Internet cheating | cheating online | online cheating | online affair
 

Internet Cheating -
Relationship Breakdown Ahead

Internet Cheating | Cheating Online | Online Cheating | Online AffairsIt has been argued by some - very often those caught in the act of Internet cheating - that online sexual activities do not constitute infidelity because there's no physical contact. The argument goes like this: If it's just looking and talking, who could be hurt? The answer is simple. Whether you're married or single, online cheating or having an online affair does amount to infidelity, and its discovery is likely to be devastating.

While there is certainly room for interpretation in discussions of Internet cheating, a broad, general definition of online infidelity is the visitation of adult web sites and chat rooms, or participating in instant messaging or emails with anyone besides your partner, the context of which is designed to create intimacy or sexual excitement.

On an emotional level, Internet cheating or any form of online infidelity causes real feelings of pain and betrayal for the partner who's been kept in the dark. The spouse who discovers online cheating will experience the same emotions as anyone who uncovers a more "traditional" affair: shock, confusion and anger.

How Often Does Internet Cheating
Lead to Physical Contact?

On the Today Show, a 2006 three-part series on "Cheating: The Business of Infidelity" claims that 18 million people in the United States participate in online matchmaking services like eHarmony or Match.com. Of those 18 million, it is estimated that 12% of those users are already married or involved in a committed relationship. Internet cheating is often a way to "test the waters" before a man or woman takes the next step in initiating a physical relationship with someone other than their partner.

Why Engage in Internet Cheating?
What are the Perceived "Benefits?"

Although there are many reasons to participate in online affairs (as opposed to the traditional type of cheating) some of the more common reasons for cheating online include:

♦ A safe and nameless way of finding and communicating with others, particularly for those who find their current relationship unsatisfying.

♦ Internet cheating is often viewed as keeping the need for dishonesty to a minimum: Rather than having to use a traditional excuse like a sudden business dinner or a late night working at the office, a partner engaging in Internet infidelity can literally meet people right at home - while his or her significant other is occupied elsewhere in the house.

♦ Many Internet cheaters wrongly assume that online cheating will leave few clues behind, thereby creating a false sense of confidence that their activities will not be discovered.

What is the Impact of Internet Cheating on the Family?

When an online affair is finally uncovered, its discovery may not be made by another adult living in the home. Children today, even under the age of five, are more technologically savvy than ever. Although there are many content filtering and other protective software packages available for public purchase, the majority of home computers today do not take advantage of these products. Thus, Internet cheating can very quickly become a family crisis if anyone in the house - including the children - should happen to discover the evidence.

It is always recommended that you enlist the services of a trained professional to deal with the emotional fallout from your partner's affair. But it's especially important that you get help from a professional when there are children involved too.

Internet Cheating: The Stages of Recovery

Recovering from your partner's online affair will look and feel much the same as recuperating from any other form of relationship infidelity.

Shock - You should give yourself some time to adjust once you discover your partner's Internet cheating. Resist the urge to give into justifiable anger that may lead to rash decisions you will later regret. Do not let pressure from your friends, family or even the cheating partner him/herself interfere with the time you'll need to work through this stage and develop a clear picture of what you'll want to do next. It is at this point especially that you develop a plan - and a Professional Life Coach can help you.

Anger/Hurt - Unfortunately, this stage in your recovery from Internet cheating is frequently the longest and most painful. Although you may wish it were otherwise, you do not stop loving someone the moment you discover their betrayal. You are bound to feel a complex web of emotions and you'll need the support of your friends and loved ones to help you get through this. It is critical at this stage that you work with a professional so you don't lose sight of the big picture.

Closure - Once you've regained control of your emotions and your initial heartbreak has been put into perspective, some important decisions can and should be made next. Is the damage done by your partner's Internet cheating the type of damage that is permanent and fatal? It's important to keep in mind that no matter how hopeless the situation may seem now, with coaching and support, you can fix it.

Internet Cheating: Restoring Trust

It won't be easy, and there are no cookie cutter solutions. Surviving Internet cheating involves teamwork, and both partners must be dedicated to getting the relationship back on track. It goes without saying that the partner guilty of Internet cheating must be willing to end all activities - immediately. They must also exhibit patience as trust is slowly rebuilt.

As the injured partner, you should be willing to find ways to manage the overwhelming emotions you'll feel throughout the recovery process. By doing so, you can work with your mate to sort out why the Internet cheating started - and what can be done to prevent it from reoccurring.

Don't get discouraged if you and your significant other struggle to manage this process on your own. A Professional Life Coach is trained to provide a safe and knowledgeable foundation to help you work through these issues alone, or as a couple.

Get Help Recovering from Internet Cheating

Talk to a Life Coach about an Online Affair

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