Note: This is the second of a two-part series. Click here for part one
How do you remedy cyber-cheating in a committed relationship? Is there a way to change the need for internet sex and/or online porn if you are married or involved in a stable relationship?
This is a more difficult question than it may seem, because a committed relationship can grow romantically and erotically stale over time, and an online dalliance may provide the stimulation, novelty and the excitement that your primary relationship is lacking. And many so-called “cheaters” are likely to say that they are not cheating at all, because they’ve never met or touched the person they were involved with online. But their spouses are likely to feel like they are absolutely cheating.
So what can you do about this? First, if you are the person doing online “cheating,” look carefully at what you are getting from other people online that you’re not getting in your day to day relationship. What’s missing in your relationship that you’re receiving from others? Communicate this to your mate and request changes that would assist you in feeling more connected and closer. Do the two of you need to spice up your love life? Have more fun together? Talk more intimately with each other? Such changes are readily doable—and they will hopefully lesson the need for your online roaming.
Second, don’t be secretive and hidden. If your partner cannot be in the room with you when you are communicating with someone else, or if s/he can’t see your emails or texts—you are hiding secrets. The same with creating passwords that your partner doesn’t know. The same with having social media accounts that your partner does not have access to, or of having a private email or social media account that s/he doesn’t know about.
And it’s the same if you log off when your partner comes into the room, or if you are hiding credit card or bank registers so s/he can’t know what you’re spending money on. If you are caught, you will be dealing with immediate and powerful trust issues, and trust issues are hard to get rid of. And you will greatly assist your partner in feeling insecure around you, and s/he will therefore be inclined to check up on you and who you’re communicating with 24/7.
If your intimate partner is the one doing the online cheating, your first step is to look at what you need from him or her that will help you to feel safe again. You need specific steps that s/he will take in order for you to no longer feel threatened and insecure in your relationship. Ask your partner what s/he would like you to do differently at home so the urge for outside stimulation decreases. Does s/he want you to talk dirty? Be more seductive? Take the romantic/sexual lead? Wear more racy clothes? Offer you different visual/verbal stimulation?
Thank you for the articles about cyber-cheating, on-line sex and porn. My 25+ year marriage ended over 3 years ago due to my ex-husband’s on-line porn, cyber-cheating and a hook up sex relationship with someone he met through Craig’s List. We sought marriage counseling after I found a porn fantasy story (he wrote it) on the printer connected to the family computer. He convinced me and the marriage counselor he started going to sex chat rooms and writing this fantasy when he was having trouble finding a job in the town we moved to for my job several years earlier. He was under employed at the time and I was traveling for my job and was out of town for 3-7 nights a month. My ex had seen several counselors prior to our move and 2 of them told me he needed to be on anti-depressants and one thought he had addictive tendencies. I never gave him a hard time about his job search or critized him about it. I thought our relationship had improved and he eventually found a good job. A couple of years later, he started getting very angry at me for minor issues and was texting someone he claimed was a co-worker. After that, I didn’t trust him at all. He objected to being transparent about his computer use because it was like Big Brother watching him. He also spent more time watching TV and didn’t interact much with our teenage son and especially our teenage daughter. One night he forgot to log out of an e-mail account and I discovered it the next morning. It was an e-mail account I didn’t know he had. I discovered he had an affair with someone he met on Craig’s List, had profiles on several adultery dating websites (married man looking for casual sex), had created his own porn blog and was posting his fantasies there. I also found selfies on the computer including close ups of a woman’s genitals and breasts and one of them having sex. The sex photo was dated a few days after I had foot surgery because he wasn’t getting his needs met. Her story was that her husband was diasbled. Quite a pair, huh? She eventually dumped my ex. He kept contacting her and she eventually threatened to contact the authorities if he didn’t stop. He contacted her several times after this. His posts on his blog said that he had to take break while he was in marriage counseling. I confronted him about the affair and porn and he said he would move out since the marriage was over. Before I confronted him, I made copies of everything in his e-mail account and on line postings. The marriage counselor advised us to tell our teenage children that the divorce was due to his porn and affair but give no details. She said because of their ages, telling them we weren’t getting along wasn’t going to work.
Over 3 years later, my daughter is still estranged from her father because she said he ignored her so he must not love her. My son thought I was being too harsh on his dad but after he started staying at his dad’s place a few days a week, he figured out his dad was lying about his internet activity and was drinking heavily when stressed and was in a crabby mood most of the time. My son no longer respects his dad and barely tolerates him. I got full custody of my daughter. My ex has never apologized to our kids for his behavior. He basically abandoned a long term marriage and severely damaged his relationships with his children. I am relieved to be out of the marriage. I went to a couple of divorce support groups and recovery classes. I have a good life as far as my job is concerned, have made new friends, volunteer, etc. Although I am over the worst of the rage (like Gen. Patraeus’ wife, I was beyond furious), I still find myself thinking of things I would like to tell my ex, what he did was reprehensible, to his face. While we were married, I followed the couselor’s advice and used the “I feel …., when you ….. type statements. I have the angry thoughts numerous times a day and it gets worse when I ‘m tired or stressed. I have journaled, written letters (not sent), etc. but I feel like I have plateaued as far as leaving this behind. Is there something else I should do or do I just need more time? I am not dating or seeking a romantic relationship yet, partly because I felt parenting my daughter was more important and I wanted some time to work through my anger. Thanks, Vicki