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You Asked: Is Talking to Girls Online Considered Cheating?

Dear Sugar,

My boyfriend and I have been together for almost a year now. Our relationship was open from the beginning. He was allowed to sleep with other women as long as it was just sexual. Then we both fell for each other and agreed that the sleeping around should stop. After that, he continued to talk to other women online, insisting that they were just friends. I found pictures of other girls on his computer and copies of conversations. He admitted he made a mistake and that he would stop.

I believe him when he says he loves me, and I believe that he hasn't physically slept with another women since we talked about it many months ago, but I'm afraid that talking is an addiction and that he will never be able to stop. I've asked him why he does it, especially if he knows it hurts me, and he couldn't explain it. I told him to break up with me if he doesn't want to be with just me, but he swears that he wants to stay together. After this last time I said I'd give him one more chance, but I can't help but think that he's still doing it. I just can't seem to get myself to trust him, and I'm afraid I'm going to lose him because of it. What should I do?

—Mistrusting My Man Mandy

To see Dear Sugar's answer

Dear Mistrusting My Man Mandy,

Strong and healthy relationships are built on trust and respect, and I'm sorry to tell you this, but you have neither. If your boyfriend truly loved and cared for you, he wouldn't be chatting online with other girls. It doesn't matter that he's not physically cheating on you — he's doing it emotionally, which in my opinion is worse.

He's got to prove to you that he's being faithful. I know you're giving him another chance because you love him, but unless he makes a solid promise that he'll stop, you're always going to have that doubt in the back of your mind. You need to put yourself first here. Make sure you have a serious talk with him before continuing your relationship like this so you can be certain that his intentions are genuine.


