By Jessica Dean

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  Marriage counselors are calling it a disturbing trend that is ruining relationships and families.

It starts as an innocent conversation online or through texting but evolves into a deep bond.

That’s when you have to ask yourself, ‘When does chatting become cheating’?

A wife recalls the day she caught her husband cheating.

“He left his Facebook up one day and there was a whole other life,” said the woman who was too embarrassed to reveal her name. “I was shocked.”

She say he was sharing his deepest feelings with another woman.

Describing their marriage she said, “I thought everything was great.”

Experts say it’s the latest frontier in betrayal.

It’s called “chexting”.

The word coming from a combination of cheating and texting.

“I’ve seen that over and over again in my office,” said relationship expert Jane Greer.

Greer says people don’t always set out to cheat.

It often starts with an innocent text to simply say ‘hello’.

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

This new form of cheating has people talking about it all over the internet.

“If he gets a text message from a girl and you know it’s a girl and he grins to himself that means he’s flirting,” says one woman.

“And they’re like, ‘oh they’re just friends’ or they get really defensive about it” said another woman online.

In many ways experts say chexting is a more insidious kind of infidelity than a physical relationship.

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

So how do you know if your partner is crossing the line from chatting to cheating?

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

Greer also says watch out for the partner who is guarded around their phone or one who logs onto the computer at odd hours.

What are your thoughts?  Do you think this is cheating?  Take our poll and leave your comments below. You can also weigh in on Facebook and Twitter @CBSPhilly

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