Web of Deceit
The Internet has further shrunk the already small world and yet still provides the comfort of physical distance.
It has become too easy to meet new people and online exchanges, if allowed, can blossom into something intimate – without your real-life partner’s knowledge.
You might think, ‘It’s just an exchange of words and nothing more. We have never met so I’m innocent.’
Anonymity, topped with the power of imagination and sprinkled with the luxury of selective disclosure, makes online encounters all the more enticing. And without the interferences of practical constraints, fantasy gets a foot in the door.
The secret sexually charged online relationship with deep emotional closeness can eventually surpass the importance of the relationship you have with your real-life partner.
Psychologist Shirley Glass writes in her book Not Just Friends: ‘The new infidelity is between people who unwittingly form deep, passionate connections before realising they’ve crossed the line from platonic friendship into romantic love.’
An emotional infidelity threatens any relationship, even solid ones.
An emotional infidelity is still an infidelity, consummated or not
Compared with the relationship you have with your real-life partner – which includes bills and bad days at the office – the online relationship is all sunshine and rainbows. Many have inevitably lost sight on reality and get sucked into the whirlpool of fantasy-based romance.
‘It’s just words.’
‘We’ve never met.’
‘Our friendship is older than my relationship with my partner.’
We have heard them all but the bottom line sticks: An emotional infidelity is still an infidelity, consummated or not. You are not free of guilt since you invested your emotions, thoughts and time.
Philosopher and author of Love Online, Aaron Ben-Ze’ev, describes the online affair as a slippery slope.
‘You may set limits with your spouse – no phone contact, don’t take it off the screen. But people can break the deal. It is a profound human characteristic that sometimes we cross the line,’ he says.
So if you are guilty of emotionally cheating on your real-life partner, STOP.
Disengage from your online partner, recognise the weaknesses in your real-life relationship and address them.
If you find out that your partner is having an online affair, take the discovery as a wake-up call that needs are not being met.