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post #16 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-04-2017, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Online affairs

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My W knows I am on TAM but probably not necessarily discussing details regarding our marriage. Don't really know how she would feel about it. In all fairness though, this is stuff that I would gladly (and have) discussed with her. I just like to talk things out first (usually in my head first, but that is where TAM helps as it lets me get thoughts down on paper). Maybe it is a bit of overthinking, but I find our conversations go better after I have sorted my thoughts out vs just saying whatever comes to mind.

The way I look at it, if you are directing energy (sexual, emotional, etc..) away from your spouse (whether it be online on in person), you are quickly moving into what I consider an affair. I personally still consider a physical affair the most damaging (i.e. for me there is no going back, an online or EA I would be willing to at least try to talk through).
Yea, I can see why a spouse might not want their spouse talking about him/her online. But, if you're seeking advice, then I understand it. But, there are some married people on here who share waaaayyyy too much about what they do with their spouse sexually. And some of those threads become very flirty. Not trying to seem like a prude, but highly doubt their spouses would appreciate knowing that their sex lives are being talked about in extreme detail with people of the opposite sex. And that's out in the open. lol

I just think that if you wouldn't want it done to you, then don't do it to your spouse.


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post #17 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 05:43 PM
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Re: Online affairs

I don't think the question should be "Is it cheating?" The questions should be "At what point is it cheating?"

Because everyone's going to have a line.

The line for me was when my husband moved from porn to sex chatting. He was interacting with other women, in secret of course, for the purpose of sexual gratification. Not just random women in pictures or videos, but one-on-one. THEM, specifically. Chatting with a woman who undressed in front of her webcam for him. And he paid for it. I don't care if she's on Mars, that is NOT ok.

The line's going to be different for some, though, and that's OK. Some women freak out over plain porn. Some couldn't care less if their husband mutually masturbates on a regular basis with an online group as long as he never meets anyone in person. Whatever floats your boat I guess. And if the line for YOU is that anything done online only if fine, then all I can say is that you have a very lucky spouse. Or unlucky, depending on your paint of view.
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post #18 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 01:52 PM
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Re: Online affairs

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Originally Posted by Bananapeel View Post
I'm in the minority here, but I don't think it's cheating. I think it's inappropriate and bad for the relationship, but not infidelity.
If it is anything you would not say or do in front of your SO, it is cheating.

I assume this includes exchanging pics.
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post #19 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 01:55 PM
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Re: Online affairs

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Originally Posted by peacem View Post
I agree it is common. I think EA and online affairs can be considered grey areas, where everyone's boundaries are going to vary according to the context. Whereas a physical affair most of us would agree is absolutely an affair and totally unacceptable.

I wonder how many people on TAM are open with their partners that they go to a forum to discuss the details of their relationships. How would it make them feel if they read some of the things we discuss on here? How would they feel if friendships have developed here, either in public or in private messaging? Because I see this ALL the time.

Most regular posters seem to be here most days - philosophically speaking - is it possible that we are all having one big collective emotional affair? (I'm teasing - a little).
No just one big support group with daily meeting.
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post #20 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 02:05 PM
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Re: Online affairs

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I somewhat agree. There’s such a fine line though. I live in the northeast United States. Let’s say I caught my husband sending sexual messages to a woman say in Cambodia. I’m probably not likely to think of that as CHEATING. Inappropriate, not good for the marriage, etc. but the likelihood of them meeting up is slim to none. He may as well be sexting with a bot at that point. It could be a catfish for all I know. Hurtful and inappropriate, yes. Damaging to the trust, yes.

But let’s say he’s talking online to a woman from the next town over. Definitely different. The potential for it to easily go physical is just too big. There’s not an ocean in between them to stop them.

Unfortunately, at any point that you are lying and/or hiding things from your spouse – you are at the very least deceitful and breaking their trust. Whether or not you consider it “real” infidelity, it still hurts tremendously and damages the relationship.
Why would it not be?

He was spending time and sexual feeling/ energy on that woman. He was pushing boundaries aside in a "safe" environment. What he did on line became second nature in his daily life.

