Friday, September 25, 2009

Cyberspace: Danger Ahead

There have been many questions posed regarding cyber sex, infidelity, online safety and appropriate limits to these relationships as regards our primary partnership.

There are two types of affairs that occur in committed relationships. There is the betrayal that occurs when one partner has a physical relationship outside the partnership. That type of betrayal may or may not involve emotional attachment.

There is also the emotional affair. Emotional affairs are particularly dangerous because the parties involved are building intimacy with a person who is not a part of their primary relationship.

When intimacy is built outside of the primary relationship walls tend to go up between partners. There is an instinctive reaction to back away, to retreat from the openness and trust that existed before one partner began to need to hide their feelings and actions from the other.

Neither of these affairs is positive or beneficial for the long term health of the relationship. Any time one partner must behave covertly, the line between acceptable interaction and unacceptable interaction has been crossed.

In cyberspace, where honesty and deception can easily become interwoven during texting and chatting, the specter of anonymity allows people to entertain ideas that they might not in live interactions. For this reason care must be taken when online to be wary of predators and abusers. The inability to read body language, tone of voice and gestures makes it easy for those who would deceive.

Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking sites can be great places to share tidbits of everyday life with family and friends or conduct business. Finding classmates from the past can be fun, but chatting with former beaus may carry the risk of opening up old feelings that may not belong in the present.

As long as partners don't password protect their computers from one another and allow each other free access (whether it's used or not) to each others web pages, there should be no reason for concern. Use common sense, when it feels like it's going in the wrong direction and you wonder if you should continue, you probably shouldn't.

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