11 Ways Sexting Hurts Your Marriage

I’ve gotten countless emails this week from people who are married to spouses who “sext,” which is the act of sending flirtatious messages via text message, email, Twitter, Facebook and so on. I wrote this post in response to the question, “Is this cheating? My spouse thinks this is harmless.”

  1. Just because you or your spouse do not define something as “cheating” doesn’t mean it can’t eventually bring your marriage to an end.
  2. Sexting is a form of flirting. Flirting is the first step in courtship. In fact, it’s what led to the two of you getting married. Would you feel comfortable if your spouse were actively courting someone else?
  3. Trust is an important ingredient to a happy marriage. Sexting destroys trust.
  4. If you wouldn’t do it with your spouse sitting right next to you, it’s probably not good for your marriage.
  5. As the saying goes: The grass is always greener where you water it. If you are sexting with someone who isn’t your spouse, you are watering the wrong lawn.
  6. By focusing your attention outside your home, you will end up neglecting what’s inside your home. Trust me: to keep it strong, your marriage will need all of the attention you can give it. Don’t waste your attention where it’s not needed.
  7. When you flirt with someone else – either in person, on the phone, or digitally – you hurt your spouse’s self esteem. A spouse who feels this way is eventually going to check out.
  8. When you flirt with someone else – either in person, on the phone, or digitally – you make it harder for your spouse to feel sexy. A spouse who doesn’t feel sexy isn’t going to want to have sex.
  9. When you flirt with someone else – either in person, on the phone, or digitally – you cause your spouse to feel unloved. If your spouse does not get the love she needs from you, she’s going to be more likely to search for it somewhere else.
  10. If you need a rush, try finding it with your spouse. The two of you can strengthen your marriage by solving this problem together.
  11. If you don’t feel sexy, try talking to your spouse about the problem. The two of you can strengthen your marriage by solving this problem together.

There is one way sexting can help your marriage. It’s this: do it with your spouse. Text “you are hot” to your spouse. Text “I can’t wait to see you naked” to your spouse. Everything you were thinking of sexting to someone else? Sext it to your spouse.


278 comments… add one

  • Red November 1, 2015, 9:35 pm

    I’m 34 and have been married for 7 years. I love my husband dearly and never wanted to hurt him with what I have done. We have 3 very young children. About 4 years ago my working relationship with my boss turned into flirting and sexting. My husband confronted me as he saw my texts and he contacted the other man. All ended. I get pregnant with my second and leave the job for another. I get pregnant with my 3rd… 2 years go by and I haven’t sexted. I have my 3rd baby.. I start drinking wine at night.. My husband pats no attention to me and is glued to his group texts with his guy friends. I’d scream for attention from him.. Would want to talk but nothing I had to say was important.
    One day I’m at work walking in the street and I bump into the man I used to text.

    I email him and we start talking via email and starts turning into racy emails again. I know that I got lost in this stupid game. 7 months go by and we decided that this has to end before it turns into something that’s not worth it.
    My husband finds some emails with pictures and drunk emails I sent him and now wants to divorce me. Help what can I do. He’s basically done with me. He’s the love of my life.

    • April November 9, 2015, 1:45 pm

      Have you tried being honest? I find it’s not always just a one way street. Yes what you did was wrong but you had needs that were not being fulfilled that he is not taking responsibility for either. Maybe write it all down and let him read it when he is ready.

      That being said, my ex husband ignored me and would flirt with other women. He would get into pretty graphic conversations with other women online and would go months without touching me. When I finally left he didn’t understand. It’s been 7 years and he still acts like I was the only one in the wrong for not being able to deal with being ignored.

      • Dan December 22, 2015, 3:17 pm

        Can you be more slanted in your views??

    • Tmx100 November 17, 2015, 1:18 pm

      As a husband that was HURT by a wife that did the same thing to me but after 37 years of marriage and with someone who I considered my BEST FRIEND.
      Now I might not be perfect I did nothing wrong! It was YOUR decision to cheat on your husband and not talk to him and demand that he pays more attention to you NOT his. He might be the love of your life but not your true lover. You deserve to be dumped.

      • Dan December 22, 2015, 3:22 pm

        Well said…. There is a stupidity in a lot of women today that have this idealized relationship in heads that the husbands will never live up to… No matter how good we treat them.

