It’s the era of online cheating. Instant messages fly without pens or stamps, and with the ease of illicit communication some individuals are suspicious that their partner is romancing someone else online. It’s not difficult for individuals to create multiple Facebook, e-mail and other online accounts, with accompanying fictional identities.
Cyberspace can blur the lines of true infidelity. While some intend to seek out an illicit affair, others fall into habitual online flirtation that then leads to cheating. A simple flirtatious sentence at the end of an e-mail can set a ball in motion for two people who may have found each other attractive, either online or in person. Curiosity leads to more messages, leads to pictures and then frequent communication. Before long a partner may become more emotionally intimate with their online partner than with their own spouse. Even though there’s no physical contact with a person, an individual can find their attention and allegiance to a person switch over to another because of their emotional connections. Before they may realize it, they can become entangled in an emotional affair.
For those who think their partner may be cheating online there are some telling signs:
- A partner quickly closes the computer or puts away their phone when a spouse walks in the room, or angles their screen away
- A partner refuses to add their spouse as a friend to their Facebook account, share their online social media account passwords or seems overly private or defensive about their account privacy
- A partner may buy flowers or gifts to alleviate their guilt.
There are also signs to help individuals consider whether they themselves have fallen into an illicit online romance:
- If you would rather share news with those online rather than in person with a partner
- If you spend much of your day checking social media in anticipation of a message from an online partner
- If you’re keeping online activity or correspondences with certain people secret.
When couples communicate well they are less likely to stray, and more likely to patch up relationships that become broken. By setting rules about online communications with outsiders couples can be more aware if they or their partner might be straying from their relationship. Rules about secrecy, multiple accounts and other behaviors mean partners have a baseline they can use to evaluate their commitment and honesty. Open lines of communication regarding trust and confidence will keep the relationship strong.
After trust has been broken some couples find it hard to regain passion or comfort with their partner. Rebuilding strong communication can help couples form a trusting partnership again. Sharing, talking and sending each other flirty e-mails all help relationships grow stronger and more intimate.
If partners need help rebuilding their romance they should consider going to see a relationship counselor. A third party can often ask the hard questions and can see the entire situation from a non-biased view. It’s not a weakness to come to utilize a counselor. Rather, it shows that a couple is determined to repair their relationship, instead of letting it slip away.