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Recently, news broke that Huma Abedin, a longtime aide for Hillary Clinton, finally decided to separate from her husband, former Congressman Anthony Weiner, after he was caught inappropriately messaging a woman online. He even went as far as to do so while his son was sleeping in the couple’s bed right next to him. Unfortunately, this is the third time that he has been caught sending crude online messages to other women. Or rather, it’s the third time as far as we know.

I’m sure most women have asked, “Why didn’t she leave the first time?” or “What made her stay after it happened again?” Quite sure that they would have left. I assumed that maybe she truly loved him, wanted to keep her family intact (their son was born four years ago before the second texting scandal), or really didn’t consider those messages to be an act of cheating.

But what exactly do we consider cheating?

For a long time, cheating was considered a physical act (intercourse, kissing, other forms of your body touching someone who is not your partner). Then there was emotional cheating. Marriage therapist Sheri Meyers told Huffington Post that emotional cheating is, “If you’re fantasizing, having intimate talks and sharing things you should only be sharing with your primary partner or sending late night ‘just thinking of you’ flirty texts, you’re not just having an innocent friendship.”

Now, in the digital age, there’s cyber cheating and sexting (lewd messages primarily through text messages).

According to sex therapist Marlene Wasserman, a cyber affair is no different from real-life infidelity.

“In real life you know you are betraying your vows of commitment and monogamy. The moment we step out of that bubble of monogamy we know,” Wasserman told the New York Daily News.

But some believe that if you never meet the person you’re messaging in person and haven’t slept with them or truly entertained the idea, just how bad can it be?

After having multiple conversations with men and women friends over the years on this very topic, the responses have varied. A few people have said that sexting, emotional and cyber cheating are all far worse than physical contact. Apparently, 77.76 percent of respondents in a survey regarding cheating conducted by Affair Recovery thought the same thing. But others think if you don’t physically act on those messages, while disrespectful, sexting can be forgiven.

To each his own, but it’s all dishonest to me. I can’t imagine my husband sharing his body, his most intimate thoughts, and his time with another woman, regardless of the medium. Whether you’re married or just in a committed relationship, there are things that are sacred.

If the actions mentioned above are not considered cheating, then should the inappropriate behavior be forgiven? And if you forgive, should you stay in the relationship? I have always felt that if you forgive and decide to stay in it, the trust will likely never be fully repaired and your relationship won’t be the same. I just don’t think I could handle that.

After reading more on the Weiner sexting scandal and reading some of the text messages that were sent, I was even further disgusted by the fact that Weiner shared personal details of his married life with the other woman. The latter is disrespectful in itself.

All in all, I think Abedin stayed in the relationship longer than she should have and only she knows why. Still, I give kudos to her for finding the courage to leave someone who I believe never respected her, their son, or their marriage.

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