  • Joey November 23, 2015, 8:38 pm

    I have been with my wife for 14 yrs married 4 she chose to msg a guy from work some raunchy stuff things she had never said to me even planned to meet him wed when I went to work tells me it was harmless and had no plan to act on msges how do I trust again

    • Dan December 22, 2015, 3:26 pm

      You don’t… Leave, you’re making it easy for her to act with no consequences. In the long run, you will suffer self esteem issues and self respect issues.

      • Mark August 11, 2016, 8:14 am

        Yes, a single transgression is worth throwing 14 years away. Dan, stick to whatever it is you do for a day job and leave the couples counseling to the professionals.

    • Kim March 26, 2016, 7:32 pm

      Joey my friend I’m in same boat my husband has a problem with social media n talking dirty to other women. Two times it has happened trusting him again isn’t going to come for free

  • Carolyn January 29, 2016, 4:23 pm

    God, I preferred life before whatsapp and facebook. I have encountered this problem too, and even though my partner promises he has stopped talking to the other woman, and i believe him as he leaves his phone lying around, I hate the sight of his god damn phone. It’s not even the same one he had before. but I still hate it! It took a while to try and get things back on track. I explained to him that I chat to men who are nothing more than platonic friends, even an ex. But my conversations are not innappropriate in any way. I bought him a book by Denis Hickey ” how to make a woman happy” and I can say it has helped a lot in the recovery of our relationship

  • Zerin February 25, 2016, 2:33 pm

    Excellent advice. If you’re in a monogamous relationship then sexting or flirting outside marriage is cheating.

  • Na February 28, 2016, 2:20 am

    He’s sexting and I feel every bit of this unsexy, unloved, ignored, it’s so hurtful he won’t try with me and looks outside of our relationship for what he needs

  • Amy March 4, 2016, 11:42 pm

    I recently found out that my husband of 10 years has been sending suggestive messages on Facebook to random women over the past 4 years. I only found out because the boyfriend of the last woman caught them and sent me copies of the messages 4 months after he caught them. My husband has been off Facebook since they were caught- for the last 4 months, and seems to believe that because he chose to end Facebook on his own, then there is no problem. These messages were very graphic and sexual in nature and I really don’t understand why he needed to have these conversations. The earlier ones were mild, but each escalated with intensity until the final one. I wouldn’t call these relationships because each only would last for maybe one evening but I feel like he was still searching. I really feel the final girl would have escalated and became physical but they were caught. Just don’t know what caused it and why. Very hurtful.

    • RavSean March 6, 2016, 8:45 pm

      Amy, et al…

      I applaud your husband putting a stop to Facebook. It is a solid first step. It is, however, only a first step. In ceasing outside intimate contact, he has only addressed his wrongful action. He has not addressed the hurt that he caused you. He has not addressed your feelings of betrayal. Failure to acknowledge your feelings perpetuates the pain you feel. He is answering only the question of ‘what’ – what did he do wrong? He is not answer the question of ‘how’ – how did it make Amy feel? Until he addresses that second question, you will likely have plenty of reason to write messages similar to what you wrote above.

      RavSean´s last blog post ..Mockingbird…

      • Mark August 11, 2016, 8:21 am

        I agree with RavSean, but there is another piece to the puzzle. You say in your OP that you don’t know what caused it. THAT is what you should be focusing on. Odds are there is something amiss in your relationship that needs to be addressed so you can move forward in a healthy relationship. And while he is 100 percent at fault for doing this, there is likely something he feels that is missing in his relationship with you and instead of talking to you about it (like he should have), he did this. It is absolutely not your fault, but there is a chance that he feels something that you do, or don’t do, led him to these actions. And I am speaking from very recent experience in a case where I was in your shoes, not his!

  • Rene March 31, 2016, 8:08 am

    I did chat with a guy but on my end it was clean. He would ask for pics, I sad no and have every reason not to. He would say I want him, and I would say I didn’t say that. My hubby found our messages and hates me. I know I should have told the guy to go away, but was to nice and caught up in the attention. Do you think that it is possible to be forgiven? He wants to end this 16 yr marriage. I am taking responsibility for my actions.

