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Reports show chat rooms as a rising cause of relationship
Marriage therapists say many spouses turn to the Internet
for extra-marital affairs.
Therapists say some simply want a quick fling, but others
try to establish more meaningful relationships.
The Internet makes cheating on your spouse easy, affordable,
and people have access to thousands of sexual resources.
"It lowers the level of anxiety and risk. It gives
you more anonymity. It's just handy, and there are hundreds and hundreds
of people who are probably willing to hook up with you," said Dr.
William Spaine, Marriage Therapist.
Reports show nearly 650 million people worldwide use
the Internet and as that population grows, so will online infidelity.
Doctors say 60% of Internet visits involve romance, and
8% to 10% of people become hooked on cybersex. Cybersex involves any form
of sexual expression facilitated through the Internet or computer.
"It's very easy and it's very addictive. The Internet
is the crack cocaine of infidelity," said Stuart Reid. Reid, 36,
cheated on his wife online.
Therapists say that boredom in the marriage one reason
spouses stray. "They are looking for an external outlet, rather than
facing the anxiety it causes to really confront and explore the person
you are in a committed relationship with," said Dr. Spaine.
Studies show the majority of online cheaters don't have
physical contact, therefore they claim their actions are harmless.
"That's a rationalization," says Dr. Spaine.
"They are doing something deep down they know is wrong, and convincing
themselves it is ok."
Many online cheaters frequent chat rooms like Married
and Flirting on Yahoo. They start with a group conversation and quickly
move to one-on-one instant messaging.
Reid met his wife on the Internet and as technology helped
bring them together, it also helped tear them apart when Reid began having
cyber affairs. Reid says, "It was an escape really. It was to escape
from the fact that I was laid off and my marriage was starting to go down
Doctors say that fantasy is a major theme in cyber affairs.
Reid posted a false profile on an online dating service, creating what
he calls, "the perfect man".
"There were dozens of replies from women. I was
talking to maybe 5 or 6 at once," said Reid.
Even though he used false pretenses to meet women, Internet
flirting gave him validation.
"These women earn good money and they are attractive
and keep themselves in good shape. They were very desirable women and
I felt validated because these women were wanting to talk to me and wanting
to meet me," said Reid.
Therapists say people divulge more information online
due to lack of physical contact. "It's also that distance of two
computer screens. You are not talking to a person face-to-face in the
flesh," said Reid.
The lack of physical contact makes ending the relationship
a simple click of a mouse -- no questions asked -- and, while online relationships
end easily, the marriage suffers.
Reid regrets his online escapades. "At that point
in time, I did it to make myself feel better, but I regret doing it, and
I wish I hadn't. I would advise anyone who is doing it right now to stop
it because you're going to get caught."
Reid did get caught. He and his wife are now separated.
Research shows that one third of current divorce litigation
involves online affairs
Full credit for this news article goes to: KPOM-TV,