When we talk about affairs, we often categorize them as

emotional, physical, or both. That’s helpful to some extent. Yet

nowadays, there’s another category that we can loosely call the


Unfortunately, there is no

formula to determine when

texting crosses the line into

betrayal. In fact, those who are

behaving in inappropriate ways

quickly learn how to blur this

line so that they can deflect and

continue to do what they’re

doing.In the end, you must

learn to trust your gut.

After all, no one knows your

marriage or your spouse better

communications strictly workrelated,

being transparent

in terms of cell phones and

computers (those who have

nothing to hide, hide nothing),

and working together to

improve your own marriage are

all reasonable requests.

To prevent and overcome

infidelity, couples must learn to

build a loving, respectful and

protective “fortress” around

that they have formed a deep

bond. Too often what begins

as a cautious “hi...was thinking

of u” turns into “i miss u”

and then “can you meet again

tomorrow?” And when it gets to

that point, well, the whole thing

becomes a lot harder to “delete.”

Visit Debra Macleod’s private

practice at

there is a reasonable expectation

of privacy in marriage. Of

An like this: Your


scenario goes

spouse strikes up an oppositesex

friendship with a person

at work, spin or yoga class, the

gym, or through your child’s

school or extra-curricular

activities. For some reason,

they feel compelled to exchange

phone numbers. There’s no real

need for this, although your

spouse tells you that they need

to stay in touch because of work

or to coordinate fitness class,

the kid’s activities, etc.

Soon, their innocent texting

about work or scheduling

begins to escalate into personal,

ever more intimate texting.

Your spouse starts guarding

their cellphone and going into

the next room to text. They

lock their phone, change their

password and delete their text


For a while, you bite your

tongue. After all, nobody

wants to be “that wife” or “that

husband.” You look the other

way and pretend not to notice

or be bothered. You force

yourself to not ask who your

spouse is texting and not show

how worried or hurt you are.

You lay awake and stare at your

partner’s phone, wishing you

could look through it but not

wanting to cross that line.

Finally, you crack.

Choosing your words

carefully, you ask your

partner who he or she

is texting. If you already know

who it is, you might tell your

partner that you are concerned

or feeling second-place. Or

perhaps you wait until your

partner is in the shower and

give in to the urge to scroll

through his or her phone. Either

way, you hear or see something

that makes your stomach sink.

More from Debra Macleod:

• Is A ‘Partner Predator’

Circling Your Husband Or


• 10 Proactive Ways To Fix

The Cracks Forming In Your


• Your Marriage Will Fail For

The Same Reasons Celebrity

Couples Split Up

Here’s where anything can

happen. Your spouse may

downplay the relationship and

shrug off your concerns, saying

“We’re just friends. You have to

trust me.” Or your spouse may

react with an angry, inflated

display of wounded indignation

by saying, “Oh, so I’m not

allowed to have ANY friends?”

He or she may turn the situation

around so that it’s you who

finds yourself explaining your

behavior. He or she may make

you feel paranoid, jealous,

controlling, or pathetic. “You

went through my phone! You’re

crazy. That’s private!”

Of course there are spouses who

are unreasonably jealous and

suspicious, and who behave in

controlling ways. Of course

than you do. Texting affairs are

the gateway to emotional and

physical affairs. Of the infidelity

cases I’ve dealt with in the past

several years, the vast majority

started out as “innocent” texting

between opposite-sex friends

or acquaintances. You are

not over-reacting by insisting

that a spouse end a texting

relationship that you feel in

your heart is undermining your

marriage, and you are not overreacting

by treating it as a form

of infidelity.

Blocking the other

person’s number, keeping

their marriage, which includes

insulating it from the invasive

effects of technology. That’s

something I talk a lot about in

my Couples in Crisis book.

Continued inaction or letting

the texting continue -- perhaps

out of fear of your partner’s

reaction -- only increases the

chances that your partner will

begin to see you as a nagging

barrier to the exciting and

fresh-faced relationship that he

or she enjoys via text messages.

Texting creates a false sense

of intimacy between texters.

Within weeks, they may feel

course some co-workers and

friends need to communicate

after-hours. Of course there

are unhappy marriages that

have deep problems. But that’s

not always the case. Suspicions

are often warranted. Anger,

defensiveness and indignation

may be covers for betrayal.

Explanations may be just

excuses. And all too often, a

texting affair steals so much

time, energy and emotion from

a marriage that a rift forms -- or

widens -- between spouses that

otherwise would have worked

through their marriage troubles.


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