Virtual cheating

Love and Relationships, The people you meet online Add comments


You are in the committed relationship and you discover that your partner has profiles on dating websites and a large group of Facebook ‘friends’ that they interact with on a regular basis. Some of this appears to be flirting, enticing or of a sexual nature, but this is just online so it doesn’t matter right?

Actually it matters a lot.

The fact that they are seeking out and maintaining these interactions is a major red flag. If they are committed to you, why do they need to flirt and have their ego stroked by others?

The Insecure

Insecure people don’t cope very well with rejection, abandonment and being alone. They are constantly seeking approval and validation. They also like to have replacements waiting in the wings for when the relationship with you breaks up, so that rather than face the pain of loss they can quickly jump into something else.

The Fantasist

The internet is full of people pretending to be something / someone they are not. You will not fall for the fantasy when you know the REAL person, but in a virtual environment there are people who will believe it, and this can become an escape where real life takes a back seat and dreams can be played out.

The Ex factor

Before the internet was available, when a relationship broke up, people drifted apart and often lost touch for good. These days, with the help of Social Media, we can click a few buttons and find a whole host of people from a different era of our lives. It could be that we once dated some of these people and when we look back at those times, we often do so in a selective way. We remember how good it felt, how much we were in love and how easy things were compared to the present. We forget to consider that there were reasons we broke up and lost touch, and that things were easier because we probably didn’t have the same burdens and responsibilities that we now carry – and that makes interactions with others easier too.

The Seeker

Whilst many of these online interactions will never actually take the step of meeting up face to face, there are many that will. They may be seeking casual sex, an affair, a way out of their current situation. Some dating websites are created for married people to seek out others for no – strings fun and other main stream sites have ‘married’ as one of the options in the drop down menu when you create a profile.

The Commitment Phobic

Contrary to common belief, commitment phobics DO commit, in a sense. They may marry or live with someone for many years and to anyone looking in, it looks like a commitment. But there is a twist to this arrangement. This commitment provides them with a built in excuse as to why they cannot commit to anyone else. They are open and honest about their marital status from day one. Everything that follows sounds like its coming from someone who is ‘single and looking’. The internet is an extremely valuable resource for this character. The day you want to make things more committed is the day you are reminded they told you they were married on the day you met.


Relationships need trust and honesty. They need communication. They need two people who are both running at 100mph in the SAME direction. Even with all of that, relationships are challenging and at times, extremely hard work.

When someone escapes to a virtual world, even if they never take it to a face to face encounter, they are still cheating.

They are cheating the relationship of time and energy by directing it somewhere else.

They are cheating in their thoughts and words.

They are cheating YOU of attention.

They are cheating YOU of an honest interaction because they will never admit how much time they spend doing this. You may think they go online for an hour after work, but you will have no idea how long they spend logged in and chatting at work, browsing on their phone or via phone call and text message. People can and DO experience feelings of love and attraction without ever having met in person. This often fails to live up to expectation when they eventually meet, but while its happening it feels very real. Think about that for a moment. Your partner could be feeling LOVE for someone else.

If they decide to take this OFFline and meet up in person then the online flirtation can very easily jump the barrier between virtual and REAL.

This all comes down to one very simple thing. Trust. You cannot stop someone from doing what they want to do, and you will drive yourself insane checking phone records, hacking into emails, trying to guess passwords or searching the internet for signs of their activity.

So if you find yourself in this situation, focus on the ROOT issue. This is not about what they are doing, who they are doing it with, how often it happens, what the third party is doing, who sent all the text messages that came last night, or any of the other surface nonsense that blocks clear thought.

You have a choice. You either trust, or you don’t. If you don’t trust, then your relationship is in trouble, how that trouble manifests itself is NOT the ROOT ISSUE.

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