconnect with us.
We worked with our friends at Qriously to survey hundreds of people and ask them how they felt about the perception of cheating when it comes to mobile devices. The first question we asked to 500+ people was “Do you consider texting an ex cheating?”
According to the above chart, the majority of folks said no (61%), while 39% believe that texting an ex is cheating. People in the Midwest are more likely to believe that texting an ex is cheating – as more folks in Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, and Illinois said ‘yes’ than ‘no’. Other states with a high response rate were California (14 people said yes and 27 people said no) and New York (12 people said yes and 19 said no).
We then attempted turned the tables and slightly changed the phrasing, with more of a focus on the significant other being the one in the relationship texting an ex, and we also added a ‘not sure’ category. As it turns out, most people (40%) still think texting an ex isn’t cheating, while 31% say yes and 29% are not sure.
According to experts, the latest frontier in betrayal has been dubbed as ‘chexting’ – the combination of cheating and texting. Relationship expert and marriage counselor Jane Greer says that people don’t always set out to cheat. It often starts with an innocent text to say hi and check in.
The whole emotional experience of texting in and of itself takes on meaning and significance. Truly the question becomes, are you texting to somebody else things, content, material that you’re not sharing with your partner?
Los Angeles family law attorney Stacy D. Phillips also says she’s seeing more and more divorce cases involving spouses being unfaithful through technology — including Internet chat rooms, instant messages and texts. Part of the allure of chexting is that it’s not finished once both people stop sending messages; you’re able to re-read them through out day and feel that same “rush” as you get when you initially received and sent the texts.
At what point does it cross the line from innocent intentions to cheating? According to Greer,
If your partner is texting the minute he or she wakes up or before you go to bed and you’re feeling really disconnected from him, then you might start to wonder what’s going on.