Many of us think of cheating as an obvious breach of trust, from kissing a co-worker to sneaking off to get cozy in a hotel room with your ex. However, in the digital age, cheating means a lot more than whether or not you’re physically faithful.
One study reveals that social media was cited as a cause of marital collapse among one-third of divorcing couples polled. And while social media has given rise to seemingly endless opportunities to be unfaithful, it’s not just making plans to hook up that sound our cheating alarms anymore. From flirty messages to sending intimate photos, these social media habits are all forms of cheating in their own ways, and certainly worth watching out for if your partner seems to be engaging in them. And if you’re concerned about your own digital dalliances, Here’s Why Experts Say “Micro-Cheating” Will Destroy Your Relationship.
Creating Fake Profiles
While there’s always the chance that somebody has a fake Facebook profile for the sole purpose of online trolling, it’s likely a sign of more suspicious behavior. If your significant other has a fake social media profile, it’s far from out of bounds to ask them why it’s there and what exactly they need it for. And when you want to clean up your act online, start by nixing the 20 Social Media Mistakes You’re Making.
Posting Flirty Photos
If your social media posts have gone from PG to NC-17 in a matter of weeks after someone you’re attracted to started following you, you might be social media cheating. Posting photos for the purpose of tempting someone other than your significant other isn’t exactly innocent, after all. And when you want to make your social media presence more palatable, start with the 15 Facebook Habits You Need to Break.
Using Code Names
If you’re renaming contacts in your phone or only communicating with people using fake names online, it certainly seems like you’ve got something to hide. If you’re being fully faithful with your partner, you shouldn’t feel the need to hide who you’re talking to. However, code names aren’t the only sign of trouble in paradise—just check out the 20 Relationship Warning Signs Smart Couples Never Ignore.
Constantly Checking Someone’s Statuses
Yes, even the most faithful partners will occasionally check in on an ex’s social media from time to time. However, if you’re constantly looking for updates and new photos, you’re taking time away from your partner and are on a slippery slope toward infidelity.
Following People You Want to Hook Up With
Following someone on Instagram solely because you think they’re hot is not as innocent as it sounds. If you don’t know someone, but choose to follow them for their looks alone, you’re admitting your attraction and trying to connect, neither of which are exactly above board.
Commenting On an Ex’s Photos
“Congrats!” on a photo of your ex’s new baby? Fine. Commenting, “Wish I was there with you!” on a photo of them sunbathing in a bikini? Not so innocent.
Sending Flirty DMs
Those flirty DMs you’re sending to your Twitter crush aren’t without repercussions. While you may be safely behind a screen, if your partner saw that you were telling someone else how hot they were, wouldn’t you consider it cheating? Of course, you may be better off without your unfaithful ex in the long run—just check out the 15 Signs You Should Definitely Be Single.
Confiding in Someone Other Than Your Partner
Intimacy extends far beyond the physical. If you’re confiding in someone other than your partner and leaning on them for emotional support, you might be guilty of social media infidelity. And if you do want to work on your relationship, make sure you ignore the 40 Relationship Tips That Are Actually Terrible.
Reminiscing With an Ex
Many exes can be social media friends without incident. However, if your social media relationship with your ex starts going down the rabbit hole of rehashing all those great dates you had, your partner’s probably justified in feeling a little lied to.
Unless you’re asking a close friend to help you decide between outfits, sending photos of yourself to other people on social media should be generally considered off-limits in a monogamous relationship.
Using Sexy Emojis
Just because you’re not using explicit language doesn’t mean you’re not crossing a line. Emojis can paint just as vivid a picture: an eggplant here and a donut there and you’re in hot water.
Messaging an Ex
If your ex still has a box of your stuff, by all means, message them to get it back. However, if you’re just sending them a message to check in or to catch up, don’t be surprised if your significant other is less than pleased.
Deleting Your Search History
If you feel the need to constantly erase evidence of who you’ve been looking up on social media, consider yourself busted. If you genuinely think there’s no problem with what you’re searching for on social media, there shouldn’t be any reason to hide it from your partner.
Constantly Messaging Flirty Friends
It’s human nature to seek validation. However, if you’re constantly messaging friends who love nothing more than to flirtatiously remind you how hot or smart or funny you are, you’re wading into some murky territory in terms of fidelity.
Complimenting People’s Physical Appearance
There are plenty of ways to appreciate someone cute without actually offering up compliments. When you start leaving thirsty comments on people’s photos, however, you’re switching from being a passive and an active participant in a digital flirtation.
Your partner should be the person you can tell anything to. If you’re confiding in someone other than your partner on a regular basis and sharing things you wouldn’t tell your significant other, mark one in the cheating column.
Exchanging Contact Info
If your relationship with a friend on social media is truly innocent, there shouldn’t be any real reason to contact them via other mediums. Even if you don’t consider taking your digital friendship offline cheating, it is, at the very least, pretty suspect behavior.
Friending Sexy Strangers
Social media is all about making new friends and reconnecting with old ones. However, if you or your significant other are accepting friend requests from people based on nothing but their profile photos, it may be a sign that you’re not being entirely faithful.
Sending Racy Messages
Flirtation on social media can quickly devolve into something a lot less innocent. If you’re sending raunchy messages to someone on social media, don’t be surprised if your significant other considers that a serious breach of their trust.
Making Plans to Meet Up
Of course, digital cheating can extend into the real world, too. With the exception of getting together with someone you met online to buy something, if you’re planning to meet up with someone you met on social media, you can definitely consider yourself a cheater. Even if you don’t think your partner is sneaking around, these are 20 Surefire Signs Your Relationship is Over.
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