Online flirting is no different from cheating, according to a new survey of millennials.
Fusion asked 1,000 millennials (18- to 34-year-old age range) whether “online flirtations or relationships” counted as cheating. Eighty-two percent said yes, with 77 percent of men and 88 percent of women labeling the practice as “a form of infidelity.”
A little more than 15 percent did not believe that online flirting was cheating, and just north of two percent “weren’t sure.”
Unfortunately, the Fusion survey didn’t go into details as to what constitutes the practice of “flirting” with someone online, though Match breaks it up into two separate categories — cyber cheating and text message cheating.
Cyber cheating, the dating site says, “includes Internet pornography, online dating, and flirting with other people on social networking sites.”
The site calls the practice “harder to catch than other forms of cheating” because it requires the couple “to have access to one another’s computer passwords and to pay close attention to conversations each person is having on the Internet.”
As for “text message cheating,” that can also be known as “chexting,” and it involves “sending sexually explicit messages or pictures and texting to arrange dates.”
“Even simple messages that seem innocent, such as asking how someone is doing, can be considered chexting if the intention of the person sending the text is to hook up with the recipient.”
In the Fusion study, millennials were also asked how they feel about breaking up via text message.
Seventy-nine percent said it was “never okay” to break up with someone through a text, though 14 percent admitted they had actually done it. In an interview with Huffington Post, linguistics professor Naomi Baron explained why.
“You don’t have to have a big knock-down-drag-out fight, but you also don’t get that experience of having to interact in uncomfortable situations — face-to-face live situations.”
Findings like those from Fusion are not surprising. Even though online flirting seems a bit different from a physical infidelity, it does indicate intent and that can be just as damaging to a relationship as following through with it.
But this all raises a very interesting question about the types of cheating. What constitutes “cheating” in a relationship, and would you put online flirting in the same ballpark as a physical infidelity?
If your significant other or spouse came to you to confess they were guilty of online flirting, or if you caught them red-handed, would you react in the same way as you would if you caught them in a more intimate form of infidelity? Sound off in our comments section.
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