A married man texting another woman might spell the complete downfall of your marriage or it might be nothing at all. It’s all about the context, so how do you figure out if this is something you need to worry about?
A married man simply texting another woman is fine if he would normally text his friends that way. Once there are warning signs like discussing intimate things, discussing your marriage with her, or hiding messages from you then it’s a problem you need to deal with.
I’ve talked before about what to do when your husband is talking to another woman. With texting, it can be a little different as the circumstances change. Texting isn’t necessarily better or worse but while you might want to take a look at that guide, I’m going to try to focus more on texting and what you need to do about it – if anything.
Is Texting Another Woman Considered Cheating?
There answer here really depends on what (and how) he’s texting. I’m going to try and cover things as broadly as I can here and give you some examples but if you’d rather explain the circumstances for more specific advice: click here and take the marriage assessment quiz.
Your Husband Having Female Friends is Perfectly Healthy
If it’s just texting another woman the same way as he would text his male friends then, no. It’s not cheating. If you feel uncomfortable with it then you should (calmy) bring it up with him. Not to stop him (it’s perfectly healthy for him to have female friends) but just to explain that you’re feeling self-conscious about it so the two of you can work through this together.
You might ask that he shares messages with you or that you meet the other woman. It’s important he knows that talking as friends is perfectly fine but you’d just feel more relaxed if he shared them with you.
I really don’t suggest trying to stop your husband from having a female friend unless you have reason to believe there’s more going on. We’ll cover that in more detail in a moment.
An Emotional Affair is a Different Story
Studies tend to show that most women don’t mind if their husband is texting factual information or general chit-chat to a female friend. The problems tend to arise when emotional conversations start getting sent.
So, is texting cheating? Not in itself, no. Having an emotional affair via text is a different story. This can take a couple of different forms but some obvious red alerts:
- If he’s discussing intimate things with her he wouldn’t normally discuss with a guy friend. Messages like ‘I feel like I can talk about anything with you‘ is an obvious problem. Being close to a female friend is one thing, but he shouldn’t be sharing things he doesn’t share with you.
- He should not be complaining about your marriage unless it’s a very close friend and he’d do the same thing with a male friend.
- He should not be lying about who he’s speaking to or what about. ‘I didn’t want to make you worry‘ is not a good reason to lie about who you’re talking to.
If your husband is texting another woman it isn’t the fact that he’s texting which is the problem. It’s the context and what he’s talking about. The above warning signs are just as troublesome if he’s talking to another woman face to face.
These are more specific to text messages:
- He should not be trying to hide messages from you. Deleted messages or using a hidden messages feature suggests a real problem.
- If he’s messaging women through a dating site well… that one’s pretty obviously a problem.
- If he’s messaging a lot of women at once without reason and wouldn’t normally do this with guys then it’s… worrisome at least. In the guide I linked above there’s an example of a guy messaging two dozen other women while his wife was pregnant. Not friends who happen to be women, he was intentionally finding these women through social media and reaching out to them. This is a problem.
So if there’s more to it than he’s just texting someone else who happens to be a female – it’s a problem you’re going to need to address for the sake of your marriage.
The Lines Can Blur
It used to be pretty simple. If your husband was sneaking away to cheat on you in a hotel then it was infidelity.
In a world where we’re ever more connected by our phones and social norms develop in how we write things can become a little… muddier.
Subtleties in Text Messages
It would clearly be wrong for him to kiss goodbye to another woman he was talking to in the street but it’s not uncommon for people to finish text messages with ‘xxx’ or emojis. More commonly women do this, but men do it as well.
It can be tough to say if this is just a harmless way we communicate together now or a form of micro-cheating on your partner. At the end of the day, you both have to decide on that yourselves.
You Both Have to Agree on the Rules
The perceived rules between what is and isn’t acceptable do vary between people.
I’ve spoken to both men and women who believed that a little harmless flirting didn’t mean anything and would happily join a dating app like Tinder without any real intention of actually cheating on their spouse. For others, the simple act of messaging any other woman is a form of micro-cheating.
I don’t think either extreme is healthy personally and I think open communication (sooner rather than later) between the two of you is important to make sure you’re both clear on where the lines are.
How to Stop a Married Man Texting Another Woman
If there’s an established problem, we need to treat it much the same way as you’d treat the early stages of potential infidelity. Start with opening clear communication, make it clear to your spouse that their behavior isn’t acceptable and whether it’s texts or not, this behavior needs to change.
Let’s get a little more into the details of how we actually do this.
Prepare and Start a Conversation
It’s all too easy to let your emotions call the shots when you start a conversation. This might mean you break down and let him off the hook or that you throw something heavy in his direction. Neither is a good option.
Take the time to organize your thoughts before doing anything else. Ideally, get them down on paper. We’re not talking about The Gettysburg Address here, you can keep it short and simple but focus on what you know he’s doing and make sure he understands how you feel.
You might also want to write down what you’re prepared to do if he doesn’t make adjustments.
Understand He Might See Things Differently
Again, this one comes down to the context of what he’s actually saying in these messages. It’s worth paying attention to this though.
I sometimes get flack when I say this. Guys are not stupid but they don’t always see relationships the same way most women do.
It might be that he’s talking to a woman who’s clearly flirting with him on social media and he hasn’t a clue. She might be thinking ‘affair’ while he’s thinking ‘bowling partner’.
You might confront him and he’ll be genuinely perplexed that there was ever an issue. If he’s telling the truth and genuinely wasn’t trying to flirt with her then it’s pretty straightforward from there.
But He Might Also Lie
This one is so common I’ve had to do a specific guide on husbands denying cheating despite the evidence. If needed, I’ll cover how you can get the evidence in a moment.
It might be his ego comes into play and even though he wasn’t cheating he just feels attacked and resorts to lying.
It might be that he knows he’s in the wrong and the logic here is pretty straightforward.
- He admits to inappropriately texting someone and faces the music.
- He lies about it and might somehow get away with it.
Gathering Evidence (and Maybe Spying on His Phone)
If know that he’s intentionally doing something wrong, I’ve done a guide on using an app to spy on your spouse’s phone (and reviews of the apps you can use).
I cover things like creating a shared phone environment to make it normal for you to use his phone and (if it really comes to it) how you can use spy applications to see what he’s doing. This should really be a last resort, and I never suggest doing this unless you have a real cause.
Apps like this give you access to his phone from your own phone or computer so you can see exactly what he’s talking about with her. But, again, this should only be considered an option if he’s actively showing signs of cheating and not just talking to a female friend.