Once upon a time, when it came to relationships there were few grey areas around what constituted cheating. If someone was to make contact with a third party, either by flirting with them, going out on a date or, ultimately, sleeping with them, it was pretty obvious a red line had been crossed. The waters have been muddied considerably in more recent times, with the advent of the dating websites.
The availability of dating apps
Many people are now using the Internet and this list of dating sites to get to know people, sometimes simply to make new friends, but often because this is a convenient way of reaching out to potential partners. New dating apps are being made available for download regularly, taking advantage of the alluring blend of web technology and romance. But is signing up to a dating app automatically an indication that someone is unsatisfied with their relationship, and is actively seeking a replacement? Or is there more to it than that?
Why people are using these apps
People are downloading dating apps for all sorts of reasons, and no wonder – they are such a convenient tool. Invariably well-designed, they fit in seamlessly with anyone’s existing app collection. People tend to download apps on a whim just as much as making a conscious decision to browse through their App Store to search for something they really need. Dating apps might be advertised out of context and downloaded to a smart device with scarcely a second thought. People will browse through a dating app at their leisure, not necessarily because they are actively seeking a new partner but simply out of a more voyeuristic sensibility. Some users just like looking at profile pictures!
There are many grey areas when it comes to using dating apps. At what stage does this become cheating? It could be argued it is a natural human instinct to flirt with potential partners, and this behavior is rarely taken any further than cheeky or suggestive remarks. For instance, when a couple goes out for a meal, there is nothing to stop either party getting involved in knowing conversations with the waiting staff or anyone else for that matter. This doesn’t automatically mean that one person wants out of the relationship.
These flirty exchanges merely add a frisson of jealousy to any night out. People using dating apps often enact similar activities, getting involved in risque online conversations. Like the restaurant example, this type of flirting is usually harmless – something for the parties to laugh at rather than anything more controversial. However, it’s only natural for the ignored party to feel a twinge of envy when they witness their partner’s face light up at some message pinging into their inbox.
What is considered cheating?
The problem with flirting is that people don’t always know when to exercise restraint. It can be tempting for online connections to lead into something more intense. The more time someone spends on dating apps, albeit in the context of enjoying lighthearted banter, the greater they can get embroiled in a situation that is only going to escalate. The more involved they get in communicating with the same person on the dating site, the greater the temptation will become to get deeper into this situation. Regular messages being sent across the app’s communication channel will lay the foundations of a real rapport. When that happens, either party may well feel the urge to explore their feelings further, beyond the constraints of the dating app. It will only be a matter of time before someone suggests an actual meeting, at which point innocent flirtation becomes cheating, with a capital C.