“My boyfriend has a sexting addiction. What do I do?”
What is sexting?
Sexting means sending sexually explicit messages in the form of text messages, private messages, direct messages or emails, photos, images, or videos containing nudity or explicit sexual acts via a cell phone, computer, or any digital device.
It’s a relatively new concept, and while it’s yet to be called a mental condition and addiction, it can significantly impact your daily life and romantic relationships.
You see, there is a thin line between sexting and mere flirting.
If you notice your boyfriend hides his phone from you in a way that makes you believe there is something more, chances are that he is not just sending messages or sharing ordinary pictures online.
I am not talking about creating and maintaining boundaries with his personal property.
I am talking about sneaky behavior that is suspicious.
He may hide under the guise of “mere flirting” and “it’s nothing serious.”
While it is disrespectful to flirt with other women online, sexting is more than flirting, and sexting addiction is more than sexting just one person.
If you notice your boyfriend sends nude photographs, explicit sex videos, memes, and messages containing descriptions of sexual acts or fantasies daily, that he can’t do much without first sending them, this is beyond flirting.
He’s sexting and has become addicted to it.
No two relationships are the same.
Some women might forgive their boyfriends and give them another chance.
But others may consider this a form of cheating and disrespect and therefore end the relationship.
Yet, others in an open relationship may not mind and will pay no attention to what their partners do or share online.
But generally speaking, your boyfriend’s sexting affair can affect you and your relationship with him in many ways:
1. You may never trust him again.
If you think sexting is an online affair and is disrespectful, and your boyfriend shares explicit sex videos with one or more women online, then you’ll feel cheated and betrayed.
You’ll feel like you can never trust him again.
Trust is one thing every relationship needs.
If you don’t trust in your relationship, you likely have nothing to hold onto and fight for.
2. You may feel insecure.
Nothing beats a relationship where partners feel secure that their interests are considered and protected.
If your boyfriend is sexting, this may trigger insecurity in you.
You may resent your partner for being intimate with someone other than you.
It isn’t helpful in any way to your relationship.
4. Withdrawal and lack of intimacy.
Discovering that your partner is sexting one or several women can cause deep feelings of shame, guilt, and regret.
You begin to feel like it’s your fault, and there’s something you aren’t doing, or that you are not good enough.
These feelings can cause emotional and physical withdrawal and erode your intimacy with your boyfriend.
If one or more of these feelings grow and you’re unable to work things out with your boyfriend, or worse, your boyfriend isn’t ready to admit he has hurt you, then the honorable thing to do is end the relationship.
These are different ways you may be affected by your partner’s sexting addiction.
At this point, I have to say that these feelings are normal and valid.
There’s nothing wrong with you because you have these emotions.
There’s also no need to appear strong when you feel affected by something.
You can, however, take some steps to heal yourself, work out things with your partner and decide whether or not to end the relationship.
Here are some recommended steps you should take after discovering your boyfriend has a sexting addiction:
“My Boyfriend Has A Sexting Addiction”
1. Take the time and feel your feelings
Discovering that your partner is involved in one or more sexting affairs and is deeply involved in sexting is awful, especially if it’s a big deal for you.
It is a discovery that can stir feelings of confusion, guilt, shame, and many questions which beg for answers.
It is normal.
Don’t ignore your feelings, live in denial, or pretend those feelings aren’t there.
Irrespective of how much you fight, pretend, or deny them, they will not leave until you confront them.
They can’t stay hidden for a long time.
Sit with them and acknowledge them.
Cry, vent, and find other healthy ways to express them.
2. Reach out and have a conversation with your partner
It will be difficult because of the betrayal and hurt you feel.
Still, you need to reach out to your partner and have a conversation about his addiction.
The goal is to understand your partner and find healthy ways to work through the conflict between you both.
It’s essential to be calm, transparent, and assertive.
Also, focus on creating a safe space for your partner to discuss his sexting addiction and affairs.
After that, you decide to stay and offer him your support or end the relationship for good.
3. Re-establish boundaries
It depends on how the conversation went down with your partner.
If you’ve decided to be with him after your conversation, support, and work things out with him, revisit and re-establish your boundaries.
You both should redefine acceptable behaviors in your relationship and arrive at a reasonable conclusion.
- Can you ask to have his passwords and be able to look through their phones and laptops anytime?
- Should he disclose when he’s talking to someone of the opposite sex?
- Can he end things with whoever he’s sexting by unfollowing, blocking, and deleting them?
These are some questions to be answered and rules to set to ensure accountability and transparency in your relationship.
These will help to rebuild trust and make you feel secure in your relationship.
If you try to re-establish these rules and boundaries and your partner refuses or becomes defensive, you have a bigger problem to handle.
4. Seek support from friends and family
Regardless of how you choose to proceed, it’s helpful to have support during this time.
Loved ones, close friends, and family can provide a listening ear, a shoulder to lean on, and compassion.
They may also be able to offer practical guidance to help you cope.
Also, seek and join support groups for people coping with the trauma of betrayal and infidelity.
5. Consider getting professional help
It can be for yourself as an individual or you and your partner as a couple.
Therapy can provide reassurance, guidance, and practical tools for recovering from sexting or other types of infidelity.
You can participate as an individual and as a couple simultaneously.
Therapy can provide additional benefits as you work through your feelings and rebuild your relationship.
A sexting affair and addiction can impact your mental health and relationship dynamics.
If you discover your partner is addicted to sexting, ensure you take care of yourself before addressing the problem.
You are as important as your relationship.
6. Don’t take it personally
No matter what happens, don’t ever blame yourself for your boyfriend’s sexting problem.
Don’t think he’s involved in sexting affairs because you are not enough for him.
It’s not about you; it’s his problem.
He should take responsibility for his problem, not you.