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When is it Cheating?

Dear Aunty Slut,

I found some texts in my guy’s phone that really upset me. They were to some girl he calls ‘babe’ and ‘sexy’. The texts are mostly about liking sexual stuff that he’s never mentioned to me. I confronted him about it and he got really defensive saying I shouldn’t have gone through his phone, and that he hasn’t actually done anything with this girl so I should chill out. But I’m really hurt. Who is in the wrong here?

– Hurt Girl

Dear Hurt Girl,
You’re both in the wrong- but I think he’s probably just slightly more of a douche than you. So my answer is going to be two-fold.

1) Don’t go through people’s phones without asking. Ever. For any reason. It’s a serious dick-move and will only ever end in heartache. If you feel like going through his phone (and trust me, we all do at some point) it says more about you than it does about him. Relationships are about trust- and how can you have trust if you’re checking up on each other? It’s like you’re expecting that person to cheat on you- and then when you find evidence you and say ‘aha! I knew it!’ instead of trusting your partner to stay faithful. It’s about mutual respect, which from where I’m sitting seems to be severely lacking in this clusterfuck. By all means, if you suspect your man of cheating, hit him up about it, but hunting for evidence just proves there is a lack of trust in your relationship- and that’s a huge red flag that the relationship isn’t working.

2) Whether he’s fucked this girl or not is irrelevant, he’s still cheating. He might not see it that way because his dick’s still in his pants, but when he says he hasn’t done anything with this girl he has omitted one very important word- ‘yet’. Cheating, at its core, is the way people express contempt. It’s the way that people prove to themselves and others that their partners are not necessary to them. It’s how they punish themselves and others. It’s abuse of trust, it’s cowardly and it hurts- really, really badly.

By texting this girl, he’s telling you he doesn’t need you and that you’re not that important to him. On some level he wants out of your relationship (maybe because you check up on him all the time and make him feel like you believe the worst of him?) but he’s too chicken shit to actually do it. Save him the trouble and kick him to the curb. If you don’t trust each other, and he’s texting someone else then there is something seriously wrong with this picture.

Here is the way that I communicate how I feel about this to anyone I get involved with. I make sure they know it’s important to both my emotional and sexual health and that it is the condition of me being involved with them. It is: “If you want to fuck me, let’s do that! If you want to fuck someone else, fuck off.” Simple. No equivocation.

You don’t own someone just because you’re together. They aren’t your property you jealously guard. They’re another human being who you trust with yourself (key word TRUST), and the only way it will work is if you respect and communicate with each other.

Both of you, sort your shit out.

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