Are Digital Affairs Still Infidelity?
When it comes to cheating, most people think of physical affairs. However, with the rise of technology, many people are beginning to question whether or not digital encounters are still considered cheating. After all, these affairs take place online and don't involve any physical contact.
So, what is the answer? Is online infidelity still infidelity?
Most people would say that online cheating is still considered cheating. Where things start to cross into "grey areas" are when one person is in a committed relationship and engages in an emotional affair without their partner's knowledge. This could still be considered "cheating."
If you are unsure whether or not your digital affairs constitute cheating, it is best to talk to your partner and come to a mutual agreement.
After all, communication is vital in any relationship!
Emotional Online Affairs
Sadly, many cheaters don't realize how secretive sexual behaviors can affect their relationships, especially with a trusting spouse or partner. Most people who have been cheated on say that it was one of the most devastating experiences they've ever had.
It would make no difference if the cheating happened in person or an online affair through the use of porn, webcams, social media accounts, cyber-sexual experiences, or some other form of digital technology.
In other words, a "virtual world" and even an emotional affair is every bit as painful to a betrayed spouse as a physical affair. No matter where or how the infidelity occurred, learning about the betrayal is incredibly traumatic for the cheated-on partner.
One study shows it can even result in acute stress symptoms characteristic of post-traumatic stress disorder.
According to the article, "Long-Term Psychological Effects of Infidelity" Dr. Dennis Ortman notes that:
You might experience symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress. Instead of a shock to your system, as with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), discovering cheating can be a mental shock to the system you’ve built as a couple... recovery from infidelity is not unlike the 5 stages of grief.
In some ways, the trauma that arises when a cheated-on partner learns about their significant other's infidelity stems from the fact that the betrayed spouse is usually blindsided by the information while the cheater has known about the affair all along. In some cases, the cheater may even have a sense of relief once caught.
Digital infidelity is just as harmful as a traditional affair when it comes to the emotional well-being of the betrayed partner.
After all, cheating is usually an ongoing pattern rather than an isolated incident. Knowing about a singular affair with a co-worker is scant preparation for learning about a spouse's enduring array of porn use, webcam affairs, emotional infidelity, prostitutes, and other matters. See our blog on sex addiction for further details on these types of affairs.
Partners who have been cheated on through digital means can experience just as many feelings of insecurity, emotional betrayal, pain, and anger as those who had physically cheated on. In some vases, the emotional damage caused by digital affairs could be even more severe, as these types of affairs often involve a greater degree of betrayal and secrecy.
The bottom line is that if you are cheating on your partner, it doesn't matter how you do it – the results are always devastating. Suppose you are worried that you may be straying into dangerous territory. In that case, it is best to talk to your partner about your concerns and work together to create a mutually satisfying relationship.
So, is online cheating such a big deal? The answer to this question is yes, cheating is a huge deal.
It can cause immense emotional pain and damage to a relationship. If you consider cheating on your partner, remember that the consequences could be severe.
So, what should you do if your partner has an affair?
First, you should talk to your romantic partner and why they cheated. This is important, as it will help you understand what went wrong in the relationship. After that, you should decide whether or not you want to try and salvage the relationship. If you do, then both of you should work on rebuilding trust and repairing the damage that has been done. If you don't, then it may be best to move on.
Remember that cheating is never OK, no matter what you decide to do; your partner has an affair, it is not your fault, and you are not responsible for their actions. You deserve to be treated with respect and love, and if your partner can't give you that, then it may be time to move on.
Is it ever OK to snoop?
While it may be tempting, snooping after you've been cheated on will only cause more damage to the relationship and will likely lead to even more distrust between you and your partner. Trust is essential in any relationship, and if you snoop on your partner, you will probably destroy any trust that has been built up.
What can couples do?
If you are worried that your partner may be cheating, there are a few things that you can do to try and find out the truth.
If you are worried that your partner may be cheating, talk to them about it and try to work together to resolve the issue. If they refuse to talk or seem defensive, it may be a sign of other issues in your couples dynamic. Remember that relationships require a foundation built on honesty and transparency.
If you have been cheated on in the past, there are a few things that you can do to help yourself heal:
Talk to someone who can help you deal with the pain and anger you feel.
Try to avoid any contact with your affair partner. This is important, as it will help you move on from the relationship.
Remember that it takes time to heal from a betrayal. You will need to do what's best for you.
Be Patient and Give Yourself Time to Heal
The bottom line is that digital affairs can still be considered cheating, but the definition of cheating may vary from person to person. If you're struggling with an experience that is happening online, it's essential to talk to your partner about what constitutes cheating for both of you. This way, you can work together to create boundaries and rules for your relationship and marriage that make everyone feel safe and respected. Remember, communication is vital in any relationship – especially when things get tough.
Trauma can be incredibly isolating. It is easy to discount the need to invest in your own healing when you are struggling. However, it is important to remember that you are gaining guidance and support in your healing process. Finding someone to help you through trauma can be difficult.
Contact Evolve Therapy to work through any trauma you may have experienced during an emotional affair. It can provide a safe space to process your grief, rage, and sense of betrayal. We're here to help you through your emotions, gain clarity and understanding, and begin to heal.