From The Grio — Is sexting cheating? Anthony Weiner’s latest scandal begs the question. In a digital era that makes explicit flirting easy, the nature of cheating might need to be redefined.
Weiner’s behavior has made him this issue’s unwitting poster boy. He left Congress in disgrace after being pressured to step down due to a sexting scandal in 2011. When he announced a similar transgression on Tuesday in the middle of his New York City mayoral bid, many came to question Weiner’s impulse control.
Weiner has admitted to indecent exchanges with three women since leaving congressional office.
Sexting’s impact on a marriage
Much has been made of his patient wife, Huma Abedin, who made remarks on July 23 after her husband admitted to exchanging lewd photos and messages with 23-year-old Sydney Elaine Leathers, an Indiana woman who reportedly “idealized” Weiner during their digital affair.
Amid numerous calls for Weiner to drop out of the New York City mayoral race, as tawdry images of Leathers and transcripts of their raunchy conversations begin to circulate, these revelations not only sully the reputation of the mayoral candidate; we also have to wonder how airing all this dirty laundry has worn on Weiner and Abedin’s bond.
“I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him, and as we have said from the beginning, we are moving forward,” Huma said during the press conference, The Washington Post reports.
Still, the intimate communications between Leathers and Wiener, which sources say occurred daily for months, may have crossed a blurred line from the merely seedy into outright cheating.
Her forgiveness strikes some as premature, if sexting is perceived as cheating, and Weiner has been caught not once, but twice.
Sexting’s fantasy versus spousal reality
“Whether or not ‘sexting’ is cheating is a really tricky one to call,” writes Louisa Peacock of The Telegraph in the UK. “Of course, it depends on so many things – the relationship you’re in, how long you’ve been together, how open your relationship is, how often your partner was ‘sexting’ behind your back, and to whom, and so on. But if it did happen to you, how on earth would you deal with it?”
Over 76 percent of the respondents to a poll on that site affirm that sexting is cheating. Yet, an expert interviewed for the piece states that the exchange of sexual content online is more complicated than many realize.