Online affairs are emotional affairs that do not involve physical contact. These affairs do create the same strong emotional connections that bond married couples together. Virtual affairs are just as devastating to the family as a physical affair.
- Emotional affairs are carried on in secrecy.
- The cheating partners would not share their feelings with their significant others.
- Going through more effort to spend time with someone else than with the spouse.
Cheaters that use the internet to find partners often believe they are doing nothing wrong. Spouses that have admitted to having virtual affairs thought nothing was wrong with their affairs because they did not have physical sex or contracted a sexually transmitted disease. Some partners even underestimate the response to participating in an emotional affair. They did not understand why their spouses were so distraught about discovering the virtual affair.
Effects of emotional affair can mimic the severe symptoms of losing a loved one :
- Denial – He loves me so much he would never…this could not be happening to us.
- Anger – This is my fault because…
- Bargaining – Fix this and I will act like somebody else…
- Depression – I give up on us…
- Acceptance – Admission it happened…
- Distrust – The more trust the deceived spouse had the more anxiety and the more second guessing could occur.
- Obsessive behavior – Reviewing the details and events of the infidelity.
Many partners that find the wounds reopening everytime they encounter reminders of the transgression could be suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome.
Spouses that participate in online affairs often believe these types of affairs are easier to hide. Divorce lawyers, detectives and even the average nontechnically savvy housewife will tell you that they are easy to reveal . Here are a few ways spouses discovered their mates were cheating on them:
- Messages on the phone and numerous contacts on the phone bill.
- Check the computer history.
- Nanny monitoring on the computer recorded the sites even after they have been deleted.
- Images remain on the computer hard drive, the cache and cookies.
- Strange viruses with known sources. ( Many meet-up sites are phishing traps and sources for infecting new comers.)
- Often the other cheaters will friend each other on social networks.
- Googling your spouse’s name or avatar names will reveal the commentary that they have shared across the internet.
- Lawyers can subpeona social network sites for past conversations and phone companies for texts.
The problem with emotional adultery is the cheater is no longer actively securing the emotional bond with the spouse. In many cases of traditional and emotional affairs, spouses spoke to counselors about being treated worse shortly after the affair began. The need to be online or on the phone became more important than being physically present for real world activities.
Many people that seek multiple extramarital affairs and relationships are said to be infatuation junkies. Infatuation junkies are addicted to the dopamine, phenylethalimine and oxytocin that overwelms their brains and bodies everytime they experience a potentially new love or crush.
Emotional affairs can reveal there is a problem in the relationship that can be resolved with help. Often eliminating the problem through counseling, healing and efforts for reconciling can help the married couple to improve their relationship. The spouse that was hurt by the affair will need patience and help until the wounds of the affair are healed. If there are reminders that cause wounds to reopen and uncomfortable emotions to surface, the spouse maybe suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome. Counseling can help ease both spouses back into normalcy. Families hurt by emotional affairs are encouraged to get involved in couples counseling. A counselor can create a safe environment inwhich both partners can discuss the source of the problem, discuss conflict resolution and help the couple get back to cohesively living together.
To read more about Emotional Affairs:
Dr. Mary Jo Rapini, psychotherapist – Turning Off An Emotional Affair Before It Gets Physical