Online or virtual infidelity

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Joe Dispenza

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Online or virtual infidelity

What is perceived in a certain way by one couple may be perceived in a completely different way by another. The meaning of online infidelity therefore depends on the agreements established within the relationship.

Last update: June 27, 2022

With new technologies, new opportunities have emerged, but also new problems. One of them is online infidelity.

Many still do not know whether to contemplate this modality among infidelities or to consider it, rather, a game without too many consequences. As in other cases, facts run faster than ideas and perhaps this is what leaves us a little confused.

Be that as it may, the truth is that currently several people form virtual relationships, even if they are already engaged in real life. In this case, there is no physical contact as such and it is this that makes it difficult to clarify the nature of the online infidelity. Does it count as a betrayal or should it be part of other kinds of fantasies?

"The last to whom we forgive infidelity towards us are those we have disappointed."

-Emil Cioran-

Online infidelity also leads us to question the very concept of infidelity. There are those who think that the problem arises only when feelings of love arise in the relationship with the third party. Even having sex with others wouldn't be as bad as investing your feelings in the other person.

There are also those who think that regardless of the modality, what makes the act reprehensible is the lie or the fact of hiding the relationship. How can we deal with this?

Online Infidelity: Just a Matter of Bargains?

One aspect is extremely clear: social networks facilitate infidelity. The UK portal Divorce-Online has published some statistics relating to its customers, according to which 80% of infidelities start on the Internet.

Before the world of virtual relationships existed, flirting was much more difficult for those who were already engaged. The risk of getting caught was greater, as well as involving more time and money.

Now, instead, it is enough to have a profile on a social network or enter a dating portal to start flirting with someone. The virtual world is an anonymous world, in which everyone can build their own identity as they wish. Anyone can create a character and live virtual relationships without any problem.

People who tend to be unfaithful or looking for a new relationship find a great ally on the internet. It remains to be seen why, despite having a partner, these people are looking for new adventures. Or if online infidelity negatively affects the relationship.

A dangerous game

Surely a large part of those who engage in infidelity online are in love with their partner. This type of infidelity, like others, often has to do with factors other than love.

Some just want to experience the thrill of the forbidden. Others want to test their seduction skills and feel flattered. Still others simply try to break the monotony.

The problem is that this virtuality tends to be misleading for several reasons. It's easy to create idealized images of people when you only have virtual contacts. Human beings tend to believe what they want to believe.

Many are concerned with showing only the most presentable and attractive sides on social networks. They only post photos where they look the most attractive and try to look smart and interesting. The most naive might even let themselves be carried away by this siren song.

Everything about the other is real

A 2010 study by Guadano and Sagarin on online infidelity revealed that there is a significant difference in perception between men and women on this topic.

Men don't give much importance to virtual relationships. In most cases they do not categorize them as true infidelity. Conversely, any sexual intercourse, including online sex, is perceived as a betrayal.

Women, on the other hand, think almost exactly the opposite. For them, any type of relationship that involves feelings is extremely important. They think online infidelity is a real betrayal. They also believe that any form of relationship with a third party has negative consequences for the couple.

As often happens in human realities, it all depends on the perspective with which the situations are faced and the context in which they take place. It is up to the couple, and only the couple, to clarify and define this topic. If there is no agreement of any kind and if, because of this, betrayal occurs, then it is natural that online infidelity results in a threat to the couple's relationship.

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