When your SO is not the recipient of your affections and sexual desires, the road to cheating is started on. Any means that enables this is cheating in a degree.
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post #21 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 02:13 PM
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Re: Online affairs

When I have no problem with my wife looking over my shoulder with everything I look at and type, I am open and honorable.

When I have a problem with my wife looking over my shoulder with everything I look at and type, I am closed and secret.

This makes it pretty simple to determine which has value in my relationship, and which one does not.
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post #22 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 05:43 PM
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Re: Online affairs

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Originally Posted by *Deidre* View Post
Wow, such different and interesting opinions! I'm thinking that it would be cheating, I mean, look at the threads on here where betrayed spouses are crushed by their spouses having online affairs. Sure, no actual sex took place, but spending that much time emotionally connecting with someone other than your spouse, might be more heartbreaking than a one night stand.
Ohh it's cheating but I think cheating can come in degrees of variation. I do think physical affairs is more of a betrayal than an online one. That might just be a personal view but how I see it. I may have been able to forgive my x if she only texted inappropriately but once it was physical that marriage was 100% over no questions ask.
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post #23 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 05:13 PM
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Re: Online affairs

For the record and as a cautionary tale, I met my current partner on TAM, so yes, it happens. We were both in troubled marriages and probably ripe for an affair. We commiserated about our marriages via PM and then exchanged emails and took it off board. Things happened pretty fast after that. He lived on the West coast and I lived in the upper Midwest, but we met for the first time a few months after we started talking. Don't think of online affairs as innocent friendships.

We eventually separated from our spouses and moved in together (I moved to his state) and after 28 years of marriage, we are divorcing our spouses. While the divorces were already in the cards (in our minds, anyway), our spouses and families were traumatized by our actions and the effects of the affair are long lasting for all of us.

I would caution anyone who is vulnerable to attention to think about boundaries. Disable the PM option if needed. Be transparent. For us, small boundaries had already been crossed before we met so it didn't take much to cross another boundary and then another.
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post #24 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 07:06 PM
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Re: Online affairs

In my case, I have learned the devastation my online affairs have caused. The affairs involved mainly exchanging private messages over facebook and one man sent me a picture of himself shirtless. I would delete every message soon after any contact to prevent my husband from finding out. When I wasn't interacting with these men (either because I was at work or couldn't use my phone) I spent lots of time thinking about when would be the next time I would get to interact with them again. So right there I was investing energy and time on men other than my husband which was disrespectful and very damaging to my marriage.
My husband has told me that he always used to think that a physical affair would be worse than anything else but the online EAs I had through the course of almost a whole year have been incredibly painful and devastating. He now thinks that any form of cheating is horrible because of the loss of safety and trust that he used to believe we had in our marriage. I also used to think that my online affairs were not really that bad as they were in my view "not real life," but the fact is that the aftermath has been very much real: the shame and disgust I feel knowing that what I was doing was wrong, being exposed to my mother and siblings, realizing that I have come incredibly close to ending my marriage and* destroying my family,* all these consequences have been very painfully real.
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post #25 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Online affairs

I think that we all know if we're honest, what crossing the line would be. And if we would be ashamed to share it with our SO's, then it might not be cheating, but it would be ''wrong.'' Doing enough wrong online, will eventually lead to an online affair, nothing happens over night.


Sometimes, you fall in love with the most unexpected person, at the most unexpected time. ~ Unknown
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post #26 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Online affairs

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Originally Posted by Itwasjustafantasy View Post
In my case, I have learned the devastation my online affairs have caused. The affairs involved mainly exchanging private messages over facebook and one man sent me a picture of himself shirtless. I would delete every message soon after any contact to prevent my husband from finding out. When I wasn't interacting with these men (either because I was at work or couldn't use my phone) I spent lots of time thinking about when would be the next time I would get to interact with them again. So right there I was investing energy and time on men other than my husband which was disrespectful and very damaging to my marriage.
My husband has told me that he always used to think that a physical affair would be worse than anything else but the online EAs I had through the course of almost a whole year have been incredibly painful and devastating. He now thinks that any form of cheating is horrible because of the loss of safety and trust that he used to believe we had in our marriage. I also used to think that my online affairs were not really that bad as they were in my view "not real life," but the fact is that the aftermath has been very much real: the shame and disgust I feel knowing that what I was doing was wrong, being exposed to my mother and siblings, realizing that I have come incredibly close to ending my marriage and* destroying my family,* all these consequences have been very painfully real.
Wow, thanks for sharing this! I'm sorry that this all happened, but you probably grew from the experience. ((hug))