  • Mel April 14, 2016, 9:29 am

    Just wanted to vent really. I have been in a 20 year relationship, married 7, i always thought him my soulmate (i would think about him and he would call, that kind of connection). Over the last 9 years he has been sexting other women. Created email accounts, using phone apps, I have caught him so many times but the pain is exactly the same. Why the f..k do i stay, becuase we have a child, and still a small part of me loves him, I do not and will not ever trust him, that has died, although i love him he has slowly killed my profoundness of my love for him. Every time i catch him, we talk, i cry, i explain how painful, he says he will stop, it’s just repetitive. He is an amazing dad, he is also generous and caring, everyone loves him. I’m not easy to live with, I have anger issues (which i’m working on and succeeding), I suffer with depression, i’m not that intelligent (he is an intellect with great intelligence) can be very moody, I do have issues. The last time I found out was christmas just gone, it was the same young girl he was sexting the christmas before, so I had exactly 2 christmases of pain. The time round seems so different, I just want to end the relationship, but am scared for my child, who is so sensitive and family means so much to him (well it does every child) i don’t have a well paid job , i use to do ok financially. Since the last episode, he has been trying saying his loves me all that crap but i don’t beleive it. Today I looked through his phone and read a whapp message to our neighbour (who is an old friend of his), there was no sexual content just sharing of intelligent opiinions, but it has put me in that same place of hurt and mistrust his last message was sent at 10.40pm, why is he texting at that time?? I feel real uncomfortable by this as miniscule as it may sound, just feel like shit, i woke up this morning so positive but as usual back in the same place of negativity

    • RavSean April 14, 2016, 6:57 pm

      No Mel, he is not an amazing Dad. Amazing dads show their spouses love and respect at every turn. Amazing dads do not make their spouses cry, promise to repent, and then go and do the same thing over and over again. Amazing dads do not cause their spouses pain at Christmas, or at any other time. Amazing dads love their spouses, and make sure that both their spouses and their children know it and feel it at all times.

      Furthermore, I have mentioned several times throughout this thread that this is abusive behaviour. I have also mentioned that the target of such abusive behaviour is not to blame. Whether or not you are difficult to live with does not give your spouse the right to chase other women. It does not give your spouse the right to text other women at 10:40 at night.

      You have the right not to cry. You have the right not to feel like $h!t. You have the right to have your feelings respected. You have the right to demand that he focus his attention on you.

      Mel – the purpose of counselling is to help you learn the coping methods necessary to live with the choices you make. You may choose to leave your spouse. You may choose to stay. Please seek some help in learning to be comfortable with your decision.

      -Rav Sean
      RavSean´s last blog post ..You Should See the Other Guy…..

  • Dennis Padgett April 17, 2016, 12:06 am

    Really, enjoy my Bride having her Male friends text her in adult, conversation. ..Tells them, if they text at night..what she’s wearing or Naked..At times, they phone and she puts them on the Speaker phone..By the way they talked, assume they where having self pleasure…Don’t blame rthem, she wears Low cut blouses and half Bras, if aby….and bends over all day..Plus she gets back rubs all day, look down her top and see her Nipples. ..All good for me

  • H*** May 11, 2016, 10:23 am

    My partner has been sexting other women on sex sites and exs for months behind my back, I caught him, he promised never again but I’ve just found out he’s still doing it, he swears there’s never any meetin or physical contact but it doesn’t sound that way in messages and I still can’t trust him. I’m 3 months pregnant and have a 5 month old daughter. I love him very much, he says he can’t stop but I don’t know what to do.
    How can he love me and hurt me over and over and lie to my face, he denied anything until I showed him the evidence I had.
    He says I’m a paranoid idiot who needs to get a grip but then I find all this stuff, no wonder I’m paranoid?! But he doesn’t see it that way.

    • RavSean May 12, 2016, 8:46 pm


      Men who respect their partners NEVER do something that so offends their partner. He can stop. It is a choice.

      Also, men who respect their partners NEVER call their partners idiots. That he thinks of you as such is utterly classless, disrespectful, and loveless. Demand more for yourself.

      Also, please be warned. It is verbally abusive to call one’s partner nasty names. Verbal abuse is often a gateway to physical abuse. Please be careful. This is a dangerous path.

      RavSean´s last blog post ..You Should See the Other Guy…..

