Facebook, Tinder, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.

Social Media Cheating

Are you cheating on your husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend?

Why, no, you say, perhaps a bit defensively. Of course not.

You haven’t done anything wrong. Or, have you?

What about “social media cheating”?

The first thing we need to define, perhaps, is what it means to cheat. The usual thing we think of is a sexual liaison outside of a relationship. That’s an easy, common definition. But what about a situation wherein we exchange more than pleasantries with someone else? Do you find yourself watching for that person’s post on Facebook, searching for a meaningful Instagram photo, or even scrolling for double-entendre comments on a Twitter post? Why is social media problematic for relationships? Let’s take a deep dive.

What is Cheating on Social Media?

Here is a little litmus test you can try. When you get a message, or a meaningful picture or Tiktok, or a DM from a particular person, how do you feel? Does your heart skip a beat? Do you feel excited, touched, or happy? Here is the test part. Are you willing to take your phone, hand it to your spouse or partner, and show them what it says or shows?

If the answer is “No, I don’t want to show them,” well, you have a little problem. (But don’t quit reading; we’re going to conquer this together.)

People wonder: Is it wrong to “like” a person’s photo? Is chatting cheating? If you flirt a little, is that cheating? If you delete conversations, is that cheating?

social media and cheating

Something social media offers is a terribly convenient place to form intimacy with another human being. Intimacy is emotional. It is how we bond. We share humor, sadness, our private thoughts, etc. The other person gives us feedback. We discuss. We give each other advice or encouragement. We listen. We may share tastes in music, food, books, etc. In the end, we have engaged. This is intimacy. Life without intimacy is boring and unfulfilling. If we aren’t finding intimacy with our partner, odds are, we will look for it elsewhere. Behold the power of Facebook, Tinder, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc., where you can engage with a staggering number of people – and find intimacy.

It can be a little vague. For instance, is “liking” someone’s photo cheating?

Possibly. Why do you need to “like” it? How would you feel if your spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend “liked” someone’s photo?

Is chatting with someone, online, cheating?

Well, are you comfortable with reading what you have written aloud, to your special person? If so, maybe.

Are you flirting?

Are you saying slightly provocative things? If so, yes.

Do you have secret social media accounts?

Do you have secret social media accounts that you do not share with your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, or wife? There’s a danger sign. Why?

Have you discovered that your special person has deleted their social media accounts?

Did you ask why? Did the answer make sense?

Whom are you, or your spouse, “friending?”

Does that make you uncomfortable?

Is life being lived virtually?

Does phone or computer time take place of doing real things with real people?

Why Is Infidelity on Social Media a Very Serious Problem?

Relationships often feel like hard work because, frankly, they are. Sometimes it feels like a day doesn’t go by that you aren’t bickering, nagging, or having “difficult conversations.” Honestly, aren’t there days when you just want to relax and not have to try so hard? Like . . . it was when you met your spouse or partner, and you were in the early days of your relationship? Social media offers all of us a chance to escape to those times.

Tired girl in front of her laptop - why is social media a problem for relationships?

Some might just call it flirting, and say it isn’t harmful. However, it’s a rare occasion that flirting doesn’t at least lead to a back-and-forth, which leads to deeper, more meaningful conversations. And then what do we have? We have a bond with someone who isn’t our spouse or partner. And we know – we shouldn’t. However, it’s addictive, that hit of approval, attention, or just verification that you matter to somebody. Hey, this person circled back and asked me how my day was. They congratulated me on a work thing. They remembered a book I liked and recommended another. They listened! They care. These are all things that should be happening in a healthy relationship. It’s the social media relationship that is actually the problem.

Is Your Partner Social-Media Cheating?

Maybe. It’s fairly common. In a recent survey, 47 % of Facebook users admit that they “emotionally cheated” on the site. That’s a pretty large percentage, isn’t it? How can you tell? Well, there are some common signs. Is your spouse or partner secretive about phone or computer use? Do there seem to be a lot of messages? Does your partner seem distant? Does a certain name pop up a lot? If your partner or spouse isn’t sharing those messages readily, that may also indicate a problem. They may be chatting online and cheating.

