Why Joshua Garcia’s Instagram slip was uncomfortable for many

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Joshua Garcia was accused of cheating when he privately messaged a girl on Instagram. (The STAR/Regine David)

JoshLia fans were shocked when Joshua Garcia directly messaged a girl on Instagram that is not his rumored beau Julia Barretto.

The actor noticed an Instagram photo of Dane Rhea Sillo in a backless swimsuit, to which he posted a private comment “Art shot” complete with a thumbs up emoji.

Sillo shared a screenshot of it on Twitter and captioned it with “Yes Joshua? Bakit???” Naturally, it became viral.

The comment of the actor, who has a “good boy” image in showbiz, set off speculations and accusations of cheating. Worse, rumors of a breakup with Barretto also swirled.

Fans were abuzz about the incident for days, prompting the 20-year-old thespian to air his side and appear on “Tonight With Boy Abunda” on Tuesday night.

On the show, Garcia confirmed the private message he sent to the girl and apologized for his behavior. He said, however, that he did not intend to flirt with her in wanting to appreciate the photo.

“The Good Son” star, tearful, also admitted that he had a fight with Julia. “Naayos. Hindi lang naging madali pero kaya naman. Sobrang okay naman ngayon,” he told host Abunda.

He also said he does not personally know Sillo. He did learn a lesson, however, saying that small acts could have serious consequences.

What experts say about cheating

Sue Johnson, a clinical psychologist and couples therapist, believes that cheating is hard to define nowadays because of social media.

“What counts as cheating has changed because other folks are so accessible. The rules are not as clear, and the opportunities for flirting and various levels of sexual engagement have multiplied,” she said through CNN.

However, it is the intention behind the action that makes it so, notes Therese Borchard, the author of The Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival Kit.

Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto having fun in Star Magic Ball. (Philstar/Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo)

In an article from Huffington Post, Borchard revealed that if communication is done in a “secretive” way and if the person needs to rationalize, it might be considered cheating.

Borchard added that people do not normally justify friendships.

“However, you may very well be investing in an unsafe friendship if you are constantly wrestling with guilt or feel the need to rationalize,” she said.

Dennis Knowles, a relationship counselor, told The Independent that it is cheating if someone hides the communication.

As one person pointed out, he privately messaged someone he does not know.

“If you’re trying to hide something, there’s the element of betrayal,” Knowles said.