I have two main hatreds in life: brown t-shirts and cheating boyfriends/girlfriends. As I have grown wise and old in my old age, I have noticed that more and more people in relationships are ending up in the tragic pool of being cheated on. This month’s Cosmo told me that 47% of men have cheated on their girlfriends, which is quite shocking really – IT’S PRACTICALLY HALF. But what about the murky waters of sexting*? For those of us who have been victims of stupid boys with equally stupid technology, there are always the doubts of ‘…well he didn’t physically do anything’ and ‘maybe it was only harmless’.
Well, I am here to put my foot down with a firm hand and say it most certainly is not harmless. Sexting might be new territory (though I firmly believe that some Victorian sleezes probably quilled dirty letters to scullery maids behind their wives’ backs) but at the end of the day, it can be just as hurtful.
Why do people sext in the first place?
I have thought long and hard about this one and have come up with a few reasons why boys (or girls, no sexism here!) feel the need to message other people while they are in a relationship.
- For an ego boost: There’s nothing like a bit of attention from someone you find vaguely attractive to make you feel good about yourself. In theory, the person you’re in a relationship should be there to make you feel good. But for some people, that’s not enough. For some bizarre reason, being told that you are sexy by random boys or girls is a better way to boost your ego than by your girlfriend/boyfriend who loves you. It is a strange world we live in.
- To sow the wild oats: This applies to boys mostly, but I think there is some subconscious evolutionary trigger in guys that make them want to make sure that they have lots of offspring. Whatever natural urges you have, laddies, remember: we are not animals. We have thumbs and the capability to learn the words to every Lady Gaga song ever made. Keep your wild oats for your woman only.
- Because we can: Technology is great and I love Twitter with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. But it can be our own worst enemy too. Let’s be honest, physically cheating on someone is so much effort these days. You have to actually go out of the house, find somewhere to do the dirty deed AND get rid of the smell of unfamiliar perfume. Snore. Why bother when you can just hop on Facebook or iMessage and get rid of the evidence with a single click?
- Out of boredom: This is one that is not very nice to accept…a relationship might just be on its last legs and that can drive people to stray. It’s not a valid excuse in the slightest and it’s still a cowardly thing to do, but it can be a knee-jerk response if things aren’t going well relationship-wise.
- They are knobs with no knobs: Some people are just not very nice.
Is sexting really that bad?
My immediate response would usually be ‘yes, with bells on’ but it’s a bit more complicated than that I reckon. It’s easier to forgive a naughty message or text and easier to convince yourself that your significant other only has eyes for you really. But in my mind, if your boyfriend or girlfriend is looking/thinking/describing (ugh, get a grip) sleeping with somebody else, it’s a bit irrelevant if they actually do it or not.
- It will turn you into a crazy person: No one wants to be the girl that has to dictate who her boyfriend sees or what he does. But at the end of the day, if he can’t be trusted to behave like a normal human being then it is his own fault if his girlfriend becomes a crazy paranoid stalker.
- You will feel like crap: Nothing dents your self confidence like a boyfriend/girlfriend who has to find gratification through a phone or a laptop.
- It’s a slippery slope: Whatever your boyf or girlf says, people who sext behind their partner’s back are definitely more likely to cheat physically.
- It’s disrespectful: Relationships are about being bothered about the person you are with. If you are willing to risk hurting the person you should in theory care most about, then away with you. There is no place for you here.
What to do if your boyfriend/girlfriend is sexting.
Well, it’s really up to you. I’m a believer that you shouldn’t let what other people think influence your decisions too much. If you’re not bothered about it, then that’s fine. But if you are, have a long and hard think about whether it’s worth staying with him/her. It goes without saying that things are going to be MEGA different if you do, and you’ll have to work at things to make sure it’s all ok.
But also don’t worry about saving face – who cares if a few people think you are an idiot for staying with your sexting boyf or girlf? Second chances are worth it. BUT third chances are not. If they carry on being useless, then no matter how brilliant they are in other ways, they are the dregs of society and don’t deserve you.
And thus concludes my two cents on the matter. It’s always worth remembering that no matter how great a person can seem, if they’re treating you badly, then they shouldn’t have a place in your life. While it seems that every person ever treats sexting as an ok activity these days, there are certainly people out there who won’t tell a random strangers that they want to have sexual relations with them.
* I’ve used the word sexting, but this post isn’t just focused on whether your boyfriend or girlfriend has sent explicit messages. I think any sort of message that’s flirty or has sexual undertones OR is to someone they have no need to message (i.e. a random gal on Facebook at 4am) is definitely not ok. NOT OK GUYS.