Is the Internet making it easier to cheat?

Posted by Brooke M.

Should we blame the internet for an increase of infidelity? Between dating apps, social media, and sites catered to people looking to have an affair it is safe to assume the internet has played a big part in the rise of divorce rates.

An interesting study conducted in 2011 by Divorce-Online, a UK-based legal services firm, found that over one-third of divorce petitions cited the word “Facebook”. According to the study the top reasons why social media platform, Facebook, was mentioned was due to having inappropriate messages, bashing each other on social media and from reporting spouse behavior. Facebook is one of many outlets available for married people to search for love interests or engage in appropriate behavior.  

The reality is that no matter how you spin it online affairs are just as hurtful as real life ones. Emotional relationships can be just as hurtful as physical ones because they spur feelings of anger, insecurity and jealousy. Sometimes people even find it an easier pill to swallow when the cheating is purely physical versus an emotional affair. The main reason behind that is because an emotional affair generally means the other spouse has already thrown in the towel on your relationship versus a one night-stand.

People are now looking for new love online when there’s trouble in their marriage. It is an easy medium to use when seeking gratification from other people who are interested in you. Those who are using the internet to seek attention from others have many tools they can utilize that specifically caters to people who are looking to flirt, meet and develop deeper relationships. Married people can search for new partners if their marriage is not satisfying them in a way it once did.

Internet is soon to become one of the leading cause of infidelity. Beatriz Mileham of Gainsville University conducted an in-depth interview with 76 Men and 10 Women, aged 25-66, who use the “Married and Flirting” chat rooms. 83% of the surveyors did not consider themselves cheating while 17% agreed that what they were doing was a “weak” form of infidelity.  The most common issue is that even when nothing physical happens the feeling of infidelity is as much as if the affair was physical. The study went on to find out that a third of the study did, in fact, go on to meet with whom they have been in contact.

It appears that the internet is not causing more relationships to fail but bringing problems that already exist in the relationship to the surface. The internet has only made it easier for people to act on their own desires. Though the opportunity for cheating presents itself more frequently than it has before, it is our responsibility to manage our relationships.

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