Monday, March 05, 2012

Don't Sext with Ex - From the Dr. Jayme Files


I started watching Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal on OWN just out of curiosity and then out of fascination and finally just trying to understand. The show details couples that have faced infidelity in their marriages and how they came to terms with it. I've seen so much infidelity in my life, from so many angles - it was interesting to unearth some of the clinical "explanations" when you unwrap the layers.

One particular episode about a woman who was sexting with an ex-boyfriend caught my attention.  She spent months engaged in sexually suggestive conversations via text with her ex and they began to send more and more explicit photos back and forth. She justified it by saying it was not cheating because no physical intercourse took place. There was some discussion in the room about whether sexting is cheating or not? So I asked Dr. Jayme - here are her thoughts:
The simple answer is that yes - sexting is cheating. Let me share why. In the category of emotional intimacy, a marriage requires a commitment of all of your romantic and physical capital to your spouse.When one is engaged in sending sexually explicit words or pictures, they are sharing that capital with someone else. And while it's true that the actions may never consummate the promises; the fact is that by sending the words or pictures - your thoughts are already in bed with the other person. 
Emotional infidelity is actually quite a bit harder to reconcile than the more overt act of sleeping with someone outside of the relationship. It can be compartmentalized as "just sex" - there's an end game there that is final. When the act is done, it's done. An emotional attachment is harder to break than a physical one. There are people that we never see or touch that hold a special place in our hearts for years. 
As for the situation in this show - the woman was spending time flirting and sexting with someone other than her husband everyday. In my mind, it moved beyond a light flirtation into an obsession. I firmly believe that if she and her ex had lived in the same geographic region, it would have turned into a physical affair as well. She got high off of the attention and need she received from the other man and did not want to give it up. In fact, the show revealed that she became protective and defensive - going to great lengths to keep her cell phone by her side at all times, carving out time during the day to keep the outside communication going - it was quite an investment. 
Once you make an investment in someone outside the relationship, the foundation is in jeopardy. It's like a house. You pour a foundation to hold a certain size house. You would not want a 2000 square foot house sitting on a 1500 square foot foundation... the whole thing could crumble. A house built for two that now has three or four is crowded and uncomfortable for everyone inside.
Unfortunately, in this case, when her infidelity was discovered by her husband he handled the situation completely incorrectly. Instead of handling what they were feeling and trying to understand why she was doing what she did - he decided that one good turn deserved another and went out and had an affair himself. Part of the anger fueling him was that he was haunted by the "what might have beens" of the situation. If she went this far with her ex, what was keeping her from taking the next step or doing this again with someone else? 
There is always a cause and effect in infidelity. There is a trigger that sets in motion a chain reaction that ultimately switches that red light to green. It's not always sexual, in fact; in most cases it is emotional. This is why when you had the posts on flirting and people were heatedly swearing that there's nothing wrong it - I vehemently disagreed. An innocent flirtation is a seedling. Given the right amount of time and attention, it will settle in and grow. Why plant the seed? 
Hope this answered the question.
BougieLand, what say you? Do you consider sexting an act of infidelity? Harder or easier to forgive and forget than the physical act? Do share your thoughts...

32 comments:

thinklikeRiley said...

This begs the question - if you married, what da HELL you doing sending nekky pics to some other dude. Hell yeah that's cheating.

But Imma take me down some notes about that emotional capital. Good stuff. 

Lady4Real said...

Speaking from experience as the cheated on and the cheater any communication of a flirtation or sexual nature outside of your committed relationship is cheating. Cheating happens when needs are not met; financial, emotional, physical, or spirtual. Some cheat because they aren't meant to be monogamous and don't have the courage to discuss these feelings with their mate. Some cheat because their relationship is lacking. Some cheat due to insecurites. Cheating is cheating though, sexting is just phone sex using TTY. How would you feel if you walked in on your mate having phone sex? I would be beating his ass with that phone, honestly. So if I picked up his cell and saw nuddy pics and sexual convo I would beat his ass with that phone. I would disclose some personal info but I won't, just know when the mind begins to wander the body is soon to follow.

Rob said...

We had a situation in the office where one of the temps was sending naked pics to a VP. He ignored them and her and she sued him for sexual harassment. He hadn't done anything and that chick ended up getting a six figure settlement.  Lesson learned - report it, block it, keep it moving.

Bryan Anthony said...

Here's what I don't get - don't people realize that those photos and convos can end up anywhere? At any time? Once you hit send, they are no longer yours.

On the other side - no, I would not be coll with my wife sending pics to other dudes. I'm sending a side eye to her littler "work friend" who tends to slid into habitual linestepper mode. I don't play around with it. 

Grace said...

I saw this one. She was raggedy and then he doubled down by having an affair which resulted in an outside child. So now you've brought another damn person into it. And now they are back together and teeheeing.

I don't know that I could do it. Both of them seemed to take their vows very lightly which had me wondering why they even bothered in the first place.

ClayJones said...

We having a saying to put a stop to all this foolishness - Don't start none, won't be none.

ishtar_79 said...

I just watched the clip on OWNs website.   I figured he'd be a mouth breathing idiot putting his business all up and through mass media.  People who thrive on or are okay with drama are straight up unbalanced and need psychiatric help.

As far as people taking vows lightly, I'm starting to see that people can be some real cowards and down right petty in relationships, so maybe that "lightly" results from people being unwilling to own their feelings and work it out within the relationship or move on and work it out.  

Angela said...

Agreed! I've tried to tell people...

