Whereas people having online affairs tend to understate their problematic nature, their offline partners typically do not see difference between online and offline affairs: A lack of direct physical contact and face-to-face meetings does not diminish the sense of a violation of their vow of exclusivity.
The fact that most of these affairs are concealed from offline spouses is indicative of the possible harm.
If you’re an expat, you’ve probably become accustomed to this fast-and-furious style of connecting with total strangers. With no groups that allow you to find people with similar interests, the Badoo brand of lazy instant messaging led to a lot of lackluster opening lines including, “Do you like sex? Unlike Badoo, it requires a bit of a vetting process (your photos and ad must be first approved by admin) so at the very least you have time to brace yourself for the onslaught of gentlemen like “Licker1”, who invited us for a dip in his “hydromassage tub.” Without the instant gratification factor of IM-ing, we found that most responses to our ad were polite invitations in both English and Czech to continue corresponding via personal e-mail—though for every one of those there seemed to be a self-described “schizofrenic” lurking in the wings. Quite different from Seznamka, however, is a homepage that gives users the opportunity to window-shop, clicking through thumbnail photos of intriguing characters like “Old Thyme” from Znojmo.
Thumbnails show user’s age and location as well as indicate “TOP” profiles as voted on by other users, though from the looks of the individuals who received that assignation, the criteria is anyone’s guess.
In such situations, cybersex may even be advisable—but still regarded as cheating.
As a 29-year-old married woman who often engages in cybersex, says: When people feel trapped by their current circumstances, but still do not want to ruin their relationship, cyberspace may offer a parallel world in which things are better.
Then My Space (what was it about My Space that always felt mildly elicit? Since then we’ve all transitioned to Facebook, which is a different beast altogether—though not expressly for dating, it certainly enables mixing and mingling even if it does effectively kill off the element of intrigue.
Consider the following statement from a 41-year-old married man (all citations are from to cheat—something that may even add spice to their offline relationship.
Consider this reaction: Just as casual sex is not necessarily inherently harmful, neither are online affairs.
But they may be so when participants are also involved in another primary offline relationship, because of the harm imposed on those partners.
These people believe that if they do not even know the real name of their cybermate—and never actually see them—their affair cannot be regarded as from a moral point of view; it's no different from reading a novel or other form of entertainment.
In other words, a way to play out fantasies in a safe environment.