Is Online Dating Considered Infidelity?

Using the internet to flirt?

Do you enjoy setting off in search of a new conquest via your favorite social network? Do you have a Tinder account? Are you a fan of adultery? Cheating is still a rather vague concept. For some, it’s just a matter of “going through with it”, while for others, a single smile can trigger world war! So when the virtual became involved, things got even more complicated.

With the Net, it’s possible to make contact with thousands of people (or even more!) and chat gently or more. But social networking contacts usually stop there, at a distance. So is chatting nicely between consenting people cheating?

Because for many, flirting and sharing strong emotions online are equivalent to the same action in real life. But what can we really say about these actions for which we relieve ourselves of guilt by finding the excuse that we only see the other person from a distance or virtually? As we know today, many couples have clashed because the other had the good idea of looking elsewhere on the Net. And in this area, men take the cake! They love to wander the Net and test their seductive powers online.

And just as in the real world, this doesn’t always have the same consequences. Once again, some partners will give up. Others won’t tolerate it.

So if you’re hesitating to embark on an Internet flirtation, here are a few ideas to help you make up your mind on this tricky subject: can our little online flirtation games be considered deception?

Do sociologists have an answer?

If you take a look at the work of the many sociologists who analyze the 2.0 flirting phenomenon, the majority will tell you that online flirting is indeed deception. It’s a behavior that follows the logic of adultery in the same way as flirting on a café terrace.

Why have they come to this conclusion when the flirt has no physical contact with another person? Two reasons. The first is that the flirt’s partner always takes it badly. This behavior is at the root of many separations. Another reason is that many newly-formed couples unsubscribe from their favorite dating platforms. So there’s a link between couples and online relationships. You get together with someone, it’s serious, so you withdraw from the singles scene (logically).

According to sociologist Pascal Lardellier, digital tools have played a major role in decompartmentalizing relationships and norms. “The couple has become de-institutionalized”. He puts forward his theory of “polygaming”, which corresponds to having several partners online. This obviously leads to new norms within the couple. Sociologist Ariane Picoche points out that flirting on the Net should be part of the rules from the outset. If the partner considers it cheating, then it’s a fault. If he has nothing against it, then it’s possible.

A question of respect

As we all know, when our partner goes off to fool around elsewhere, we’re offended. Our partner no longer respects us. He’s lying to us (or not, for that matter). And let’s face it, this state of mind is just as likely to be felt in the face of a wild, unexpected hand-to-hand encounter as it is in the face of a very naughty online conversation.

Because the feeling is the same. He’s breaking the rules, tacitly or otherwise. And that hurts. So, of course, it’s more or less virtual. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s at least cheating on the other person’s trust.

A question of ego

Flirting is also a question of self-confidence. You put your seductive potential back on the table with every attempt. The person looking for a target wants to know if he or she is attractive, if he or she can be appreciated for what he or she is (or at least what he or she has indicated in his or her profile, which is not always the same thing).

Talking to strangers and pleasing them boosts their ego in a big way. He puts himself forward, promotes himself and waits to see if his work works. This narcissistic promotion (or “personal branding” as Pascal Lardellier calls it) imposes a conception of the person you’re hitting on as a product.

The “communication” point

A couple that gets along well communicates well. Whatever the means. Do you enjoy receiving naughty messages from each other? Do you enjoy reading his or her love notes? You can see that even if he or she isn’t there to whisper them in your ear, it still gives you pleasure.

And it can even lead to some very naughty ideas. So imagine when you’re flirting online. Even if it’s just words, the principle of going somewhere else remains the same. You’re communicating with another person to seduce them into falling for you. Just as you did with your current partner. He/she thought this was reserved for him/her (although of course it isn’t, since you’ve already dated other people).

When he/she finds out that this isn’t the case, he/she won’t be happy at all. Language has its secrets. And even if your flirting plan is only verbal, it will have repercussions. Even if it’s just to get out of a rut. Can’t help yourself? Admit it before you’re found out. And make things clear. It’s fun to have fun and distract yourself, but not at someone’s expense (the person who shares your life, but also the other person).

The cuckold and the infidel 2.0

Here’s the heart of the matter. There’s the person who wanders the Net to find an attentive ear, a subject receptive to his or her flirting maneuvers. A new goal for their fantasies. But he (or she, of course) doesn’t consider that they’ve cheated on their partner. There were only words, maybe a few glances, but nothing else. For the other, it’s a different story! The partner shared “stuff” with another person. Period, and it wasn’t just a soccer match on TV! There’s been seduction, conquest, naughty thoughts… She/he is no longer the only one to enjoy it all.

So, yes, let’s face it, knowing what cheating is isn’t easy. It’s a philosophical question, and everyone has different standards. But that doesn’t stop the cuckold 2.0 from hurting and therefore the unfaithful 2.0 from hurting. If we consider that hiding things from another person is cheating, then online flirting in secret is cheating!

What about the law?

Flirting is in no way reprehensible. But maintaining an ongoing online relationship with another person (yes, we’ve passed the flirting stage) has already been considered cheating by the courts. Several cases of virtual exchanges have been used in divorce cases.

Joining a dating club or flirting on social networks can be considered a fault and used in court as a reason for divorce.

When the other spouse’s behavior no longer falls within this framework (and fooling around on the Internet can be just that), the courts consider that there has been deception.

A little problem in the relationship?

If the other person goes elsewhere, it’s usually because there’s a problem in the relationship. You have to be realistic. If he’s looking for compliments (or other treats) from someone else, it’s because he’s lacking. So before you insult him, think about what’s wrong with your relationship. If he’s not an inveterate seducer (or seductress), you might be surprised to discover that if he goes surfing to flirt, it’s above all to reassure himself!

It’s impossible to answer the question: is online flirting cheating? It depends on the standards set by each couple. But in any case, if it’s done without the other person’s consent, at the very least it’s a breach of trust.