What is digital infidelity?

Are you or your spouse guilty of digital infidelity? Many people are not aware of the very real emotional impact that online communications can have on a relationship until it’s too late.

The internet, new technologies and social media have made it easier than ever to stay connected to contacts and meet new people.  It has also made the line between what is ‘cheating’ and what isn’t a whole lot clouded.

We all know that secretly meeting up with that ex-lover or new workmate behind our partner’s back is wrong, but what about an exchange of messages over email or social media?

Where exactly do the boundaries lie when it comes to digital communications and relationships?

digital infidelity

For many people, particularly older generations, cheating on a spouse was usually defined as a physical misdemeanour, whereas in today’s digital age cheating can take many forms.

Digital infidelity can be defined as secretly engaging in online communications that overstep relationship boundaries behind your partner’s back.  This could include flirtatious chatting, sending inappropriate photos or forging an emotional bond through online conversations.

Many people mistakenly see the screen separating them from the other person as a barrier that prevents their new virtual relationship from becoming a ‘real’ infidelity, but this isn’t the case at all.  Digital cheating can be just as damaging to a relationship as physical cheating.

What counts as over-stepping the mark?

As our reliance on smartphones increases digital infidelity becomes more topical with the term ‘micro-cheating’ recently being coined by an Australian psychologist.  The term micro-cheating is being used to describe small actions such as leaving heart emojis on another person’s post which could potentially lead up to a digital infidelity.  Whilst these actions may seem insignificant to some couples, they may mean more to others.

It all boils down to what you and your partner are both comfortable with.  If in doubt, have the conversation so that you know where you stand.  As long as you don’t feel the need to hide any conversations you’re having from your partner and are open about who you’re talking to then you’re probably ok, it’s when you feel the need to hide your actions that there is usually a problem.

Signs of digital infidelity

The signs of any kind of infidelity are often very similar.  Your partner may try to hide things from you, demand more privacy and withdraw from you to spend more time alone.

In the case of digital infidelity, you may notice them spending an increased amount of time online, changing their sleeping pattern or becoming more secretive about what they’re doing online.

What to do if you suspect digital infidelity

Suspicions of infidelity can be very damaging in any relationship.  The first thing to do is to try to talk to your partner, explain what you’re feeling and see if there is a simple explanation for their behaviour.

If your partner flat out denies any digital infidelity but the suspicious behaviour continues then it may be time to call in an expert to either put your mind at rest or discover the truth.  Here at Investigate UK our matrimonial investigators can conduct a professional and discrete investigation to uncover who your partner is engaging with both online and offline.

To find out more about matrimonial investigation service, give Insight Investigations a call for free on 0800 533 5455.