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Emotional Or Virtual Affairs - Is A Virtual Or Emotional Affair Really Cheating?
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The internet has made it easier than ever for people to start and maintain relationships with people outside of their immediate social circle. Online chat rooms, forums, dating sites, social networking sites (Facebook, My Space, Twitter) instant messaging, e-mails, texting - all of these can be vehicles for people to meet new people, or get back in touch with people from their pasts. Geographical boundaries are no longer an issue. It's easy, it's mostly free and even people who have very limited access to leave the home (think of mothers with young children) find it possible to maintain what has become known as virtual affairs, online affairs or emotional affairs.

But is engaging in an online affair really cheating if you do not physically get together with the other person?

Most people would argue that a virtual affair or emotional affair can be very damaging to a relationship and even cause a marriage to end in divorce. There is a difference between making friends on a forum, friends with whom you have a hobby in common maybe, and "talking" on line with them a lot. This might be annoying to your spouse if it takes up a lot of your time. But that is very different from a virtual affair, where you rely on someone to fill your emotional needs and make a deep emotional connection with them.

What most people crave in a marriage is intimacy. Intimacy and emotional connection should be the foundation of a marriage. If you are seeking emotional intimacy from someone other than your spouse, if you feel you are "in love" with them and they are a very important part of your life, the fact that you may not have physically consummated the relationship (had sex) can be pretty irrelevant. In the mind of most people, an emotional or virtual affair is still cheating.

Unfortunately many people have gone through the pain of dealing with cheating in their marriage. Many have said it would be easier to deal with their spouse having a one off momentary lapse of judgement and sleeping with someone they will never see again, than dealing with their spouse being in love with another person and committing part of their life to them, even if it is "just on the computer". Again, the fact that the relationship is never consummated (mostly because of lack of opportunity) is poor comfort.

Even if you don't agree that a virtual or emotional affair is cheating, you have to concede that an online affair or an emotional affair is a clear warning sign that your relationship is in trouble. Clearly something is missing in your relationship. If the emotional or virtual affair is meeting some need that is not being met within the marriage, this is always a danger signal. Working on making your relationship with your spouse and fixing your marriage needs to be an immediate priority before it’s too late.


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