Join The Conversation
getstinko getstinko 9 years
My first reaction is that you are a freaking idiot. The open relationship crap - for sex only - is something out of a bad cosmo article. Have some self respect. If he's still online chatting with other women, he's using it as a way to stay close to other women. You need to have him invested in you and your relationship - not still flirting with other women. Please do not have kids if your relationship stays this superficial and vapid. You have self worth, kick this terd to the curb.
remedios remedios 9 years
I don't think it's cheating at all, but when it turns into something more, then it would be. And it's not too far to go for it to turn into that something.
desikitteh desikitteh 9 years
there is no detail about what is in these conversations and what types of photos they are. why are people assuming here? that said: why is this girl snooping through her bf's comp? no trust here. that's the real issue imo.
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 9 years
I agree with DearSugar. He is not cheating on you technically, but he is not respecting you by being honest, open and above all...respectful. I wouldn't want to be in a relationship where you have to worry all the time about him chatting with other is just not worth it in my eyes.
karlotta karlotta 9 years
I don't know, I'm not as radical as you guys. I caught my BF doing the same thing; we're both very big IM users and chat with a ton of people, and like most guys would allow themselves to flirt harmlessly with a waitress, some do it online. It depends on the frequency, the tone of the dialogue, and whether there are "regular" girls or it's just a random here and there. I'm not saying it's acceptable, and I made sure my BF knew my position on the subject (somebody had to go down on their knees and beg for forgiveness!), but you have to put it in perspective and realize that if he's just making himself feel good by saying a couple of flirty lines every now and then, it's not the same thing as CHEATING. In that case he's just an insecure, immature idiot who needs his ego stroked; not a scumbag. Again, it all depends on what he's saying, how often, and to whom. That said, it needs to stop right now!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
What the crap is going on in this world? someone please tell me how long humanity is going to last with this disregard for values so rampant? seriously.
fashionhore fashionhore 9 years
You should not be bringing this much stress into your life for a simple problem such as this. I think you know what you need to do, you are just scared to do it. Imo, if you have to give anyone the ultimatum of "you have one last chance...", then the situation should be terminated. There have been too many strikes and it's a habitual problem. Good Luck!
lemuse20 lemuse20 9 years
I would consider it cheating - in the sense that the conversation is just more than a generic "Hi, how are you doing", and the fact that he has pictures of other women is considered cheating. He does not need other pictures of women, he is with you. It shows that he's not exclusive, and that he is still looking around. I agree with TeamSugar - he may not be with them physically, but he is definitely with them emotionally. Trust is extremely hard to get back, after his little slip up, I tell you I would be suspicious every single time he gets on the computer. If he loves you like he says he does he would respect you and your feelings and understand where your coming from and stop doing it. But like I said trust is so hard to get back & is extremely vital in a relationship and if you don't have that, everything will crumble.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Our rule is this: if one of us defines something as cheating, it needs to be respected. So if you think it's cheating, it's cheating, regardless of what the rest of us think. What my husband and I would consider "cheating" isn't the same as how other couples define it.
mcreverie mcreverie 9 years
Technically, I don't think it's cheating but I think he's being a rude, chauvinistic idiot. I've always been one to get to know people through their actions not by what they say (I guess I have a trust issue) but when it comes to men these days, I think that's the best way. And if you forget what he's saying and only focus on what he's doing, it becomes clear he's not respecting you whatsoever. Tell him to stop NOW and if he doesn't, be strong and leave him.
nikkeeb nikkeeb 9 years
i think it's considered cheating - or at least inappropriate - given the circumstances, but i have to say that it's difficult/dangerous to start with a relationship the way you guys did and then cold turkey make it exclusive.
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
Why are you wasting your time with someone like this? You don't trust him = it won't work. Leave. You were letting him sleep with other people when your relationship started. He probably thinks that you are easy to control and get over on and is taking advantage of that weakness. I say move on.
citizenkane citizenkane 9 years
Its cheating.... and its WEIRD. Tell him to get a life. With you.
nicachica nicachica 9 years
i think Chakra_healer made an excellent point - Why are you giving him all the power? If you don't like what he's doing, then don't tell him that he HAS to break up with you, YOU DO IT! After all, he's not the one that has a problem talking to other girls online. Rather, you're the one that doesn't like it. And you're allowing it to continue. So where does that leave you? You have a choice and you know what that choice is. Dump his cheating butt and go off and recoup. I think you need to do some soul searching as to why you would give explicit permission to a guy to sleep around with other girls when you want to be with him and then take it back and then get mad when he cheats on you in a different way? I really hope you realize that you are worth more than that and you don't have to give so much of yourself when you don't get anything worthwhile in return. You deserve better, please believe me! Good luck.
Lourdan_Hazei Lourdan_Hazei 9 years
I can say (with chagrin) that I held on to a man with similar proclivities for WAY too long. And I regret putting so much effort into a relationship that, as I can with my 20/20 hindsight, was doomed. Once its been expressed that the 'chatting' bothers you and you've asked him to stop - it definitely becomes cheating and/or emotional abuse of a sort. And, sad to say, the chances of him quitting (especially once you've found evidence that he hadn't ever really quit) are slim-to-none. Just chatting with other people isn't necessarily cheating, though. I've just found that more often than not, it ends up becoming more and eventually it'll cause problems in a relationship. I vote to get out of this situation. And P.S. The reason you can't seem to trust him is because he's given you NO reason to. :)
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
wait now. when you gave him permission to sleep with other women, what did you do yourself? what did he give you? did you have permission to sleep with other men? Furthermore, it's as much about health as it is respect and self-esteem. "Letting" him sleeping with other women puts you at risk for STD's. The fact that he would even DO this to you and agree with this arrangement is lousy!
gooniette gooniette 9 years
you're not going to lose him. he's going to lose you. you might want to think about why you're holding on to this guy. he doesn't seem worth it.
blingbling blingbling 9 years
It is, but considering how you began your relationship with him I don't think you should be too surprised. I hope you've learned your lesson with "open" relationships - if now you expect him to be faithful then you're fooling yourself.
Lila-Fowler Lila-Fowler 9 years
do not put up with him! online talk is cheating. he doesnt have a clean record if he sleeps with other girls (before). he should just WANT to ONLY sleep and be with you if he truly respected you and cared about how you feel. please find a guy who does. not him.
vmruby vmruby 9 years
I would consider it cheating if the same thing were happening between me and my guy, so my answer is yes it is.
Emiily Emiily 9 years
I think it's disgusting that people who claim to love each other would be allowed to sleep with other people. I can't imagine doing that or allowing my partner to do that. It's ridiculous. Talking to girls online and sleeping with other girls, it sounds to me like this guy just wants it all. Girls to fuck and you to do his laundry. Have people forgotten about AIDS, or HPV? I guess I'll consider myself luck that I am in a 100% monogamous and wonderful relationship!
chakra_healer chakra_healer 9 years
Trust and respect are very important. Which is why it was wrong to snoop - what is on his computer including the contents of his chats are none of your business. If you suspected something was off, you should have just been direct with any suspicions. Having said that, I would ask, how recent were the pics and chats? I know very few men who would delete a hot photo, they could have been from before your relationship became serious. Fortunately chats tend to have dates, assuming those were recent, you know he is actively talking to other women. However, the letter never stated what the nature of the conversations were. If you are bugging out because he is chatting with other women in a friendly manner, I'd say "grow up". If they are sexual or intimate chats, then tell him it is on par with cheating in your mind and break up with him. I think the problem is you give him way too much power. For example, "he was allowed to sleep around", "I told him to break up with me", etc. Why give him the power to break up with you for his (assumed) wrong actions? And why give a cheater a second chance? If the relationship is not making you happy and you feel betrayed take the initiative to leave it, leave it and don't look back.
Marci Marci 9 years
I wholeheartedly agree with Dear that you're missing the trust and respect, two very key elements for a solid relationship. Why do you want to be with someone that has you worrying, wondering and questioning?
pinkflats pinkflats 9 years
i think it's cheating too, but for some reason i think my opinion would be different if the relationship didn't start that way, where you allowed him to sleep with other woman while he's dating you. personally it's not a situation i like to get into in the first place, but i just hope if you too were doing the deed while he was doing it with other women as well that he was wearing condoms with you and with them. i apologize if i sound judgmental here but that's what concerns me more than if online chatting is cheating.
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