"Cybercheating" and "Hot Chatting" - Commitment and Intimate Relationships on Line


The Main Page - A Review

Governance Structures Found in Several Different Text-Based Online Communities

Ethical and Social Problems that Arise in Online Communities

Identities and Social Interactions in MUDs

Online Gaming Communities and Their Governance Structures

Intimate relationships in the real world are tricky enough in the real world, but they present a whole new set of problems on internet. In a Belfast Telegraph article entitled Cybersex a danger to relationships: Internet chat seen as real act of betrayal journalist explore

“Dr Whitty said that, while the Internet was a place where diverse relationships could be developed, we must not dismiss the notion that engaging in intimate relationships on-line could also have a negative effect on an individual's life off-line.”

"My research suggests that these are real acts of betrayal even though it's not sexual intercourse," she said. "You are desiring someone else even if you don't see them. The other partner might perceive it as a real threat," she added.

However it is not only "cybersex" or "hot chatting" that are perceived as infidelity. According to Dr Whitty, the disclosing of personal secrets to someone on-line can also be seen as a betrayal.

She said people knew the rules in relation to acceptable face-to-face interactions with people on a day-to-day basis while in a romantic relationship. However, given the nature and the newness of the Internet the rules as to what are acceptable on-line encounters are yet to be established.

Belfast Telegraph
February 19, 2005

Another example from the newspapers suggest that at least some internet trysts do result in real world divorces.

“My loving husband had been having Internet affairs with 74 different women. No wonder he'd left... Carl married Amanda, 33 - who I'm sure he met on the Internet - and they've got a one-year-old son called Ryan. They live in Spalding, about three hours away, but he hasn't seen Amy since February 2003.”
Carl: “Yes, I did have lots of female Internet friends, but I can't remember how many. It was my way of coping.”

The People
October 10, 2004, Sunday