What do young people do on social media?

Is every situation a “cheating” situation? Of course not – there are those online relationships that are purely platonic. Some people never even see each other. It’s just a place where they can talk. But why not talk to your partner, instead of a stranger?

On What Social Media Are Spouses Most Likely to Cheat?

Facebook, the most famous of social media sites, is a social networking site. You create a profile can share photos, information, and respond to others’ posts.


Snapchat is an app where you can send and receive photos and videos that self-destruct. The photos and videos are called “snaps.”


For those who enjoy creating and sharing quick videos, TikTok is wildly popular – especially with teens and young adults. Look for lots of dancing, comedy, and singing.


Instagram features photos and also videos. Profiles can be made private so that only followers can see what has been posted.


Onlyfans is a content subscription service. If you create, you can post and earn money from subscribers.

Facebook, because of its wide use, wins this dubious title of the site where the most social media occurs. However, it’s certainly not the only one, as shown above. Remember, social media is basically a convenient tool for talking with people outside of your relationship. If you don’t want your spouse seeing your Facebook stuff, it’s easy enough to alert your paramour to a more private mode of conversation on another site or app.

Top 10 Social Media Habits That Are Technically Cheating

#1 Pictures

What kinds of pictures are your spouse or partner posting? Are they flirty or sexy? Do they have a “come-hither” look? Hmm. You have to ask why those are being posted, don’t you, if they are in a committed relationship.

#2 Checking status

Is your partner frequently checking someone’s status? Why?


If you can see your spouse or partner’s comments to someone, are they appropriate? Do the comments give you pause? If you ask, is your partner defensive?

#4 Secrets

One of the most intimate things you can do is to tell a person a secret. If you, or your spouse, are telling your social media “friend” secrets, you are in dangerous territory.

#5 Disappearing messages

How about using “disappearing messages” or deleting your search history? Uh-oh. If you feel unable to be transparent, it is time for some introspection.

#6 Fake names

Fake names are a dead giveaway. Why use a fake name? What’s to hide?

#7 Emotional support

You are the person to whom your partner should turn for emotional support. Period. If your partner is confiding in someone else, that’s a problem. If you find that this is occurring, you really need to bring it up.

#8 Lots of pictures

Are lots of pictures flying back and forth? That’s a sign.

#9 Emojis

Let’s talk about emojis. They are handy little things, useful for expressing emotions without a lot of typing. However, they can express emotions. We are talking here about bonding via intimacy and an expression of emotions. Sorry, but emojis count. A well-placed, tiny emoji can convey a bucketload of feelings. They aren’t harmless; they have become a part of communication and language.

#10 Spicy Messages

Think a post sounds a bit spicy? That is definitely a sign. There should be boundaries about things that are said. If it feels inappropriate, it likely is.

Is Social Media Destroying Marriages?

You had better believe that social media is destroying and ruining marriages. Besides the fact that social media is addictive, in the first place, it provides a place where we can connect with titillating, interesting, attractive people. As mentioned above, if things are already rough going in your relationship, social media can be a haven. There are also so many opportunities in social media to connect with former flames, crushes, and exes.


Percentage of married cheating men in the United States according to the Social Survey (GSS).


So many women are prone to emotional cheating.


The number of adultery cases on the Internet.


According to NBC statistics, most people are unaware of their partner’s infidelity.

The social media cheating statistics are depressing – from 41% of surveyed adults admitting they have engaged, on up.

a couple lying in bed hugging their smartphones

Think about how you present yourself on social media. It’s not real life. You have time to compose witty, intelligent, and engaging conversations. It’s not an accurate picture of how you are, in real-time. Your photos may make you look better than you normally do. In short, it ain’t the real you, and that person you are conversing with isn’t what you think, either. Wouldn’t it be better to be your authentic self? Why be a cheating spouse?

