At one time, marital infidelity and adultery were fairly easy terms to define. In the recent past most people would have said that terms like infidelity and affairs simply referred to relationships existing “outside of a marriage that involved some kind of physical and/or sexual contact.”
In the past, the cheater would often be absent from friendships, family-life, and intimate relationships to make time for clandestine meetings or secret hook-ups. In order to carry out his or her cheating behavior the cheater would have to be physically absent from his or per partner’s day-to-day life. Others add the concept of emotional cheating or emotional infidelity, meaning that if an outside relationship had a significant emotional charge, it could be considered one of the signs of infidelity, even without a sexual or physical component.
Technology has now rewritten the book. Smartphones, Facebook, online chats – all now give infidelity and adultery a variety of new names and new means of execution. In the Internet age, online infidelity and casual sexual hook-ups via streaming video are just a few of the many venues that partner infidelity now takes, often without any physical contact between those engaging in the behavior.
Webcam and smartphone cheating allow people who are sometimes halfway around the world from each other to engage in “live” sexual encounters, without ever actually touching.
Cyber cheating means endless hours stolen from intimate relationships and family life. The hours spent in front of the computer, perhaps viewing pornography, often also involve compulsive masturbation.
Those who engage in e-mail infidelity and chat room cheating lose themselves and their lives in a world of erotic words and picture exchanges.
Time and emotional energy stolen from family life and given away to intense, external sexual and romantic acting out drain any marriage. The cheater often says, “I wasn’t cheating, I never touched anyone,” but spouses know otherwise. They know that the painful emotional absence and distance of a cheating spouse is the same whether that partner is engaged in cybersex webcam cheating or having a physical affair. The hurt, pain, and confusion of living with emotional distance, promiscuous sexual behavior, and a non-intimate partner is the same, whether or not the partner is having ‘live sex’ or engaging in online hook-ups.