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Is it cheating?

Is it cheating?

We see it in the movies, on television, in books, hear it in songs, and it’s on the worldwide web – men and women in troubled relationships, looking for love in all the wrong places. Although healthy wholesome relationships have developed online and led to successful marriages, the opportunity to break marriage vows, cheat on partners, and in many cases bankrupt households and destroy families, is easier than ever. From a desktop, laptop, tablet, iPad, and now a cell phone, web-sites and apps make it easy to reach out to a stranger for what’s missing at home. Whether it is loneliness, an absence of romance and affection, an inability to communicate, or simple curiosity; good, wholesome, hardworking men and women are turning to the internet to fulfill emotional needs and satisfy a longing for intimacy. If this sounds familiar, Improving Lives Counseling Services can help.

No one really knows why people find it necessary to cheat and with chat rooms, webcams, messaging, and on-line pornography, many are finding it hard to define cheating. People are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on emotional, intimate relationships through computer-mediated communications. Although Psychology Today found more than 60 percent of those surveyed did not consider on-line activities cheating, real life spouses and partners felt hurt and betrayed. The fact most of these affairs are concealed from offline spouses is symptomatic of the harm they cause.

Meeting people online and building caring relationships is natural. Kids in the early and middle 1900s were encouraged to develop friendships through letter writing and Pen Pal programs. However, spending hours on the internet with the intent of becoming aroused, consciously or not, elicits a psychological state similar to those typically elicited by offline relationships and is unhealthy. Internet Addiction, failed attempts to control internet behavior, neglecting sleep to stay online, feeling guilty, ashamed, or depressed over online behavior, and withdrawing from family activities is just as real an addiction as an excessive preoccupation with the pursuit of intimacy outside of a relationship or marriage.

Why do people cheat? Scientists have been forming research groups as far back as the 1700s asking what they thought were the right questions, to whom they thought were the right people, and coming up with the same responses. Both men and women hunger for the highs found in early romance as they settle into long-term relationships, marriage, and family. Understanding and making the transition from early attraction to long-term attachment is challenging. Expectations of spouses and partners are tied to childhood interpretations, culture, background, and religious beliefs. Finances, low self-esteem, political preferences, child rearing, and community can all affect commitment, relationship, and intimacy.

Working through the struggles of relationship building, meeting each other’s emotional and physical needs, finding balance and maintaining a loving relationship, particularly in today’s environment, can be challenging. Yet, living out an intimate fantasy in an on-line world (a new way of cheating) is a breaking of trust and of vows. With websites created for the sole purpose of cheating and a lowered threshold, many feel comfortable with this new medium, incognizant of the emotional harm and turmoil on-line and fantasy relationships lead to.

The counselors of Improving Lives Counseling Services have the training, knowledge, tools, and experience needed to diagnosis and treat addictions and rebuild and save relationships. Are you or someone you know looking for love in all the wrong places? Have you or a loved one risked the loss of a significant relationship? Live the life you and your loved ones were meant to live. Improving Lives Counseling Services is here to help. Call us.