If your wife is busy “liking” another person’s photo on Instagram, or if your husband is flirting with someone on social media, such as Facebook, or even innocently chatting, the non-cheater is going to become jealous, insecure, and eventually angry and hurt. What starts out as innocent chat can, and likely will, lead to major problems that will put a marriage into jeopardy.

How to Catch Someone Who is Cheating on Social Media

If you have reached this point, things are sad, indeed, and we’re sorry. Social cheating hurts, just like infidelity. Before you go collecting damning evidence that your special person is social media-cheating, maybe a better tact is to have a conversation with your spouse or partner. It won’t be easy, but saying,

“I’m feeling a little funny about your cell phone use. You seem to be chatting with someone and I am feeling left out and I’m getting weird feelings. I would really like to clear the air. If we are having a problem, let’s work through it.”

“Catching” someone is going to be ugly and painful. Perhaps a better way is a Big Talk.

What are some signs? Well, a passcode may be one. If they have one, what is it? If this is someone with whom you are supposed to have a bond of trust, why don’t you know their passcode?

Is the phone an appendage? Some people leave their phones all over the place. But others keep them close at all times. Do they have multiple phones?

How to Catch Someone Who is Cheating on Social Media

Nighttime use is another sign. This is a perfect, natural time for intimacy. Is the phone getting the lion’s share? With whom are they chatting? Why do they wait until you go to sleep?

How does your partner or spouse act when using their phone? Is there a lot of smiling or laughing going on? That can be a dead giveaway that intimacy is occurring where it shouldn’t be.

Should you examine your partner/spouse’s phone? A David Sedaris quote springs to mind: “If you read someone’s diary, you get what you deserve.” If you pick up that phone and go through it, that’s essentially the same thing. A better approach is an attempt at a clear-the-air conversation. If trust has been broken, it can be repaired.

Steps You Can Take to Stop

Stopping online cheating is not easy. It’s truly addictive. There is a real “hit” in finding that message, that picture, that DM that reminds you that someone cares. There may be something touching, funny, or sexy in those messages. It’s an escape, and it feels good. You won’t want to stop. But: you should. It’s wrong, and you already knew that.

The next time you go to check on that crush, try instead turning your attention to your spouse or partner. Do something nice for them. Rub their neck, make a fire and talk, try a new wine, cook together. Do something real.

Steps You Can Take to Stop Cheating

Social media can be useful and fun. It’s a great way to stay in touch with people. When it comes to relationships, it’s tricky. Don’t let it ruin the real thing.


What is Considered Cheating on Social Media?

Cheating is engaging, intimately, with another person via a social media platform or app. You may exchange photos, posts, messages, videos, or chat. However, it is not done transparently.

How to Catch Your Wife Cheating on Social Media?

If you have access to her social media, look for a name that pops up frequently. If she seems to be utilizing her phone or computer frequently, ask who she is talking to.

Is Liking Another Person’s Photo Cheating?

Possibly. If it is unnecessary, and if it happens frequently, it’s likely problematic.

Is Flirting on Social Media Cheating?

Yes. Why flirt with anyone, if you are in a committed relationship?

What Do if this Page Has Resonated With You

If you are the one forging a relationship with someone outside of your current relationship don’t flog yourself. You’re human. As noted above, this is a common problem. However, if you value your current relationship, maybe it’s time to take stock and think about your future with your partner. Are there problems? Can they be worked out? Do you need the assistance of a professional?

If you are the person being cheated on, this is also a tough situation. You may need to look at the Big Why. Why is your partner cheating? Are you a difficult person to be around? Are you hard to talk with? Do you take the time to work on your relationship? These are hard questions and they need to be asked. There is always plenty of blame to go around when relationships are troubled.

No relationship is perfect. The excitement of the hunt, or the thrill of getting to know someone, does fade with time. However, if you do the work, that excitement does change into something deeper than an online fling can offer.

Sometimes, it’s just a matter of revisiting the things that drew you to each other in the first place.