Temweka Msisha- Lilongwe
I think and believe it is not cheating as long you have good intentions at heart for your partner. It is just like you are chatting with someone else. When you are in a relationship, it does not mean that you cannot text or talk with people of the opposite sex. What matters most is setting boundaries.
Phoebe Bushiri- Ntcheu
It may not be cheating, but flirting is a dangerous game. You might not take it seriously, but the person on the other end might think there is something more to it. It has the potential of brewing trouble. Cheating starts with small things like flirting, before you know it, you are hooked to the person. It only shows luck of respect for your partner.
Agnes Phiri- Chitawira
Flirting must be taken seriously. It is from such that people develop emotional attachments. To me, once a person is emotionally attached to someone else, they are no longer yours. So yes, online flirting is cheating. That is just my opinion.
Experts say social media websites and the Internet can both help and harm relationships. The key is establishing boundaries of what is appropriate or what is inappropriate online.
Katherine Hertlein, a licensed marriage and family therapist and assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, helps clients with similar cases.
â€œThe first thing I do is try to resolve the ambiguity of what constitutes an affair and what does notâ€ Hertlein said. Infidelity varies from couple to couple and depends on whether the partner of a wandering lover feels betrayed, even if the perpetrator thinks flirtatious actions fall short of cheating.
As Internet use increases, the structure and process of marriages will also change, Hertlein said. On a structural level, couples need to establish limitations and expectations within the relationship. Social media and dating sites affect the process of forming and maintaining intimate connections, too. But the pros of such technology are frequently overshadowed by the cons.
â€œSocial media and the Internet allow us to be this person that we feel we cannot be in our offline life,â€ Hertlein said, pointing out that others may not realise they are behaving inappropriately outside their marriages or relationships. â€œYou do not actually recognise that you are growing closer to someone on the Internet because it just looks like you are having conversation, and that is why I think it could be really seductive in some ways.â€
Social sites make cheating easy, she said, so much so that women are catching up to men in the infidelity department. Hertlein said married women may be more likely to pursue affairs online because of the mediumâ€™s emotional appeal. The trend also results from women having equal professional opportunities as men, leading to meeting new people outside of the home, she said.