Move over pornography, there’s a new relationship killer out there: the online affair.
Almost everyone has a smart phone nowadays and with its increased accessibility to the internet, not to mention the privacy afforded on a mobile device, more and more people in committed relationships are now registering for dating websites.
These dating sites range from anonymous online linkups to more raunchy real life affairs. Some even have mobile phone applications, making them even more accessible. Of course there’s also the “old fashioned” way of using the computer – but this offers much less privacy and convenience.
How does an Online Affair start?
Online affairs almost always start off out of curiosity or boredom. One sees an advertisement on a website and after a few clicks, begins to explore the possibilities in their minds: Maybe I’ll use a fake profile; or I’ll just exchange a few harmless emails.
Before you know it, he or she is now signed up as a member on the dating website. It’s a bit like gambling, where it starts off almost in amusement; before the person is sucked into the vortex, by the thrill and excitement of something new and dangerous.
Now you might ask, why doesn’t everyone in a relationship with a smart phone sign up for these sites? The simple answer is that they are in happy relationships. In my experience with many couples in the last year, I’ve learned that if there is dissatisfaction in the relationship, that is usually a key trigger to exploring these websites. It could be poor communication, dissatisfaction with their sex life, or just overall unhappiness in the relationship.
A Slippery Slope
One thing to note of is that these people are not looking to cheat on their partners. What starts off as curiosity slips very quickly into something he or she would regret (of course there are those who are looking for a quick affair, but such people often use other more direct ways of finding another party). Unfortunately these websites are after your money, and make it very enticing and very easy for one to sign up. They do not think or care about you or your partner’s existing relationship.
If you or your partner have fallen victim to an online affair, you both need to seek relationship counselling from a qualified psychologist. This is the best avenue for you both to work through the affair and to process the hurt, guilt and pain that results.
It is very probable that there is underlying dissatisfaction in your relationship and working through those issues can strengthen your relationship, so that not only does this not occur again, but you will become happier in your relationship in the long term.
Author: Joey Tai, BA (Psych) Hons, Master of Clinical Psychology.
To make an appointment try Online Booking. Alternatively, you can call Vision Psychology Brisbane on (07) 3088 5422.