Maheu and Subotnik (2001) explain that the Internet provides an escape in the form of cybersex and so-called "virtual infidelity" to millions of people who do not know how to improve their difficult or unsatisfying relationships or whose religious beliefs do not permit divorce.
"They may find themselves financially, geographically or emotionally stuck. Whatever their reasons, they seem to be hungering for easy access to companionship and sex"The Internet has made it fast and easy to find and connect with others, and it's the ideal medium for secretive relationships. For those who seek it, infidelity is just a few clicks away.
"Cyber-infidelity occurs when a partner in a committed relationship uses the computer or the Internet to violate promises, vows or agreements concerning his or her sexual exclusivity" (Maheu and Subotnik, 2001, p. 10).Glass highlights the following three key characteristics of a relationship that crosses the line from harmless platonic friendship to deeper emotional attachment and infidelty:
"Beware of the lure of the Internet" where "affairs develop quickly" and inhibitions are instantly lowered and infidelity seems "innocent."
"1) greater emotional intimacy than in the marital relationship,
2) secrecy and deception from the spouse, and
3) sexual chemistry."
Extramarital involvements based on a deep emotional bond can be as painful for the betrayed spouse as a sexual infidelity. However, experts generally agree that affairs that include both extramarital infidelity and a meaningful emotional bond are the most disruptive.