Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Emotional Affairs: Cyber-cheating?
Okay so it seems like I am thinking about a new career – psychologist. I love to watch people and try to understand their motivations. I guess lawyers do that because to understand the enemy means you have a chance to win. I think a lot of writers do the same thing. We have to understand our characters in order to give them depth and have our readers empathize with them. There is so much literature out there about psychological problems that it is mind-boggling (no pun intended).
One thing has caught my eye, in the wake of Tiger Woods (yes, he did text), Leann Rimes and Sandra Bullock – the emotional affair. Unlike the regular, run-of-the-mill physical affairs, it seems these types of emotional affairs are doing a heck of a lot more damage to the state of marriage. Emotional affairs are defined as an affair without sex. Okay, so you asked, isn’t that what an affair is? SEX? Well, no, it seems these affairs involve emotional investment which, according to the experts, is much more devastating for the betrayed spouse. The biggest problem seems to be that the betrayer does not realize he/she is involved with another female/male outside the marriage in an inappropriate manner until it is too late. They have become entangled in a mesh of deceit and subterfuge while thinking it was just innocent talking, texting, Facebooking or emailing.
I felt like writing about this because I think we should all sit up and take notice of what is going on around us. The main conduit of these affairs seems to be electronics - E-mail, texting, Facebook, cell phones and trac phones. It is too easy in this day of electronics to send off a text or an e-mail and thus it starts. Most of the experts say that the people involved in these affairs are looking for someone to talk to about their problems, maybe at work or maybe at home, through the internet or cell phones. They feel like they can’t talk to their spouses. Home life has become a place where everyone is hurrying to take the kids to some practice, meals are on the run, increased work-loads make every thing harder and no one talks. BUT there is this person who does listen, who does talk (albeit on the internet or the cell phone) and does seem to care about the disenfranchised spouse – the other woman/man. The Affair has begun in earnest. It’s been described as like passing notes in high school – puppy love. The affair partners move around in a fog with no responsibilities except perpetuating this affair. No real life problems to weigh them down. At some point, one will either get caught or find his/her way out of the fog, realizing that their real life is with their spouse and their family. But the damage is done – trust is destroyed, betrayal has occurred and vows have been broken. The strange thing about this is the betrayer says love wasn’t involved (they actually didn't really care about the other person). The affair was all about the excitement and flattery.
Can we prevent this from happening to us? Well yes, there is something that we can all do – TALK to your spouses. Set aside a time during the day when you really talk. Also, the experts on this new affair say that total transparency is necessary. That means that you should have a right to look at your spouses e-mails, phone, text and cell phone usages (on the bill). I know this sounds like violating trust but it really isn't according to the experts because you have a right to know who your spouse is talking to or texting. Most betrayed spouses say that they wouldn’t have violated their spouses’ privacy before the affair but wished they had because they could have prevented the affair by explaining such contact was inappropriate. On the other hand, the betraying spouses say that if they had known this was cheating, they would have immediately stopped before it got too involved (if you look at your spouse's electronic data you can easily head off an affair). It’s good to be vigilant in this day and age because there are a lot of crazies out there waiting to destroy your marriage. It doesn’t violate trust because all you’re asking for is honesty.
So, I’d like to know some things. Would you check your spouse’s cell phone, including the calls and the texts? What about his/her emails? Do you have a set time to sit down and talk to your spouse? I mean REALLY talk. Do you think this new trend of carrying on with another person via the internet/cell phone/ texts is cheating? Let us hear from you!