      • Kary June 9, 2016, 10:49 am

        RavSean said everything you need to hear.
        Isn’t it interesting your partner, when confronted with suspicions, and then evidence, he diverts the conversation to you; that you are the one that is paranoid and an idiot. This is someone who has no experience with effective communication and has no respect for anyone, including himself.
        I see that you feel you are in a very precarious position, pregnant and a baby to care for. Hopefully, you don’t use this as a crutch to stay with him, or get marriage counseling. Hopefully you have an understanding family that will help you get into a better space, physically and spiritually.
        Your daughter isn’t old enough to understand the depth of what is going on yet, but for certain can pick up on all the body language, stress, yelling. Think of your daughter and soon to be born child and their futures. Give them a stable loving environment. It does not need to be with an abusive father. You are worthy and loving and you are loved. You deserve better than this situation.

  • Sarlou June 9, 2016, 4:21 am

    A few weeks ago I received a message request on Facebook from a girl I didn’t know. At first I thought nothing of it and ignored it. But something made me message and ask why she was trying to talk to me/if I knew her.
    Her reply was what I was expecting.. gut instinct?
    ‘ No you don’t. But I know your husband’
    Then proceeded to send me 5 pictures he had sent her. Screens shots of the messages he sent /his dating website profile and the messages he sent on some message app.

    This isn’t the first time.

    Each time the same.. fake email address, dating profile on plenty of fish pretending to be single with no kids (we have 2 daughters!!) And each time I feel like another part of me has been destroyed.

    He calls it a moment of madness!

    For along time I’ve been made to feel like it’s my fault/I’m not good enough.

    • Kary June 9, 2016, 11:15 am

      One time is a moment of madness, not several times. A moment of madness is impulse decisions made for a short period of time, and then you regret doing it. It sounds like he doesn’t regret it enough to stop doing it. He is selfish and is not considering any of your feelings or how it affects your relationship. If you continue to respond to these situations the way you have been (letting it slide) it definitely will continue to happen. The cycle will continue, whether it is days, or months, or years. Sexting, finding out, apologies, loving period, back to sexting.
      You are living with a person that you have no trust in. How do you value your relationship in this condition? What is he doing to show you he can be trusted again? It is a very hard thing to get back. This situation you are in is because of HIM, not you. All relationships have ups and downs, boring times, exciting times, peaks and valleys. He can not use any of these times as his excuse or to blame you for his actions.
      I really hope you can go to marriage counseling or have the courage to step way out of your comfort zone and make a change. Marriage CAN survive through this type of thing, but it takes both of you.
      He is obviously flawed, we all are. Ask him what he needs. Have an open discussion about the hard topics and try to see the situation from the outside.
      Based on my own experience, one technique my husband and I used (and still use) for communication was to talk about “another couple”, which was really us, but it placed us out of the personal feelings and helped us look at the situation more objectively. it’s a little awkward at first, but it really was a great way to expand our understanding and helped us not be defensive or to blame.
      Also, your daughters will see healthy communication between their parents. What a gift to give them.
      You are worthy and you are loved. I wish you and your family the best.

    • RavSean June 9, 2016, 1:57 pm


      Since this is not the first time, it would appear that your husband has had many moments of madness. This is not your fault. Your husband has the ability to make choices in everything he does. He chooses where to eat dinner. He chooses where to go to work. He is also choosing to send his affections elsewhere.

      Do not let him destroy you. If he is unable to see that this hurts, drag him to therapy. If he refuses to go, then you have choices that you need to make. One of those choices will be in figuring out if his love for you (?) should carry respect for you with it.

      Good luck.

      RavSean´s last blog post ..Bias in the Media….

  • Lilly June 26, 2016, 10:17 am

    I caught my husband sexting my best friend. He sent this on a super secret app called Coverme. He lied about having it and she did too. I confronted him and the first day he was remorseful but after that he gets angry if I talk to him about it. He swears to me it was a mistake and he was drunk when he sent it. She said she didn’t get it and never saw it. I don’t trust them and decided to end the friendship at this time. When I did that he blew up at me and was upset that I took his best friend away from him. He has a temper and pretty much destroyed our home when that happened and now he says I broke his trust and won’t let me have accessed to his phone now. He is more upset about her than me. he says he loves me and wants me but I think he is staying because of our son and not because of me

    • RavSean June 26, 2016, 4:26 pm


      I thought you were supposed to be his best friend.

