More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
What To Do If You Find Your Spouse Cyber-Cheating
By WCAU/NBC News Channel

Lots of people use the Internet to obtain useful information, but increasingly people are turning to the web for companionship and it is destroying families and ruining real life relationships.

The Internet can be a seductive place.

"When you're online, you can really say anything you want."

An instant connection can be made in a chat room or through IM's or E-mails.

"I would speak to someone and maybe converse a little."

It may start out innocent, but it's easy to get sucked in. And before you know it, a web of deceit is being spun.

"You start going down a road and all of a sudden you're talking with somebody and you're getting a level of empathy and understanding you're not getting in your marriage."

Dr. Stephen Treat from the Council for Relationships says cyber affairs are a real epidemic.

"It's because people are anonymous and they can set up partial relationships and they can have a fantasy about who the person is. They can fantasize about being loved. They cam fantasize levels of sexuality with somebody because they don't really know the person."

Is it cheating? It depends on who you ask.

"Affairs online. I think it's ridiculous actually. I can't think of anything worse. It's adultery."

"If I caught my boyfriend having an affair online I would definitely dump him."

"I think there is a big difference between cheating online and actually going to bed with someone outside your relationship."

Dr. Treat says that it's absolutely cheating, and can be more destructive than a physical affair.

"You're taking a piece of your emotion, a piece of what you should be sharing with your spouse, and what you do is you share it with this anonymous person."

What should you do if you suspect your partner is involved in a virtual romance?

"Sometimes I don't mind if you do a little bit of private investigating. You actually go into the Internet and go in search and go find out. At least then you'll know."

Dr. Treat says you should definitely confront your significant other if you find out they are cheating online. But he says you should also look at yourself and look at your relationship. That, may help you figure out how it happened in the first place.
One of the responces struck me as odd. For me, the prospect of my boyfriend cheating makes me fearful, not so much the sex part, but the thought that I may loose him emotionally. We are special to each other because we share that emotion together, and the thought of him sharing that with someone else - for that someone else to be more special - if you like (I know it sounds childish and 'me me me' but ... you know) thats what scares me about the prospect of him cheating. So does cheating mean a sexual encounter or what?

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I think you and your partner need to define that for yourselves.

For me, a breach of emotional intimacy is no different than sleeping with someone else. However, I realize that not everyone would see it that way.

just mary

I find it hard to imagine anyone cheating online. For me, I would need to see and touch the person for it (the relationship) to be real.

Online communication is just "words on a page". I think you would have to have a really good imagination in order for it to turn into a relationship.

Or is there something wrong with me?

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
No, there's nothing wrong with you, JM. I think some people seem to find virtual relationships safer and/or more exciting than real life relationships. The fact that you can't understand how that is possible would suggest that you are probably healthier than those who do understand it.

It's a more common phenomenon than most people realize.
Personally if I found a partner of mine was having a online affair, i would want to talk about it, find out what was missing from our relationship, and sort the matter out, that would be my piority,, I wouldnt be angry I would be grateful he had had the sense to keep it online, instead of having actual contact with another, online to me would be alot easier to deal with, as I dont think its cheating, having actual physical contact is cheating and being unfaithfull, there is a difference for me, its like when theres sexual problems in a relationship its much better to find out your partner has been "looking" at adult stuff as a way of dealing with , than finding out he has been actually sleeping with someone else. Just my opinion.
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