Internet chat sites, forums and frequent frequent Facebook interaction are the hallmarks of Y2K’s first decade of communication. Many people ‘talk’ online far more regularly than they do with each other. Can couples actually ‘cyber-cheat’ on each other? In the largest sense of the term ‘cheating’, yes. Couples cyber-cheat on each other all the time. And not just in a sexual or intimate sense. Anytime one partner spends inordinate amounts of time online, talking to others and ignore’s his or her partner’s requests for time and attention, that falls into the realm of ‘cheating’. This could be termed ‘cheating each other out of time spent together’.
Of course, some partners may not make themselves available to the other and an online chat site, forum or Facebook may provide some ‘social’ interaction. Or one or both partners may work online in one venue or another. This will of course, require that partner to spend time online, interacting with others, networking on forums, chat sites, Twitter and Facebook. This isn’t cheating. It’s interacting with one’s colleagues, albeit online.
Cyber-cheating is neither of those things. Cyber-cheating is purposely cutting oneself off from face-to-face, ‘real time’ interaction with loved ones in lieu of ‘digital’ or cyber interaction. That interaction may be same-sex friendships, platonic friendships or relationships of an ‘intimate’ nature. Clearly, the physical act of sex, the fruition of cheating, cannot happen online (although some forms of phone sex and mutual masturbation can occur). Setting sexual cheating aside, online relationships can develop to a level of intimacy that falls into the category of infidelity. Cyber-cheating can lead to exchange of phone numbers, text message, assignations to meet and if one party loses interest, cyber-stalking and physical stalking.
Cheating, cyber-cheating and infidelity are painful issues. Cheating tears families limb from limb. Cheating destroys self-esteem, trust and lives. Don’t pooh-pooh cyber-cheating. In today’s digital world, cyber-cheating, like cyber everything else is on the rise.Cell phones, Ipads, Ipods, Netbooks all have internet access. Digital devices put the world wide web at our fingertips. Cyber-cheating will only increase unless people make healthier choices.