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Seen At 11: When Does Chatting Become Cheating?

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NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A disturbing trend is destroying marriages and ruining families. Experts say it starts as an innocent conversation, but evolves into a deep bond.

“He left his Facebook up one day and there was a whole other life,” one woman said.

As CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu explained, the man wasn’t having sex with another woman, he was sharing his deepest feelings with her.

Web Extra: More From Dr. Jane Greer

Experts say it is the latest frontier in betrayal. So-called ‘emotional sex’ occurs when chatting becomes cheating, either online or through text messaging.

Marriage counselor Dr. Jane Greer said that spouses don’t always set out to cheat, and that things usually begin with an innocent communication like a text saying ‘hello.’

“People start to rely on and depend on the connection they have with the other person and start to expect the texts,” Dr. Greer said.

As Dr. Greer explained, the secrecy adds to the excitement and the attraction.

“The whole emotional experience of texting in and of itself takes on meaning and significance,” she said.

It’s referred to as ‘chexting’ and has been called a new form of betrayal that combines cheating and texting. People are talking about it all over the internet.

“If they’re like, oh, ‘they’re just friends,’ and get really defensive about it and throw a big fit it’s probably a good sign that they’re trying to get with people other than you,” one woman said.

In many ways chexting can be a more insidious form of infidelity, according to experts.

“Truly the question becomes, are you texting somebody else things, content, material that you’re not sharing with your partner,” Greer said.

But where does chatting end and cheating begin?

“If your partner is texting the minute he wakes up or the minute she wakes up, before you go to bed and you’re feeling really disconnected from them, then you might start to wonder what’s going on,” Greer explained.

A partner who is particularly guarded around their phone or one who logs onto the computer at odd hours could also be engaged in chexting.

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