It has been going on for quite some time. You started as a joke, sexting an old flame you had not seen since college, but what was a joke at first has become a very intense activity you are involved in regularly now. You went from sexting your old friend to doing it with strangers you met on the internet, and now you are hooked to the chase and don’t even act very carefully any longer…

Sexting is becoming more and more popular, as we saw in the previous blogs on this subject, and people’s use and opinion of it vary. Some people feel that sexting, since it does not involve physical contact with the person at the other end of the line, should not be considered infidelity. So, for these people this activity doesn’t interfere with a primary relationship and thus there is no need to share it with a primary partner. They opt for a tacit code of ‘discretion,’ claiming that what one doesn’t know, as the saying goes, doesn’t hurt. Others feel embarrassed and ashamed, even if they continue to do it. Others still feel completely against it.

In the previous blogs we discussed who is most likely to get involved in sexting, and what that may say about the sexting person. Here we are going to address how this activity, when carried out by one of the partners with a third person, affects an intimate relationship.

Some partners may keep these activities secret. However, when things begin to be left out of the marital discourse, it can be the beginning of a slippery slope. More and more exclusions may follow, as partners become more desensitized to their activities and the impact these activities have on each other. So, what started in one sexual area may eventually spill over in other sexual and other non sexual areas of the relationship as well, creating a complex pattern of lies and omissions that take away any possibility for true intimacy.

If you are the partner doing the sexting, you need to reflect on what it is that pushes you to maintain this activity despite the fact that you are in a committed relationship.

The contract intimate partners make with one another can take many forms, and this is ok as long as the two people involved are in agreement with what they expect and what they commit to with each other. However, no matter what kind of agreement you have with your partner, there has to be some integrity and honesty. So, does what you are doing reflect these ingredients?

Ask yourself: Are you happy with your partner?

Do you share the same beliefs in commitment and honesty?

Do you have sexual/attention needs that are unmet?

Are you bored?

Are you feeling that something is missing in your primary relationship, but don’t have the interest or the courage to open up the discussion?

You also need to ask yourself if you have any idea about what your partner feels about it.

Are your partner’s ideas similar to yours?

Have the two of you talked about what each of you wants from your relationship and what you expect from each other?

If you know that your partner feels very differently than you, then your staying in the relationship may require you to stop your activities, or lie about them.

And how do you feel about that?

These are important questions that go beyond your actions and push you to explore some of the root causes of them. Remember, if you don’t know what the root causes of your behaviors are, you are bound to repeat them, over and over.

Once you have honestly answered these questions, you may be in a much better position to understand what the deep seated causes for your actions are. This will give you a wider range of choices that reflect your views of yourself and who you want to be in your relationship.

In the next blog we will discuss what needs to be done if it is your partner who is sexting.

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Author's Bio: 

My name is Daniela Roher, I am a psychotherapist trained in Europe and the US and have been in practice for over 30 years. I have studied in Italy (University of Torino), England (Universities of Cambridge and Oxford), and the United States (Wayne State University), thereby achieving a deep understanding of the human mind and psychopathology. My training includes classes and workshops at the Tavistock Institute in London, England and the London Family Institute, as well as at UCLA. I received a postdoctoral certificate in adult psychoanalytic psychotherapy from the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute, and this model continues to deeply influence my approach and work today