      Destroying furniture is abusive behaviour. I am willing to bet that he also blamed you for so doing. It is the classic pattern. Please note that the destruction of a home is very much a sign that you could be next. Be very careful.

      It is rather ironic that he blames you for betraying his trust when he has lied to you about the original sexting incident, and then tells you he was drunk. It seems to me that your trust has been greatly betrayed. Do not let him turn this into something you did. It is a lie.

      I state to all…while I likely have friends who are not my wife’s first choice of people, and she likely has friends who are not my first choice of people, she is absolutely welcome at all of my social engagements, and vice versa. Spouses should not have to hide things from each other.

      RavSean´s last blog post ..Bias in the Media….

      • Lilly June 26, 2016, 10:41 pm

        He has told me I will never be his best friend because I betrayed his trust by accusing them of an affair and keeping him from her. He is crying over her and not me. He has destroyed our home so bad that a police officer stopped and asked if I was broken into. Of course I said it was nothing but the police officer did ask if he ever hit me. He has never slapped or hit me but he has grabbed my wrist and back me into a corner. He does blame everything thing he does on me. He said I push his buttons and make him break and throw things. I do feel like I am crazy. He has made me feel like I am the problem. As for her I don’t believe her because she lies all the time and I know this for a fact. She has cheated on her husband twice and she has told me she hates him but is there for the kids. So I don’t trust them. They got caught and are now doing damage control because I know the truth but her husband doesn’t. They are scared I will tell everyone

  • RavSean June 27, 2016, 8:00 am


    If he has grabbed you in a restraining manner, that is abuse.

    If he has backed you into a corner, that is abuse.

    That he blames you for his problems is abuse.

    That he has made you feel like you are the problem is in the classic pattern.

    Please please please be careful.

    RavSean´s last blog post ..Bias in the Media….

  • Benzino July 27, 2016, 4:17 am

    Sexting is very dangerous and will end solid marriages because its so easy to get caught up in the emotional high.

    It tends to become a habit in people who are generally bored and it just takes over and their significant others dont see it coming until its too late.

    For couples that want to give it a new try, here is my 2 cents below.

    Like all Habits one has to look at what triggers the sexting. What time it is?, what you doing at the time? what emotions are you feeling? etc..

    than look at what the reward is from sexting, i.e what craving does it satisfy?

    then try substituting the sexting of someone else with sexting your own spouse(new activity).

    is the craving satisfied? if not countinue substituting the sexting with a different activity until craving is satisfied.

    This will be your new satisfaction habit that can be repeated until it replaces the old habit.

    Book Source: Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

    Also keep in mind there is a thin line between habit and addiction.

    • Al July 28, 2016, 5:47 pm

      Completely agree. My wife of 35 years became involved with a guy she played WOW with. She has been depressed for many years but did nothing about it, Suddenly this guy comes along and its the classic “I wonder what you look like” and before you know it its phone sex and naked skyping. Caught her 2 months ago and we are getting counseling. However she cant stop as her encounters online are always perfect and she gets an orgasmic reward. I cannot compete with that. Counselor suggests ignoring the sexting and trying to reconnect with her. Not sure its going to work but I am exhausted from lack of sleep and anxiety. Really dread the idea of divorce.

      • Benzino July 29, 2016, 2:28 am

        WOW Al, as in World of Warcraft. You have a Gamer wife! – most guys would say you have a dream wife funny how that has become a nightmare for you and rightly so. The Fact that she attends the counselling with you tells me that she still values your marriage. Her online encounters that result in an orgasmic reward reminds me of something we guys like to watch…..PORN. These days Porn is so easily available and excessive use of it is causing a disorder amongst Men’s brains because of precisely that orgasmic reward. Studies are now being conducted around Porn addiction and its ability to cause erectile dysfunction even to men as young as 18 years old.. For you own research , google “brain on porn” and have a look at the science behind the addiction. Woman have brains too after all and if she is video skyping aswell than we might have hit the nail on the head. it might be time for her to stay away from the keyboard.
        35 years is a lifetime Al, just work hard at the reconnecting which I gather must involve a lot of bare your soul communication. I hope you discover new things about your wife that will re-ignite a new spark in your marriage. All the best.

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