Is online infidelity the last relationship taboo?
Last week, I logged on to Facebook and saw that I had a private message from a witty guy who had posted on my wall several times. He was a friend of a friend whom I’d never met in real life. I liked him. I probably could have really liked him, except for the tiny matter of my boyfriend, with whom I’ve lived for nine years. I hadn’t mentioned my boyfriend in any of my posts because it didn’t seem necessary to say “Great link about the pointlessness of vegan doughnuts and, by the way, I’m in a serious long-term relationship.” But now the public messages had become private (he complimented me on my profile picture), and I knew I was tiptoeing into potentially dangerous territory.
It happens all the time. You’re Facebooking, Twittering or Flickring and suddenly you make a real connection with someone you might like to meet. If you weren’t married/ engaged/involved, you’d go for it. Instead, you keep it virtual. You share mutual interests, develop private jokes, communicate more frequently and confide in each other. It seems so harmless — you’re not out buying new lingerie or making up excuses about working late — but soon you’re hooked. You’re deep in an online affair — the new way to cheat that’s destroying relationships the same way the more traditional, tryst-based affairs do.
Emotional infidelity used to take place primarily at work, where you could grab lunch with that cute guy in the cubicle next to yours every day of the week without feeling like you’d moved to the cheatin’ side of town. Now, of course, you don’t have to wait for 9 a.m. on Monday morning; you can fire up your laptop anytime and cheat to your heart’s content.
See why the rise in emotional infidelity is not so surprising on the next page ...
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