Private investigators get asked this question frequently. In their experience, it seems that the internet is safer and easier to meet people in than the real world is. On line, you can be the person you want to be. Maybe better looking, richer, happier, etc., etc. and it's safe to be that person. Mike, who was a mechanic in the Navy ten years ago in real life becomes Mike the former "Navy Seal" on-line. Michelle, whose college roommate became a model in the real world "does some modeling" when chatting with her friends in cyberspace.
You can type things on the internet that you would never say in the real world. In short, it gives people a place to fill a lagging self-esteem or to compensate for the short comings of their real life. Or to simply prey on others for fun, sexual pleasure or money.
Trust develops because this is the person "you relate to" and it builds up as more time goes by. It then gets to the point where they begin to be even more honest, sometimes totally honest, and an internet affair becomes a real relationship or affair outside of cyberspace.
Absolutely. Too many of clients consult with P.I.s and state their disbelief that their loved one would be trolling for sex on the internet or having an on-line affair. The reality is that, like affairs at school, work, church, the health club or any other social environment, it usually happens quite innocently and grows.
People go online and get to know one another in this safe internet world and slowly it progresses into cyber sex and or a real life relationship. Do not underestimate this format for people meeting and growing close on the internet. Internet affairs happen daily, in every town across the country.
This sub-culture is comprised of men and women who use the computer to meet other people who want commitment free sex. They are attracted to the excitement of the affair. They like to type stories about fantasy and sex. They look for others who share this desire.
It is important not to stereotype these folks. They are not just "strippers" or the "dirty old man" wearing a trench coat. This is your neighbor, the soccer mom, the teller at the bank, your accountant, the person next to you at church, your coworker and potentially your partner.
This group uses the computer the same way those looking for true love do. They visit certain sites (not always dating sites - sometimes divorced persons, pen pal sites, parenting boards, class reunion sites, recovery sites or shared interests), e-mail, chat and instant message.