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   Home  > Articles

Online Affairs

By Peggy Vaughan

A Typical Scenario

This new arena for affairs, although not initially involving physical contact, is highly-charged sexually. It involves the same kinds of thinking and emotions as other affairs—including the secrecy, fantasy and excitement, as well as the denial and rationalization—and it has the same potential for being devastating to the primary relationship.

Here's a typical scenario:

1. You spend more and more time Online.
Online interactions provide an "escape" from the realities of day-to-day living.
The fantasy world online can make the real world seem dull and boring.
The sheer numbers of people create unlimited potential for "newness."

2. You meet someone interesting Online.
You present the "best side" of your personality, and so do they.
You share confidences: hopes, fears, fantasies.
The intense sharing brings you closer and closer together.
You fantasize about being more than online friends.
You become infatuated with your "friend" and want more and more interaction.
You feel like you're "in love."

3. Your primary partner suspects/knows about your online friend.
You deny or rationalize about your online activity.
Your partner becomes more and more suspicious and threatened.
You ignore or deny the impact this is having on your partner.
Your partner learns more and is devastated by the situation.
You tell yourself that since there's no actual sex involved, it shouldn't matter.
You grow closer to your online friend and more distant from your partner.

4. You want to meet your online friend in person.
You feel like "soul-mates" or that you were "meant for each other."
You consider "risking it all" to see your online friend.
You either meet and engage in sex or you don't and feel like "star-crossed lovers."

5. Your life has been changed in ways you never intended.
Your online relationship ends-and your "real" one may end as well.

Reflections on this scenario

In this article
- A Typical Scenario
- Reflections on this scenario

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