Online Flirting = Marriage Troubles

By: Amy Kehm
By: Amy Kehm

"Demise," as she calls herself online, says she's been popping in on one certain chatroom since February. The room? Yahoo's "Married and Flirting."

According to Marriage and Family Counselor Robert Tucker, "The lure of the Internet is very similar to what CB radios were to people in that there's the sense of anonymity."

"Demise" wouldn't say where she's from and admitted her husband doesn't know she does this. But when asked if she feels she's cheating, "Demise" types, "of course not" and "this is not cheating." But many professionals disagree. Tucker comments, "If you're doing something that you don't think your wife or your husband would approve of so you don't tell them about it, that, in effect, could be cheating."

Though she doesn't think she's cheating, "Demise" types that her husband's a jealous man, who would "take the computer away" if he found out. Tuckers says that just proves that she's doing something wrong.

According to a recent University of Florida study the most seemingly innocent online flirt can quickly progress to much more. Eighty-six online flirters were surveyed. Twenty-six of them met face to face with their contact. Of those twenty six, 24 wound up in a real life affair.

According to Tucker, "The dangerous side about the internet thing is not only is it the breach of the trust in the relationship, but sometimes people can't limit themselves and they act further on it." So the "innocent" anonymous flirt, can come back to haunt you.

As for why her husband would be so mad, "Demise" types, "We have a couple friends that have lost their spouse to someone on chat."

"It really is not the life that they think it is. Like you think you get a lot of energy when you eat sugar. But the crash afterwards is hard to deal with," says Tucker. He says getting rid of the Internet or your computer is not the answer. He says you should be more open and honest with your spouse.


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