It can only be guessed at how many relationships become unstuck in complete privacy and without media coverage due to these or similar circumstances – today reliable statistics about this are unavailable.
At any rate, couple therapeutics all over the world report a dramatic increase in the subject’s growing presence.
Flirting exchanges, chat rooms, news groups, online role-playing, and social networks – wherever one looks, everywhere alternatives to vanilla sex at home.
It was never any easier to experience the security of a real relationship and the titillation of flirting and cheating at the same time.
John’s protestations that the entire matter was just a game and not real did him no good.
Lisa terminated the relationship – for her the issue that John preferred virtual sex with a man to genuine sex with her was just too demeaning.
Instead having to deal with the dry reality of my relationship and the potentially irritating conflicts I seek refuge in a fantasy world where I have maximal control over the (prevailing) events. A clever Internet-operators as for instance Yahoo already even offer platforms especially targeting married folks who are looking for a little excitement on the side (for instance marriedandflirtingchat.com).
Obviously, that represents a high potential for addiction! or maybe even assuming an entirely new virtual identity and with it do everything that one would have never dared do in real life? At first blush these “little escapades” leaving every-day-life and the real partnership behind may appear to be harmless, but they are by no means that.
In 2009 well covered by the media the relationship of a British couple broke up as a consequence of a virtual escapade: Lisa caught her friend John while he was engaged in the virtual community “Second Life” under the nickname “Troy Hammerthal” having Avatar sex with a man.
They are emotionally distanced, disinterested and less prepared to invest in the relationship.
Their every day engagement declines and they spend more and more hours online and have decreasing energy and time for their partner and their obligations at home.
In the real world the escapade leaves no traces – thus the danger of being found out is considerably reduced.
Just as with the consumption of porn it is not even necessary to leave home in order to virtually stray.
For our subject the third aspect is of particular interest: Studies have shown that it is not primarily sexual gratification the makes a cyber affair irresistible for the user.