Online dating is one of the fastest growing industries today. Every day, hundreds of thousands of us log on to one or more of the growing number of sites available; some looking for serious relationships, others for friendship and companions, and still others for casual flings and that extra ‘bit on the side’.
Some sites claim to be purely for genuine singles seeking committed, long term relationships, others turn a blind eye to, or even actively encourage, married or cohabiting members who may or may not use the sites with the blessing of their spouse or partner.
Of course many people who use online dating sites do so purely for chatting and exchanging messages and never meet face to face; with the steady growth of the Internet as a communication tool since it’s inception, it has become increasingly possible for netizens to conduct deeply involved, real time relationships with people they have never actually met.
So what does this change with regard to the old ways of doing things? When does an online relationship become ‘intimate’? Can you fall in love with an avatar, and can you cheat on someone, or with someone, who is in a different time zone?
A recent study by Dr Martin Graff of the University of Glamorgan showed that our perceptions of what does and does not constitute ‘cheating’ online are affected by a variety of factors – most prominently, and perhaps unsurprisingly, by the level of information dating site users are prepared to disclose about themselves;
Dr Graff explains “From this study, it seems that the greater the level of typed disclosure, then the stronger the perception of infidelity.”
Seemingly, in the absence of the ‘nonverbal cues’ on which face to face interaction relies so strongly, how much we are prepared to give away about ourselves is the primary indicator of how intimate our online relationships are and by extension, the degree of unfaithfulness inherent in the actions of non single site users.
Perhaps more surprisingly, the study also showed that the time of day at which online encounters took place was also a key factor in establishing infidelity, concluding that “Exchanges later in the evening were perceived to be more infidelitous, than those which might take place in the day or early evening.”
Ultimately the jury is still out on exactly what constitutes online infidelity and indeed relationships over the net as a whole. It is doubtful that a firm conclusion will ever be reached as the world of online dating and relationships, as in ‘real life’, will always be immensely subjective due to the differing moral standards and emotional responses of the individuals involved.
Studies like Dr Graff’s can however provide a fascinating insight into the human causes and effects of the modern world, and how these are shaped by the direction of our rapidly developing and changing communications technology.
Emotional Infidelity in a Relationship: What is Emotional Cheating?
People define cheating differently. Some people define it as an emotional act as well as a physical act and others just define it as a physical act. That topic alone can cause some issues in a relationship if both parties define cheating differently.
So, in order to eliminate obstacles that may later come into play it’s always best to make certain you know how the other person in the relationship defines something like that.
Although it’s not pertinent that couples are exactly alike, there are obviously some important areas in a relationship which help uplift it rather than hinder it. And this type of topic can be one of those things.
Truthfully, I believe that it’s difficult to keep the romance alive and a relationship on a positive note if you’re unable to work in unity with your spouse. Especially if one of you defines cheating in one way and the other defines cheating in another way.
Usually, physical cheating is what we all refer to as cheating. It’s a general consensus, so it’s emotional cheating that can be the real culprit behind ruining a great relationship.
So we’ll talk a bit about that today.
What Exactly is Emotional Cheating?
Well there are different levels of emotional cheating, but let’s discuss the most significant forms of emotional cheating…
1) Lying by Omission
Some women consider cheating to be a secret that is kept from them. For instance, their spouse has a dinner date with another woman, but doesn’t bother to mention it.
Whether this situation is considered cheating depends on the relationship you have with your partner and the type of friendships you have outside of your partnership.
Since the pendulum can swing either way it’s best to make certain you both see eye-to-eye before it ever happens (if it ever does). Maybe you don’t think it’s important to mention it because it doesn’t mean anything and mentioning it would give it more weight than it’s worth, but it’s best not to assume something like that but to talk it over instead.
The reason for that is because, on the contrary, some women feel that if it was so unimportant, then why not just mention it. It’s a catch-22 situation. So, a constructive way to handle a circumstance like that it to discuss it with one another before it ever has a chance to occur.
2) The “Roaming Eye”
When I speak of the “roaming eye” I mean visual disrespect to your partner. Acknowledging someone’s beauty is one thing, but the “roaming eye” is a much more intense act.
It’s beyond acknowledgement. In a situation like that, fantasy creeps in and your partner feels mistreated or upset due to the act of disregarding her and making it clear you would like to have sex with the person in your sights.
Under those conditions, it can turn into a huge problem for the relationship. Of course, it’s one thing to notice someone’s beauty from time to time, but the “roaming eye” is another thing altogether. It can lead to insecurity issues, trust issues, and sometimes result in actual physical cheating.
So exactly what is the “roaming eye?”
Although I couldn’t possibly mention everything, let’s talk about the more obvious actions…
The “roaming eye” constitutes going to strip clubs, ogling women in the street, and commenting can also be a part of the issue in which verbal insinuations are made concerning what you would like to do with that person. Taken too far, it can be emotionally abusive to your partner and result in a destructive relationship that could eventually lead you both in separate directions.
So, a constructive way to handle this situation on a personal basis, is to treat any woman like you would want someone to treat your wife, sister, mother, or any other female that you regard with the highest respect.
Of course, it isn’t always going to work because you’re human, but it’s a good place to start. By asking yourself, “How do I want other men to treat my partner?” can help you change the entire way you see things.
For example, someone ogling your wife in a disrespectful way is most likely something you would not take kindly to. Perhaps you’d even be infuriated if you witnessed it happening. So, if you apply those feelings to a woman that catches your eye, it makes it somewhat easier to want to treat that person with a lot more respect.
After all she is someone else’s relative. Obviously not yours, but someone’s.
3) Physical Contact
This type of emotional cheating occurs when you go to strip clubs and receive lap dances or some other similar type of contact from the opposite sex.
