Betrayal and infidelity is devastating to a relationship. Just the thought of your spouse having an affair in a motel room or apartment is horrible. Have you considered that an affair could be happening in your own home every night? Online betrayal and infidelity is occurring in homes throughout the country. Spouses are logging on to chat rooms and pornographic sites at an alarming rate. If there are problems in the marriage, spouses drift to the Internet for someone to talk to. They look for an escape from the problems of reality and the Internet is the quickest way. They believe it is harmless to talk to someone if they never meet.
If you believe this is happening to you, get smart about the Internet. Become familiar with the language through a chat symbol dictionary. Start understanding the email system. Learn how to trace them, recover deleted emails and how anonymous emails are sent. Watch for signs such as a frantic mouse click when you enter the room. Your spouse suddenly wants a digital camera or scanner or they purchase a pager. Your spouse is online when you are sleeping. You can perform some cyber sleuthing to find the truth and save your marriage.
When you have ongoing contact with someone through the Internet, this is a virtual affair. This contact may seem like harmless flirting online, but it’s not harmless. The dangers of virtual contacts range from pedophilia, identity theft, spamming and pornography. Doesn™t look harmless now does it?
Virtual affairs are fantasies with a storyline. These affairs have two authors to the story with any conceivable outcome. Online, you can portray yourself as any character – the most obvious in an affair is single instead of married. You receive a lot of attention through this affair and it is exciting to you. If everything about this contact is harmless, are you comfortable telling your spouse about it? If the answer is no, you are definitely having an affair online. The emotional intimacy that builds through online contact is supposed to be reserved for your partner. If you believe this contact must be kept secret, it’s time to evaluate your marriage and relationship and seek counseling or talk to your spouse openly.
Infidelity means different things to different people. Perhaps one spouse believes infidelity means physical infidelity. Another person believes online infidelity is just as serious as the physical kind. When couples have online affairs or flirt online, they are telling secrets to someone else. They share an intimacy that is reserved for their spouse. Is online infidelity harmless? It is easier for some to log on and find excitement than it is to face the problems of the marriage. Online and virtual affairs are addictive and not unlike drugs, alcohol or gambling. The divorce rate suggests that flirting online is more than just harmless fun. Having an affair is far more than a sexual act.
Dating services have always been around, but dating online is a way for adults to meet anonymously, at home.
There is a lot of good to virtual dating. Anyone that has sent an email and added a little wink is flirting online and essentially virtual dating. Dating online can help shy people overcome inhibitions and ‘practice' dating without the fear of humiliation in person. Dating online is cost effective because you aren't paying for dinner and a movie. It's quick and on to the next if the ‘date' didn't work out.
Watch out for the dark side of dating online. Cyber stalking, multiple identities or virtual affairs are also part of this new trend. Virtual dating in the 21st century is a trend that isn't going anywhere so make sure you are smart and safe before chatting or dating online.
Most people do not intend to have online affairs when they first go into a chat room. They go online with thoughts of anonymity and a no harm – no foul mentality. Nobody will know who you are, right? You just need somebody to talk to, right? Your wife doesn’t understand you, right? If you are saying these things to yourself, stop and think about the repercussions of having an affair online.
The virtual affair becomes quite real quickly and things don't remain so anonymous. If you are saying things to someone that you can't say to your husband or wife, you are on your way to emotional cheating. Once you are emotionally cheating, you will feel the need to meet this person and physically cheat on your spouse. Having an affair online is just as destructive to a marriage as one with your neighbor or co-worker.
When a marriage or a committed relationship begins, there are flowers, foot rubs and the romance is still in full swing. As time goes on, the partners begin the day-to-day humdrum life. The role of the man and woman is tricky because neither want to become a mother or father figure. They want to be loving wives and husbands keeping the romance alive. Partners cheat when they do not receive the type of emotional and physical requirements they have in their mind. Each man and woman has a mentally preconceived set of “how things will be” when we are married. Each picture in their minds must correspond to what is happening in the marriage or cheating is the result.
If cheating is on the mind of either spouse, it is time to seek professional counseling. Marriage counselors or marital retreats offer couples the opportunity to speak freely and openly about what is missing for them in the marriage. Counselors are an objective third party that are trained to get to the root of the issues. Finding and keeping a marriage happy and affectionate is a skill that some couples do not have. Counseling can help train and educate couples to find the missing aspects of their partnership.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|