Digital Infidelity - The Rise Of Online Cheating
There is a ton of information available for online dating. From how to post a winning profile to when and where of the first meet and greet. The darker underside of this is the new trend of online cheating.
Why Do People Cheat
People cheat for different reasons. Some out of spite. Some out of boredom. Others cheat because they never really wanted to be in a relationship/marriage, and believe they were talked/bribed/coerced in some manner to go through with it and now have regrets.
Regardless of the reason, it is a destructive action that most relationships never fully recover from.
Nowadays there is a new game in town. Digital cheating is at an all-time high. Infidelity has always been a part of the relationship world, but social media and having the world literally in the palm of your hand (cell phone) makes it so much easier today than it did just 10 or even 5 years ago.
Where Do People Cheat
You can meet someone who turns your head just about anywhere you go. The gym, social outings, bars, even the grocery store. The workplace has traditionally been where a lot of side action originated. If someone is looking to cheat, finding an accomplice is not difficult.
What Is Digital Cheating
Most people define cheating as having a physical (sexual) relationship with someone other than your partner. There is even the term ‘emotional’ cheating when there has been no actual sexual contact, but the two parties share thoughts, dreams and connect on a deep, intimate level.
Digital cheating is a side step from these because most of the time it is anonymous; meaning one or both parties never reveal their real names/locations. What they do, however, is share fantasies, engage in sexually explicit dialog and exchange nude photos/videos. All of these interactions are done online.
Since the individuals never actually meet, there are no late nights at work, evenings out with friends or mysterious trips to the store. Everything is done in the comfort of their own home.
How It Is Done
There are apps designed specifically to help digital cheaters. Anonymous chat rooms where real information is not required and even discouraged. Two people can talk, share intimate details, photos and even videos and everything is erased when they sign out of the app.
Some apps create fake ‘covers’ so it appears on the phone screen looking like a clock for example. Once inside though, an entire world of sexually explicit encounters await.
There is one app called Vault, where any information you add cannot be accessed without a special password. You can even browse the internet from the Vault with nothing traceable through your normal browsing history. A person can literally be in the same room with their partner and be texting (or sexting) with another person and even sending suggestive photos previously saved. The thrill of pulling that off can be quite intoxicating and the behavior will continue and even escalate.
The justification used for this type of ‘cheating’ is usually excused away as innocent fun, just playing around, blowing off steam, etc. Since the two parties will most likely never meet, they rationalize their decision as no harm no foul. There is no physical betrayal and often not even an emotional connection. It is usually all sexual in nature.
It is difficult to prove this kind of cheating because you will never catch your partner actually with someone, and seldom do you catch them in the act. The only real evidence is hidden on their phones/computers and unless you have access and time to hunt, you will have a hard time finding it.
If you do find out about this behavior, only you can decide what action to take. If you are just dating and find this early on, your best bet is to walk away. This is indicative of the kind of person they are and most likely they will continue.
If the relationship is several years strong and then someone strays, it might be worth it to look at the circumstances. Was it a onetime thing? Were there issues that led up to this type of encounter? These are not excuses, but depending on the strength of the relationship pre-cheat, it might be worth the work involved to restore.
If there were multiple episodes or little remorse, it is still most likely the best course to walk away. There are just as many reasons why people stay with cheaters as there is why they cheat, but at the end of the day, a mutually sustaining and healthy love partnership requires both parties to be dedicated and loyal.
A consistent breach of that trust will irrevocably sever the ties.
My hope is that none of you ever experience the pain of any type of betrayal. But it is always good to be aware of the dangers and temptations to guard your relationship and your heart.
And as always...
Hope With Abandon