As a man, you may not consider this as cheating, but your partner may. As a result, this induces conflict in the relationship in which your partner feels betrayed and you feel as if you didn’t do anything wrong.
If this does occur, a constructive way to handle this is to put yourself in your partner’s shoes or put your partner in the stripper’s shoes.
For example, would you want her in a male strip club receiving lap dances? Or would you want your wife in front of other men stripping and giving other men lap dances?
Chances are good the answer is “no.” If you reverse the situation, it’s easy enough to look at it constructively so that the two of you can work on resolving the issue by basing it on the old saying, “treat others the way you want (your wife) to be treated.”
Be objective, be honest, and most of all… be fair. Work hard at trying not to give yourself extra privileges you wouldn’t give your spouse. Make it your responsibility to be considerate to other women just as you would want another man to be considerate to your wife.
Work Together in Unity
Since this issue is such a big one, it’s important to sit down with one another and discuss why it’s happening if you aren’t in agreement about your actions, because a great relationship is built on unity between a man and woman and if there isn’t any unity… it will lead to a lot of problems.
As a man, some of the distraction you’re fighting against is biological which is often due to visual stimuli which you can’t help. But that doesn’t mean the promotion of that behavior is necessarily right. It’s one thing to have a natural response to something like that, but it’s another thing to use that natural response to benefit you in continuing on in that behavior.
An important thing to do is to make certain that excuses on either end aren’t being made. Excuses and denial don’t resolve anything. Serious situations like that require both parties to own up to their faults.
Pride should be left at the back door, so your relationship doesn’t take a beating because of it. Avoid treating it like a game of matching pride against pride.
To eliminate pride in the beginning, you may find it a good idea to talk about how you want to handle the discussion on each end before you bring up the conversation. Consider saying something like…
“I wanted to talk to you about something, but before I bring it up, I thought maybe we could talk about how we want to handle this conversation, because I don’t want anything getting in the way of us resolving it. I know sometimes I can be stubborn, so I feel it’s important for me to say that when we discuss this I don’t plan on allowing that to interfere with us fixing this situation.”
When confronting it like that, it allows the problem to take the forefront so that when you do end up discussing it, it makes it easier for you both to stay focused on the topic at hand and keep it on a positive note.
You can then discuss it in layers by trying to explain why you do what you do (besides the obvious reasons) and she can explain how it makes her feel and then you can both focus on how to resolve the issue together–in unity.
It’s easy to feel that emotional cheating doesn’t hurt anyone, because in certain ways it can be defined as an invisible act, but don’t underestimate the damage that it can have on a relationship. It can do just as much damage as its lethal counterpart “physical cheating.”
Sure, there may not be any touching involved, but infidelity is not just a physical act. Remember, be objective, be honest, and most of all… be fair. You are no exception to the rule. Work hard at being faithful to your partner in more ways than one–mind and body.
7 Clues That Your Partner Is Cheating On You
Cheating generally means that you are not fully satisfied with your current partner or you feel that something is missing in the relationship. If you were completely in love and happy within your relationship, why might it happen that your partner has an affair?
Trust is a big reason, not of your partner, but yourself. Probably for some time you have sensed something is different or questioned the change of behavior in your partner. Nobody deserves to be cheated on, no matter what state your marriage is in and if you believe your partner is having an affair now is the time to check it out and do a little investigation just to be sure.
Start by looking for the obvious things such as a change in the way your partner dresses, a sudden desire to look good, a change in work patterns, an unusual interest in the gym, secrecy over phone calls or emails, a loss of intimacy in your marriage, lack of sexual interest or distance between you that never used to exist. In the worst case you may spy on him/her.
Here are some important clues that might help you to find out if your partner is having an affair.
1.Changes in appearance and attitude. She has a sudden preoccupation with her appearance. She is more interested on how she dresses; go often to a hair salon and even to gym, even if this wasn’t her main priority before.
2.Lessened intimacy. If in the past you used to share everything with your wife and then suddenly she seems distanced and clams up when you try to discuss intimate things, it could mean that she has already distanced herself emotionally and mentally from you. She is suddenly frigid and loses any interest in doing anything with her husband.
3.She’s being secretive. She’s no longer sharing her daily events with you. She might avoid you because she feels guilty. Don’t get paranoid and suspicious, ask her if everything is ok and tell her she’s been acting differently lately.
4.Disinterest in family. If your wife is no longer excited to meet you at the door from work there must be a problem here. Or when your partner feels the sudden need to go out, try to find a reason to accompany her. If she comes up with a reason that she had to go on her own push the issue, not too much but just enough to see if she becomes more uncomfortable.
5.Less arguing and fighting. She used to get angry if you didn’t want to come out with her and her friends, but now everything you do is all right by her. Once upon a time, your every move had to be premeditated, but now all the small things you used to mess up aren’t enraging her. This could be a good thing, but you wonder why she no longer cares.
6.More phone and internet. She speaks a lot on the telephone using a low voice or whisper on the phone and hangs up quickly. Maybe she set up a new e-mail account and doesn’t tell you about it. Watch out because she might buy a cell phone and doesn’t let you know. Ask her if she is being true with you and if she becomes accusatory then it is obvious that she is cheating on you.
7.She’s always late. In the past she never came home late but now this happens more and more. Her explanation is that she had to stay more at the office because she has a lot of work to do. Or she goes to the store and comes home four hours later. This is definitely a reason to worry.
Cheating spouses often look and act guilty, give a general feeling that something isn’t right. They try and avoid meaningful conversations, keep everything at a general and non an intimate level.
Cheating is the worst form of destruction to your relationship or marriage; it is already considered a betrayal of the vows they took when they got married. The discovery of the act of cheating by the other half can either break the marriage or make it stronger depending on the strength of their love for one another.