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Reports show chat rooms as a rising cause of relationship failure.

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 hill."

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, AR

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Affairs Fact

30% Of online relationships evolve into real-world affairs. A staggering nine out of ten women in relationships flirt with other men on a regular basis.

Affairs Fact

Studies find that more than one in five men do have an affair, at least once in their lives, and that women are now about as likely as men to cross the line.

Affairs Fact

In a survey 98 percent of men and 80 percent of women surveyed reported having a sexual fantasy about someone other than their partner at least once in the previous two months. Bet it's higher!

Affairs Fact

The chance of a married woman having an affair is highest within the first five years and falls off gradually with time. Men have two high-risk phases, one during the first five years of marriage and, the second, after the 20th year.




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