CaliGirlED said...

 Just wow!

CaliGirlED said...

I think it's cheating. Furthermore, anything you have to hide from your spouse/SO negatively affects your marriage/relationship. Had a married co-worker who asked me to lunch. I told him as soon as he brought a signed trip slip from his wife, we were good to go. He thought that was so funny, he continued to ask so that he could laugh when I said, "You have your trip slip?"

Emotional infidelity is far more damaging than people realize. I would
not want my partner investing that much time with another woman, sexually or otherwise.

tishatweets said...

I've learned that each couple defines their own parameters for cheating. For me and any relationship I'm in, it's very simple; if I can't do it in front of you, it's not ok. So yes, sexting someone else is infidelity. I believe it would bother me on the same level as physical. Besides, if he's not wanting to do those types of things with me we have deeper problems to address.

tishatweets said...

"Emotional infidelity is far more damaging than people realize. "

YES! I think it's especially true for women. Well for me. If she is able to capture your heart she has everything else already--whether you've been physically intimate or not.

tishatweets said...

Yep. That is why I don't play that "work husband/work wife" stuff. I know a lot of people do, and I mean no offense if anyone here does, but for ME it can lead to no good. I had someone here make a joke that someone here was my work husband. Shut that down immejiately.

Penni Brown said...

I saw the episode with the young black couple where the wife was sexting her ex. I believe their therapist said the same thing as Dr. Jayme. The sexual attention she spent on her ex should've/could've been used on her hubby. I thought it was interesting that the husband one up'd her and had a physical affair. Both parties seemed rather immature. Say no to sexting!

Penni Brown said...

Wait - Is the work husband/work wife thing a euphamism for 'at work hook up buddy'? I thought this was  a completely platonic, good work chemistry/team mate kind of thing. 

tishatweets said...

I don't think it necessarily means a hook-up buddy. But there's ground between that and "completely platonic" that can be covered. I just don't like the connotation.

CaliGirlED said...

"If she is able to capture your heart she has everything else already--whether you've been physically intimate or not."...YES right back at ya!

Pellinore said...

To me cheating is cheating. Physical and emotional, which are not always mutually exclusive, don't make a difference to me. I will still question the person's commitment to the relationship and find it hard to trust that person again. I feel like saying "it's just sex" discounts the premeditated planning that goes into obtaining sex outside of the relationship. Makes me think it's so easy to find "just sex" again whereas an emotional bond isn't something that is really planned. But you can certainly take steps to allow for something to happen.

CaliGirlED said...

 I have one broker that calls me that because I bust his chops here and his wife busts them at home. She thinks it's funny so...  It can be a very gray area with folks without the right understanding, so I don't use the term.

tishatweets said...

"I feel like saying "it's just sex" discounts the premeditated planning that goes into obtaining sex outside of the relationship."

This.

Bryan Anthony said...

 It's usually just an associate but I don't like for lines to blur. There's one person thinking it's platonic/getting along at work and the other is thinking it could be something else.

BB Waite said...

Thing is - the ex reached out looking for a way in and she gave it to him. The minute she didn't shut him down with "great to hear from you, hope all's well, see you next lifetime" it was a line crossed. And when she was in the bathtub clicking pictures, she knew she was dead ass wrong. 

It's one thing for the devil to drag you kicking and screaming towards the dark side, it's another to open the door and invite him to move in. Too churchy, I know. But there it is.

SpkTruth2Pwr said...

Ummm is this a trick question?  Yeah, it definitely is cheating.  I mean there is much more invested in that, and a connection is being maintained.  Sex is cheating too, so I am not sure you could use the "well at least I haven't been sexting for 3 months" argument, but I will say if someone says it will never happen again after sex, I'd be more apt to believe them.

Trey Charles said...

Of course it is and flagrant as well. Just as hard to forgive as the physical act.

MariSol said...

I don't understand that kind of relationship and I don't want that kind of relationship.

GammasWorld said...

I agree 1000% with Dr. Jayme ... if you're investing that much energy and effort into hiding your shiggity from your spouse then your relationship can't help but suffer.  Hell, most of us have a hard enough time finding time to properly woo our partners and juggle between work, children, school, etc.    My philosophy is if I can't say or do whatever we're talking about in front of my partner then it's something that shouldn't be said.   That's so clear to me and I really struggle with why other people "can't see that".    

datdudeincali said...

Finally made it back to BnB - Been gone for far too long. 
My two cents - anytime you are working hard to keep something a secret, you already know it's wrong.

Cocoa Winston said...

It's one thing for the devil to drag you kicking and screaming towards the dark side, it's another to open the door and invite him to move in.
Amen.

GrownAzzMan said...

Welcome back bruh.

EC Thompson, MD said...

So, I came over to BnB to see what you have to say about Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke, Georgetown law student, a slut. I see nothing. I hear a chippin' bird. That's all. Captain OxyContin who hasn't graduated from squat had the nerve to call a law student who is paying for comprehensive health insurance which doesn't cover birth control pills. WTH??? I need some bougie to sort this out for me. 

Brneyed1 said...

I'm late, but I had to say I'm printing and sharing this post with a few people I know.  I only wish more people had commented, if only to add more strength to what I'd been telling them for a long while:  if you're doing something with someone that you KNOW would hurt your S.O. if they found out about it, you are cheating.  PERIOD.

Thanks for the ammo Bougieland.

One Chele said...

We having a saying to put a stop to all this foolishness - Don't start none, won't be none.

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