In the era of modern technology, internet has opened the doors for new virtual relationships to flourish secretly, and which is also the fastest mounting cause of relationships breakdown leading to a new term called internet infidelity.
After all the technological advancements we have made in our world, it is not difficult for people to venture into areas which were never even thought of earlier. Who would have thought to pursue a relationship with someone over the internet? Well, that is what is exactly happening these days since the advent of cyber chat rooms, online dating sites and access to free porn.
According to Marlene M. Maheu and Rona Subotnik’s book, Infidelity on the Internet: Virtual Relationships and Real Betrayal, “The seduction of internet relationships has created a new breeding ground for extramarital emotional affairs. Individuals with no intention of betraying their marriages find themselves sliding down the slippery slope of infidelity on the internet. Internet relationships can be so captivating that they threaten committed relationships despite the absence of physical contact.”
And now, it has reached to an extent where internet infidelity has actually been cited as a reason for divorce in many cases. It is an alarming sign which warns us about the growing importance of cyber relationships today.
It is interesting to see how sexual behaviour over the internet can easily threaten relationships because it is extremely accessible, affordable, and the ability to hide one’s identity helps people feel that they can escape being caught. Online sexual addiction is proving to be highly hazardous to many relationships and at least, one partner is affected by it.
How does it start?
Loneliness is one of the main reasons why people think that they can create a substitute to their own identity in the virtual world. In addition to it, a lot of couples go through a phase of sexual boredom or lack of variety after certain years of togetherness. The general tendency is that virtual love and sex is potentially non-risky.
It is with the affordability of technology and ambiguity of identity that modern day romances have attained a new high. And the virtual world simply adds to synthesis and dynamics of online communication and related infidelity.
Infidelity, so to say, has always existed even before the advent of internet, however, surprising intimate conversations are now held with interesting strangers in such fashion that no one would have a reason to be suspicious. After all, typing a response under the cloak of mystery is more of a fantasy than a real endeavour of sexual infidelity.
This further extends to having 'cyber-sex' within minutes of making an online acquaintance. Implicit infidelity goes far beyond the fabric of exchanging e-cards, expressing love via emoticons or getting the visual delight on web cams. It usually tends to question how ‘normal’ our social expectance of sex is.
Signs of Internet Infidelity
The problems in a relationship arise with the loss of trust, decrease in self confidence, difficulty of being aroused by their partners and emotional distress. In a recent survey, it was found that 52 percent of online users of explicit content like pornography face difficulties in having sex in reality. Some of the signs of internet infidelity can be your partner’s demand for privacy, change in sleep patterns, and spending unusually long time over the internet and deviation from family affairs.
[Read: Deal With Thoughts of Infidelity]
Consequences of Internet Infidelity
Infidelity in every relationship is extremely hazardous and often produces the same end result, which is putting an end to the once beautiful relationship. Consequences of internet infidelity are same as in the cases of other types of infidelity. When one realises that he or she has been cheated on by his or her partner, the feelings of disgust over one’s own self climbs several folds higher. One tends to fall prey to the feasting idea that he or she is not good enough for his or her partner. This is especially true and evident in the case of women who are conscious about their appearance and get set on a make-over soon after they discover their husband or boyfriend being unfaithful. Internet infidelity also calls for few other dire consequences such as loss of self confidence, feelings of hate and distress, blow to sexual confidence and thoughts of undesirability.
Healing after infidelity is tough and takes a lot of time and patience. A desire to start afresh and a strong commitment to revive the relationship is the key. Few things that a person should keep in mind to heal himself after infidelity are:
An open talk
Talk openly with your partner. Try to clear all your doubts. Ask questions related to your relationship; try to sort out all problems between the two of you. Your partner should be ready to give answers anytime. If you suspect cheating, you must know why it is happening. Get things cleared before starting the relationship afresh.
Forgive your partner
It’s very hard for someone to forgive his/her partner after having been cheated. But, to heal the pain, forgiveness is the best medicine. Before forgiving, make sure that your partner truly deserves it and he/she is really sorry for what he/she did. Forgiving shows that you want to move ahead in life.
Share your feelings
Always be vocal about your feelings and let your partner know how hurt you are. Pour all your anger, sadness, resentment and everything in front of your partner whenever you have the opportunity to. Your partner should know about all your feelings. The emotional catharsis that you get by pouring out also quickens the healing process.
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