The Internet’s Role in Affairs
With access to the Internet and websites designed specifically for those interested in extramarital affairs, the opportunity for an individual to develop intimate, secret relationships outside his or her committed relationship has taken on new dimensions (Hymowitz, 2011; Wysocki & Childers, 2011). Even a secret e-mail relationship can become emotionally charged and easily cross the line from friendship to loving someone romantically (Teich, 2006). More women than men believe that cybersex is cheating (Knox et al., 2008). While the Internet makes it very easy to reconnect with past loves and to find people for extramarital sexual relationships, this means of communication makes it almost as easy for a spouse (or an employer) to discover such relationships.
Most marital therapists have seen a significant increase in couples coming to therapy in crisis following a spouse’s discovery of an Internet-initiated affair (Cooper, 2004). Also, online contact is increasingly part of the cause of divorce (Hovde, 2011).