Are Internet Relationships 'Cheating?'

There seems to be a lot of married people having flirty chats/Email with people on the Internet that they are probably never going to ever meet in person. Do such relationships qualify as cheating on the spouse [Or boyfriend/girlfriend]? Has anyone left someone because of it?

If you wouldn’t tell your wife (or significant other) every detail then it is cheating…

Not only is the glass half empty, I think someone’s spit in it…

I am with the ducks3 on this one. If you tell significant other everything and they give their acceptance to it then i suppose it is not cheating. Weather it is moral or not that is a different question.

I don’t know that it’s “cheating” in and of itself, but remember, guys, that many women are much more interested in emotional investment than specifically whether sex was involved. So if a guy is having long discussions involving intimate emotions, the woman may consider it a form of “cheating.”

And then there is also the fact that some of these relationships do go the extra step. I know of one couple that divorced because the guy decided to go meet a few of the women he was talking to. Now obviously there were other problems in the marriage, but she first became worried over the e-mail discussions, and he told her not to worry about it because they were just e-mail…

I don’t think chatting over email is cheating in and of itself. I’ve met a lot of great people over the Net, some of which have been involved with other people. Do I think they’re cheating? Nope. Of course, this is also probably because I know I’ll never meet them.

However, as David pointed out, sometimes the relationships can go further, but I’ve never seen this happen when the relationship wasn’t in trouble to begin with.

“Hindu Muslim Catholic creation-evolutionist”
-Neil Peart, RUSH, “You Bet Your Life”

Having cybersex is definately cheating. Sort of a “lust in your heart” thing.

I’m very happily married, and I chat with a lot of guys on ICQ . . . very innocent conversation, the kind you could have with your brother or sister. Nothing wrong with that. Just don’t let it go any farther, or you’re entering dangerous territory.

I don’t think there is any real difference between internet relationships and other relationships. I am probably “flirtier” in person than on the internet because this is simply not a very physical medium.

“Lust in your heart” may get you in trouble with G-d, but not with my wife. She knows perfectly well that I find most other women sexually attractive (for that matter, I know that SHE occassionally gets lustful twinges outside of the husbandly context!). She also knows I find HER extremely attractive and that there is more to a relationship than sex.

Whether an Internet relationship could be regarded as “cheating” depends on what the “game” is. If you are in a relationship where one partner would be incensed if the other were caught talking to another person, email is probably not much better. If, on the other hand, your partner would not get upset if she saw you giving another person a footrub, you probably have a little more latitude on the Internet, too.

You can’t define “cheating” by objective terms. You’re cheating if you’re betraying your partner’s trust. Any relations you have outside of your marriage (or other serious relationship) CAN be considered “cheating” if you’ve promised not to. OTOH, some people have such open relationships that even sex is not taboo. It all depends on what you and your partner have decided is acceptable.

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.
– Henry David Thoreau

Lissa, so what are you wearing, baby? :wink:

Let me tell you what I’d like to do to every inch of your body. First, I’d lick… :smiley:

The facts expressed here belong to everybody, the opinions to me. The distinction is
yours to draw…

Omniscient; BAG

My advice: do be careful. It is easy to get carried away with the flirting thing. After all, it’s just words on a screen, right? Yes,
well, one can find oneself feeling some pretty intense emotions even when it started out as just fun and games.

Been there; done that.

To me “real” cheating involves some kind of sexual gratification.

Sans the sexual gratification, it’s just flirting.

Contestant #3

God help me, but I tend to agree with Connie here.


 Phenomenal woman
 Bitch Corporate Lawyer
 That's me

Let’s define cheating first. I hardly believe we can reach a consensus here, but I’ll throw in my 0.02 worth.

We tend to forget that we have sex with the brain The … ahem … organs are just the tools, but it all happens in the brain. Expectations, campatibility (sp?), fun, arousment, procreation … all the feelings are in the brain.

So when is it a sexual relationship? Am I cheating for looking with lust at another woman? Nah. There has to be interaction. But If I find a girl at work sexually attractive, and I don’t interact with her in any sexual way, then it’s not cheating. But if we start flirting, and it’s mutual, I think I’ve deffinately crossed a border, even if we never have intercourse.

And flirting with a person over the net, is really an action of the mind, isn’t it? A conscious thing, not something that just happen. I’d consider it cheating.

And having had experiences with cybersex, I can tell you that it is cheating.


Cessandra said:

I think that is the heart of the matter. It’s “cheating” if your partner thinks it’s cheating.

Some may agree with C3 and Melin – that it’s only “cheating” if there’s sex involved. Some may even be so ridiculous as to think “sex” only counts if it’s actual intercourse, not oral sex.

But others, as I indicated earlier, may feel that it’s “cheating” if you’re having intimate discussions, etc. After all, is a relationship built on sex or on emotion and feeling? If you’re sharing that emotion with another, even if there is no sex involved, have you violated the relationship? Maybe…

My mom told me about a woman at her work that met someone over the net and left her husband for him, even though she had never even met him face to face before that time. I don’t know what has transpired since then, but I’ll find out. This happened not too long ago.

