Is it cheating if it is only online? Some experts say “yes.”
"Online emotional affairs are just affairs that have not become sexual yet..." said Peggy Vaughan, infidelity expert and author of The Monogamy Myth.
Emotional affairs often start on the internet and then develop into sexual relationships quickly. Vaughan says that her research shows that 56% of online affairs moved into real time contact within one week. Shirley Glass, author of Not Just Friends, found that 82% of people who cheated were friends with their lover first.
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Research shows that an online relationship may actually threaten your marriage or partnership. Internet relationships develop from screen to emotional or sexual contact. Although this can relieve loneliness and lend a sense of availability to a relationship, it may actually lead to a deeper sense of isolation.
Are you hiding an internet relationship from your partner? Don’t ignore the attraction or interest to someone you are emailing or chatting with. Talk to your partner and let them know you want to stay close and be bonded with them. Decide what kind of transparency is appropriate for both of you as a couple. Tell each other about your online relationships before they become affairs in cyber-time or real-time.
Experts say an affair begins the moment you lie or hide an internet relationship from your partner. Don’t wait until there is already an issue. Sit down with your partner and talk today.
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