Does phone or cybersex count as cheating?

Thursday July 9 2020

 

By Evelyn Kharono Lufafa

I am a married man in my 40s with two children. I have been married for 10 years and have been loyal to my wife. Recently, a friend introduced me to the concept of phone sex. He also shared the details of a few websites where people meet online and indulge in phone sex or cybersex. I soon started chatting with a woman I had met online and we indulged in phone sex. Whatever is happening between us is just for fun and we have no intention of meeting physically. However, when my wife found out, she threatened to divorce me. According to her, I am cheating. I feel like she is making a mountain out of a molehill and is not even ready to listen to my side of the argument. How do I restore peace in my marriage? Anonymous

Dear anonymous, your concern represents so many other voices going through a similar scenario in their marriages but are suffering silently. The commonest cause of divorce today is infidelity. Until recently, infidelity was mostly associated with a sexual encounter or emotional connection with the person other than one’s own partner. However, since the boom of the internet and social networks such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, practices such as cybersex and cyber flirting have appeared. Infidelity now includes sexting, exchange of flirty messages, and pictures with someone other than your partner.

Usually, this starts especially when the current official relationship is going through issues. These include boredom, unhappiness, sexual dissatisfaction, revenge or influence of alcohol, and even peer influence like in your case. During such times, people become vulnerable to feeling sexual attraction to people who are not their partners. This is currently leading to divorce and violence in many relationships.
Marriage moves through a series of stages and each stage has its flaws at a given time. It, therefore, requires commitment and the couple being intentional to make it work.

Most unhealthy habits start as a one time trial and can turn into addiction. By the mere fact that there is a female on the other end of the phone, this is cheating since this already replaces quality time with your spouse. Cybersex leads to loss of trust, decrease in self-esteem and feelings of betrayal. It is possible that your fiancée is going through such feelings. The best way to overcome a behaviour that is affecting our significant others is by taking responsibility and accepting that we have a problem and need support.

Recovering from infidelity is a process that includes three stages. First is dealing with the traumatic impact of infidelity, creating a meaningful ground why the affair happened and lastly working to move together as a couple.
Marriage counselling is helpful at this level to put the relationship into perspective and to identify issues that might have contributed to the affair. Through marriage counselling, you and your partner will learn how to build and strengthen the relationship and avoid a possible divorce.

Addiction
With teens at particular risk for online sexual addiction, it is not surprising that a Stanford/Duquesne study completed in 2000 described cybersex as a public health hazard. The risk of addiction is only increasing because few health organizations recognize it as a danger. The study also found at least 200,000 Internet users are addicted to online sexual content.

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Reader advice

Avoid toxic peer groups
Carol Mukisa Cartnel. Cheating is having an emotional or sexual affair with someone else. So, it just does not have to be physical. What you are doing is actually real cheating. First and foremost, you need to stop such toxic peer groups because they will soon drag you and your marriage down. And mind you, every sin starts as unserious as you think but soon or later, you are dragged into real addiction or worse. The Bible says in James 4:7, ‘ Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you’. Please run away from the devil’s trap. God blessed you with a wife for, among other things, sexual satisfaction.

Talk to a counsellor
Jane Mukisa. Whether this is right or wrong, there is no answer. The essence is in understanding and communication between the partners. It should be honest and transparent and take into account the likes and dislikes of both. The need and views of both partners should be considered.

Probably where things went wrong in your case was that this was not discussed with your wife before it was started. Each person’s views can vary on any particular scenario and your wife seems to differ from your perception. The way forward would be to see a marital therapist, who will be able to understand the whole situation and guide you both.

Revist marital teaching
Prina Kasumba. It is from cybersex that real cheating will start because eventually, you will need to meet this woman. In Christianity, you are cheating. Go back and revisit the teachings from your marital classes and let them act as a guide for you.

Reverse the roles
Oteky Aj Camboo. It is cheating. How would you feel if it was her having phone/cyber sex? Whenever we think our partners are over reacting, reverse the role and see how you would handle it.

She is right
Nampa Patience Natie.How would you feel if you found out your wife was doing the same thing? No woman would fail to get annoyed about this. Seek help before it is too late.

Talk to your wife
Rtr Bagoole Kennedy. You and your wife are one and no secrets should be left unshared. Just engaging in such acts without her noticing defines that as cheating. You describe it as fun but to her and us, it is cheating.

Do you love your wife?
Phoebe Miriam. Why should you engage in phone sex when you have a wife? Apologise to your wife and delete that link from your phone. Build your marriage trust from scratch and be faithful to the woman you married. Phone or cybersex is a fallacy, which only makes you an addict and destroys what you already have.

Evelyn Kharono Lufafa, Counselling psychologist

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