Although there was no breakup of a previous marriage involved, my cousin moved from Rochester, New York to Atlanta, Georgia and on New Year’s Eve (1998) married a man that she had met online.


 Phenomenal woman
 Bitch Corporate Lawyer
 That's me

My yardstick for cyber-relationships is the same as for all relationships: I don’t do anything I wouldn’t want to catch my husband doing.


Full of 'satiable curtiosity

I don’t think you can define cheating as “whatever your spouse thinks is cheating”. What if my husband becomes insanely jealous any time I leave the house without him to escort me? Am I then cheating if I go to the grocery store without him? He’d think so.

I think “cheating” is anything that compromises your relationship with your spouse. If you spend a lot of time talking to and thinking about someone online (cybersex or no cybersex) to the extent that you begin to neglect your spouse, you have a problem.

I had a client who left her husband for her soul mate she met on line. She moved from Michigan to San Francisco for him Two months later I had a chance to talk to her. He was not the love of her life anymore, but she loved him like a brother and had moved out of their apartment.

I think that relationships formed on the internet that carry over to the real world will have no staying power. It’s kind of like putting all your eggs (dreams) into one basket before seeing the chicken. ( It’s a terrible metaphor, so sue me.) You really need to know the person. Know their friends. Know their family. Know their coworkers to get a true feel for the true fiber of their character. The internet allows people to hide those character flaws (Like short temper, prejudices) or physical flaws that each of us find repugnant. Over the internet, all you would know of me is how funny I am. Know me in real life and you get all my inner demons live, uncut and uncensored.

There was a story about four or five years ago about ( and I am going to get this mixed up) a woman going to marry a guy (or a guy that was going to marry a woman) she met on line. The met, hit it off, the families met all was well and they married. It was like a month after the wedding that the groom discovered his bride was a man in drag. ( Or bride discovered it was a woman in drag.) They didn’t have sex because the imposter was " ill" or some such lame excuse. Whomever the injured party was must have been pretty stupid to begin with. I cannot imagine not being able to see the manliness or womanliness of the prospective mate. ( sorry I cannot remember this more clearly.)

I also met a guy on line who was from Australia. He IM’d me because he saw I was from Michigan and his girlfriend lived in Michigan. They met on line and he was a truly nice guy On line. He was 42 or 43 years old, divorced, two kids and lost a 10 year relationship with his live in because of this on line thing. This guy was madly madly madly in love with this Michigan girl. The girl was 25 and very nice but a as exciting as vanilla. Their "love’ I didn’t understand, he was a very intelligent, articulate, witty, charming, well traveled successful and handsome man. She was wishy washy and small town mind, though much prettier than the girl next door with a very nice body. You’d expect a vivacious woman to lure a man from Down Under to the Mitten State. It was his third trip to our state to see her and I would like to think that sex could not lure someone so far for such a thing, but I could be wrong. I could see nothing in common between them. When he came to town, the four of us (my hubby included)went out for a lovely dinner. It was one of the best dinners I’ve ever been too. Two days later she told him (after months of “I’ll think about it” that she could not leave her parents and all she knew to move so far away. This guy was devastated. He was blubbering on the phone to me while I was at work. What could I do, this guy was given the heave ho by this girl and he was so far from home. I took a long lunch, we talked and calmed him down and told him to spend the rest of the day at my office if he liked… He could fix all the glitches in our computers if he liked. ( He owned his own computer company) He did, and all the girls were ga-ga over his good looks and charm. He managed to put on a brave face, but it was very very hard for him. He did, however, fix all sorts of computer problems we had. I have lost touch with him after a dozen endless and frustrating chats with him online about how he couldn’t forget her and their love was meant to be and he would still call her and they’d talk every day.His phone bill was about $1500 a month to her alone. She was stringing him along while dating other guys. It was like his intelligence went out the window where this girl was concerned. He was very emotionaly clingy.

As for the original question: Flirting on line is ok. Cybersex, well it is kind of an interactive mental porno. I think the reason it is so popular is because cybersex last longer than the real thing, everyone is satisfied and there is no wet spot to sleep in. Whether it is moral or not is not my decision, it is your conscience you have to live with.

Holly, if you’re responding to Jess I think you got the message the wrong way around. Jess didn’t say “whatever your spouse thinks is cheating”, Jess said “you’re cheating if you think you’re spouse would be cheating doing the same thing.”

With your example, that would be saying that if you thought your spouse was cheating if said spouse even left the house, you should not be leaving the house yourself.

If your spouse actually DOES think you should not be allowed to leave the house, maybe you got the wrong spouse. :slight_smile:

While the Jess yardstick is a very FAIR guide to your own actions (basically, it equates to “no double standards”), it will do nothing to help a marriage where the spouses have very different standards, even when both are fair about it.