Saturday, March 03, 2012

If It's Online, Is It Cheating?


In our technologically advanced world, computers and the Internet are becoming a part of life. We use the Internet for information, email and now even dating. With thousands of dating sites out there, it's easier than ever to hook up with someone across the country! The popularity of online dating has skyrocketed and the statistics are astounding.

With that comes the increased ability to cheat with anyone, anywhere. Married people all over the world are starting to use the internet to carry out full-blown affairs. The question is, is it really cheating? If you never see the person or have physical contact, should it be frowned upon? Those doing the act of cheating of course see nothing wrong with it, but those being cheated on have a different opinion.

As some background, online cheating is much more common than one may think with about 30 percent of visitors to online dating sites identifying themselves as married (the actual number of married people on online dating is probably much much higher). There are even online cheating sites specifically for married people which describes themselves as discreet dating sites for married people with no excuses and no explanations. Though many may not think of innocent chatting and cybersex as cheating, it usually leads to more. In an article written by David Koeppel, online cheaters describe it as "exciting and addicting." One person says,"Its power can be trance-inducing." These people use the internet as their outlet to escape from reality.
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Again, the big question is, is it really cheating? John LaSage, a California man was left by his wife for an internet boyfriend. He says, "chatting is OK, cheating is not." That’s where he draws the line. However, there are others who may be hurt by chatting alone. If a spouse is online chatting day and night, it takes valuable time away from the spouse. One woman who has been cheated on says, "he swears he loves me but shows more emotion for these online women than me." This illustrates that even with the absence of physical contact, online cheating can still ruin the emotional factors in a marriage. Health, Beauty and Fitness magazine says, "we believe that sharing your emotions with anyone other than your current partner is adultery whether the relationship is physically consummated or not." The emotional aspects are often stronger and more important than the physical. This can lead to a very hurt spouse if he or she finds out about the affair. With this comes the other big reason why people think online affairs are easier, the ability to hide them.

Many see online cheating as the easy way out, but it may not be so easy. It's easier to chat online at work or have cybersex on the computer rather than in a hotel, however, everything can be traced on a computer. It's always lingering in cyberspace somewhere. Many businesses are starting to make a living off of tracing devices for the internet. They sell these packages to people that are suspicious of a loved one or family member and they allow them to view chat conversations and much more. Along the same lines with chatting and cheating online is the viewing of internet pornography. As people experiment with online dating sites, they are bound to come across pop-ups and links to pornography.
Internet pornography is of course another touchy subject with married couples. It leads the other spouse to feel inadequate and unimportant. But again, is that cheating? Nielsen Net ratings have found that 17.5 million people have visited pornography sites in their home each month. That's a very high number, so is there something wrong with it or is it normal? Dr. Phil has his opinion on this matter. For more, go to Dr. Phil's Homepage.

Of course everyone has their own opinion on internet dating, pornography and other related topics and no one will ever know for sure until they are put in the situation. However, anything as time consuming and personal as some of these online relationships seems to be as bad as cheating in real-life with a real person. Not to mention the fact that most online affairs develop into something else. As they say, once a cheater, always a cheater. So don't rule out the possibility that your spouse has an online lover. Many who aren't computer savy see it as the easy way out so it's becoming more and more common. But as for the question, is it cheating? I say it most definitely is. It makes the other partner feel lonely and unappealing just as in a real-life affair. So beware, the internet is becoming more and more dangerous.
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