Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Is An Online Affair Still Cheating?

Dear Tazi:

I feel like an idiot. I feel like I have been used. Worst of all, I feel like I have nobody to blame but myself. I know how you think that Facebook causes more relationship problems than any other social networking site, and you can add my story to that file.

I started dating "John" online about six months ago. (I have already changed his name, so please do not change it for me). He is an old friend that I found on Facebook, someone I have always crushed on. I saw from his page that he had a girlfriend and that they have been together for years so I asked him why they never got married and he told me it was because she was not ready. He did not offer any other explanation. At the time, he and his girl were going through a rough patch, and we started flirting online. I sent him some naughty pictures of myself, and he really seemed to like them so I sent him some more, figuring that sooner or later he and his girl would be breaking up and I would finally get a chance to date him in person.

This week, I went to John's girl's Facebook page because I saw on his page that she had tagged him in her status update. Her page isn't private, so I was able to see everything - pictures of them together, smiling and happy; love notes from him to her; and something that really steamed me, the status update where she tagged him. They had just returned from a romantic vacation to New England and she was bragging about how romantic he was. They did not look like a couple that was about to break up anytime soon.

I emailed John asking for an explanation, wanting to know why he went away on vacation with his girlfriend if things were so bad between them. He denied ever wanting to break up with her; said the "rough patch" only lasted a few weeks; and that he was an idiot to ever confide in me since it was obvious I took things the wrong way.

I want to send an email to John's girl (her address is listed on her Facebook profile) and tell her what a lying cheat her boyfriend really is, but I don't know if this will help or hurt my chances with John. What do you think I should do, Tazi? I know how you think honesty is the best policy. Should I be the bearer of bad news?

Still Wanting Him

Dear Still Wanting Him:

You mention that you have been in an online relationship with John for six months. The fact that this relationship was a virtual one means it was never consummated, which means that as despicable as John's behavior was (accepting nude photos of another woman) it does not quite rise to the level of cheating, at least not in my book. What you have had with John is an affair of the heart, and from the sound of things it was pretty one sided. From what you write, it sounds to me like John is perfectly content to be with his current partner.

You ask me if it would be okay to email a woman you have never met - through Facebook - and tell her that her boyfriend of several years is a liar and a cheat. I think this is quite possibly the worst idea I have ever heard - even worse than the woman who wanted to marry a prison inmate. Here are the facts of the matter at hand:

1. John's girlfriend does not know you. Unless you have solid proof of illicit intentions - emails from John professing his feelings, naughty pictures of him, or anything even remotely questionable - this woman will have zero reason to believe you over John.

2. You say that John is an old friend that you have always "crushed on". Is this really how you want to treat an old friend? Yes, John was wrong to encourage you to send further nude photos of yourself, but you have to remember that the initial batch was sent unsolicited. It was you who pursued what you saw as an opportunity, not the other way around.

3. John does not sound interested in you as it is. Do you think destroying his relationship with a woman he obviously loves is going to improve your chances of landing him? If you answered "yes" to that question, slap yourself for me - it was rhetorical, and the answer is "no"!

I am getting a lot of mileage out of this pic lately!

I have re-read your letter a couple of times now, and from what you write it appears that all John is guilty of is grossly bad judgement in allowing an online flirtation to escalate. Since I know of very few men that would say no to receiving nude pictures of an attractive woman, I have to give John a pass on this one, regardless of my personal feelings on this matter. In my opinion, John has not cheated and any lies he has told have been lies of omission - because let's face it, what man is going to tell his girlfriend about something like this? It sounds to me that you are seeking my permission to seek revenge on John. Permission denied.

Perfunctory Snuggles,

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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