Many affairs these days are conducted not in person but online. It is cheaper and easier to meet an illicit partner online, and it is often much easier to keep the affair a secret. But although people who conduct online affairs may feel confident that they are leaving no trace for a partner to discover, no affair that involves sexual or emotional intimacy is going to be completely invisible.
Particularly for couples that have been together for a long time, behavioral changes that mark the start of an affair are difficult to disguise. Furthermore, the very lack of evidence that allows many cyber cheaters to feel safe can be the very thing that raises suspicions when such evidence is hidden by a sudden increase in secrecy.
When Cheating Partners Are Concealing Online Worlds
Signs Of An Online Affair
The beginning of an online affair is often accompanied by a sudden decrease in sharing and an increase in the need for privacy. Cheaters may suddenly stop sharing what they’ve been doing online or on their phones, and stop talking about the person or persons with whom they’ve been interacting.
This could mean that these interactions have already become inappropriate or that an individual has become emotionally involved and feels guilty about the feelings that have developed. The start of an affair will also mean a greater need to keep laptops, phones and other devices inaccessible. A partner might have been in the habit of leaving his or her laptop lying around or phone unlocked, but suddenly these devices are hidden away or protected.
The victim may have known their partner’s email and social media passwords, only to find that these passwords have been changed. Or, there may be more subtle signs of tracks being covered, such as old emails being cleared away or trash files emptied and permanently deleted.
A cheating partner may also be spending a lot more time on the computer or sending text messages. While there may be a perfectly legitimate explanation for this behavioral change, someone who is conducting an affair will often deny outright that there has been a change.
People who are worried about getting caught in the act of cyber infidelity often find it easier to issue an outright denial than to try to present a plausible excuse for how device-happy they have suddenly become.
Recovery From An Affair
Once an online affair is out in the open, it is not necessarily impossible for the relationship to recover. But one particularly difficult hurdle following online infidelity can be the acknowledgement of the affair and the acceptance of blame.
The fact that the entire affair happened online and the participants may never have met in person is often used as an excuse, and the cheater may even transfer blame to the victim for making such a big deal over what happened. Despite feeling betrayed, the victim may also wonder whether he or she has the right to be so angry and to demand couples therapy or other serious action in order to repair the relationship.
But research has found that cyber infidelity can be just as devastating as other kinds of infidelity. For a relationship to recover, the cheater needs to be held accountable for the affair and be willing to do the work necessary to rebuild trust and intimacy. The online excuse is just that—an excuse and an attempt to manipulate the person who has been wronged.
Learn How Online Affairs Are Emotional Affairs