Sometimes, you fall in love with the most unexpected person, at the most unexpected time. ~ Unknown
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post #27 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 09:54 PM
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Re: Online affairs

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Originally Posted by *Deidre* View Post
I think that we all know if we're honest, what crossing the line would be. And if we would be ashamed to share it with our SO's, then it might not be cheating, but it would be ''wrong.'' Doing enough wrong online, will eventually lead to an online affair, nothing happens over night.
Crossing the line is different for different people. And when you're in the grip of an EA it feels right. The key is to have agreement between you and your spouse on what the line is, what good boundaries are and what transparency entails.

With transparency its possible to have your spouse notice before it gets too far and help pull you back.

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post #28 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Online affairs

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Crossing the line is different for different people. And when you're in the grip of an EA it feels right. The key is to have agreement between you and your spouse on what the line is, what good boundaries are and what transparency entails.

With transparency its possible to have your spouse notice before it gets too far and help pull you back.
Maybe. I just think to not put ourselves in those situations to start with, is probably best. We're only human.

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post #29 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 06:58 AM
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Re: Online affairs

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Originally Posted by *Deidre* View Post
Maybe. I just think to not put ourselves in those situations to start with, is probably best. We're only human.


Almost any situation can start an affair: work, hobbies, jogging clubs, PTA, Al-anon, etc.

The trick is to have proper boundaries to survive any situation.


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post #30 of 56 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 08:20 AM
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Re: Online affairs

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Originally Posted by *Deidre* View Post
I think that online affairs are a lot more common than people admit to, but many don't feel that having an online affair is really ''cheating.'' To me, it is. On this forum, I've read quite a few threads where betrayed spouses were basically betrayed by their wayward spouses having online affairs. Nothing physical happened, but the BS still considered it to be cheating. It doesn't happen over night though, so if you are married or in a serious relationship and are spending a lot of time privately talking to people from the opposite sex whether it's on social media, forums, etc, be careful. That's how affairs start.

Thought this was worth sharing here.

9 Signs You are Having an Online Affair
OP,
It is really a matter of perspective. One can see something as "cheating" whereas another may not. For example, I have a family member that always said "it doesn't matter where I get my appetite as long as I come home to eat". He felt nothing wrong with looking, fantasizing, daydreaming or whatever as long as he did not touch. I vehemently disagree with this assessment. To me, anything that detracts from a marriage, anything that could potentially damage it, is cheating.

To find stimulation in erotic thoughts about another woman I see as problematic because there will come a time where the thoughts become too familiar, too commonplace and no longer provide the necessary stimulation. Then what? The next obvious step is to "ramp it up a notch". Then what? So you see, to me, this is problematic but to him it was not. He did eventually go on to involving others and he and his wife are still together so perhaps his mindset changed to "it does not matter where I get my appetite as long as I do not eat out too much". I cannot say with certainty since I do not associate with him very much. The point is he sees nothing wrong with his mindset whereas I do.

So then what of online cheating? Can someone be unfaithful with their intellect, their emotions, their desires without physical contact? Well how do we define "physical contact". Is it defined as corporeal contact, physically touching another person's body with a part of your body? Or can we "touch" someone with our words, images, glances that can evoke real physical feelings not only in them but in ourselves as well? I believe we can and I also believe that if these things are done covertly that not only is the spouse being unfaithful but deceitful as well, which is another marriage killer.

So, to me, online "affairs" are in every way as real and as damaging as physical affairs since the intent, desire and effort are all put into it. These ingredients are crucial to a successful marriage when focused on your spouse and just as poisonous to a marriage when not.

Peace and long life
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