twitter facebook stumble upon rss

Flings, Affairs, and Online Infidelity

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

Tell the truth: How do you define cheating?

man taking off wedding ring

Charles Orlando: Recently, I've been asked a lot of questions (via e-mail) regarding infidelity ... from both men and women. Allow me to make it clear: Men and women both cheat. Their motivations are very different (and you can read that article here), but cheating is still cheating ... period.

First off, allow me to state that monogamy isn't for everyone. In fact, many argue that it's not a "natural state" for men. In many ways, I think those people are right. DNA-wise, both genders are driven by primal instincts to continue our species, not concentrate on the sanctity of marriage. However, humans now claim to be civilized ... and if a person decides to delve into the world of commitment, marriage, and fidelity, they should hold to the ideals that accompany that choice. However, that doesn't seem to hold true in today's world of disposable marriages.

Alvin Toffler wrote the best seller Future Shock in 1970, and with matter-of-fact conviction, he wrote of the rising trend of "trial" or "temporary marriages" -- first marriages of young people, lasting three months to three years, and of "serial marriages" that would take place after the dissolution of the "trial marriage," happening at specific turning points in people's lives. Toffler's views hold true today. Having accurately predicted the coming trends, he could see how men and women would begin to view marriage as a temporary state of being. As California and other states try to figure out if gay marriage is "legal," the divorce rate for heterosexual couples still hovers at just over 50 percent. What most don't consider is how the rising divorce rate provides the quintessential example for children of just how temporary marriage -- and all relationships -- can be.

Recent data shows that the most common reason for divorce is irreconcilable differences -- the notion that the couple just doesn't get along anymore ... for whatever reasons. But many I've spoken with -- men and women -- are quick to cite being cheated on as the primary reason for past relationships having ended. Cheating -- regardless of the motivation for it -- isn't merely the act of sex or physical release ... it's an act of betrayal. And that level of betrayal is very confusing to me.

Full disclosure: Have I EVER cheated? Ummm ... yeah. I ... uh ... really burned some people ... badly. (Just read my book ... you'll spot my lack of discretion and self-control in the first few pages of the introduction.) But have I cheated since marriage? I'd be a liar if I said that I've never been tempted to cheat. I am human -- and a man -- so I most certainly have been tempted (and the woman I'm thinking of ... she was HOT ... damn! But I would have never gotten away with it anyway). The difference is that I possess enough self-esteem to not humiliate myself, and I value and respect my wife and our marriage, so I would never betray her, as she is my friend. And that is my point: Men and women who cheat are betraying their spouse ... but they would never betray their friends in that way -- which is the source of my confusion. If you're going to cheat, give the common courtesy to the other party that you would demand yourself ... and leave the relationship. Some may say, "It's not that simple." Well ... if it's not, then perhaps the choice of infidelity might be something to ponder on for a while.

All this said, there are two main types of infidelity: Flings and affairs. Flings are the most common, most often involving opportunity, lust, and lack of self-control. You know:

"Babe, I screwed up. I got smashed in Vegas with the [guys/girls] and ended up sleeping with this stripper I met at the club. It didn't mean anything, and I promise it won't happen again. Please forgive me."

Sometimes, opportunity can make good people do bad things -- however, the person choosing to forgive a fling better think long and hard about it, as flings can highlight how little self-control an individual possesses at a given point in their lives (spoken from long-ago past experience). I'm not an advocate of "Once a cheater, always a cheater" ... but the tendency is there.

Affairs are different. Affairs are long-term relationships -- sometimes involving sex, sometimes not -- and they are trickier for someone to get over. Affairs take their toll on both sides of the relationship, betrayer and betrayee -- but it's important to note the goal of the person starting an affair: to get caught. Perhaps they don't have the wherewithal to end one relationship before starting another, or maybe they can't bring themselves to admit to their significant other that they have fallen out of love with them. Whatever the reason, affairs are a real investment in a relationship behind someone else's back -- and that is what makes them so much more damaging.

Which brings us to a different kind of cheating for the web-based era: Online cheating. There are an endless number of sites that advocate and enable real-world affairs (whose highest spending advertisers are divorce attorneys). But meeting someone online and then quickly transferring the relationship to the real world is really just a fling. Online cheating is different. With the rise of social media and community-based websites, connecting with others in remote locations isn't just the activity of a small subculture, it's ingrained into our everyday lives. Numbers vary, but Facebook boasts some 700 million-plus users worldwide (and since their acceptance into the mainstream, high school reunions have fallen by over 60 percent). Online cheating -- without any physical contact -- is the most damaging type of infidelity. The reason? The entire "connection" between the two parties is emotional.

What's your opinion or experience?

next: Stigma Part of Breast Cancer's Grip on Poor
51 comments so far | Post a comment now
chris November 3, 2009, 5:20 AM

I think cheating is any form of connection with another person on a personal level that is damaging to your relationship rather it’s emotional or physical. As the saying goes “if you wouldn’t do it in front of your spouse then don’t do it”

SADDY GIRL November 3, 2009, 9:20 PM


Anonymous November 4, 2009, 9:37 AM

I was with someone, after I got pregnant I started to find out about his online activities. I can’t explain how upset it made me to realize he was spending hours talking to this person online, and eventually over the phone while I was in our home in bed. It is very damaging to a relationship. He of course argued that it wasn’t cheating because he was never physically with her, but online and on the phone was just as upsetting to me. Needless to say we broke up, eventually got back together. We are married now, but trust me it is still very hard to get that trust all the way back. It is always in the back of your mind.

Lee November 4, 2009, 11:53 AM

I agree with Chris. Physically and emotional cheating is a very painful to have to live throuhg. I hate liars and cheaters

Drose November 7, 2009, 3:12 PM

my S.O. of 20+ years decided to reconnect with H.S. sweetheart because he thought he had unfinished business. He told her intimate details about our lives and declared her as the love of his life. If this were not bad enough, she is related by marriage, his brother is married to her sister. The affair is now over and he now feels sheepish and foolish and of course I know about it, I wonder who else in the family knows. All whom I see regularly on Facebook. Eventually I may forgive, but never forget.

Clau November 10, 2009, 3:27 PM

I have been through this online infidelity and let me tell you it is worst then actually seeing your partner actually in the physical act. I ask myself why does ot hurt so much if he never even knew this person physically???? Well I came to the conclusion that you can have a sexual affair with a person without it meaning much more then just sex. But when you cheat in an emotional level hurts more because that really says you don’t have that persons heart.

Sam November 27, 2009, 12:43 AM

I had an experience where my wife reconnected through myspace with some guy from her past. I had already been suspicious of some behaviors of hers so I had been logging into her profile and following their conversations, which at that point were innocent and really just about two people “catching up.”

Then I came across the message where they exchanged cell phone numbers. This led me to check her cell phone, and in the traditional way of things, all of her messages were deleted. Except one, where they exchanged email addresses.

Then I proceeded to check her email (she used the same password for everything and had shared it with me on several occasions) and found the video he had sent her of him pleasuring himself. This led me to check the cell phone usage records online to see that for several nights, the two of them had been exchanging picture/video messages. This is when I finally confronted her.

I’ve never had anything wreck my entire being as badly as this. It was the single most destructive thing to ever happen to me and now, a year later, even though she’s since then gotten herself into several self help programs, quit drinking, started attending couples therapy with me and generally turned her life completely around in the right direction in every way, it still haunts me. It still causes me to crumble just thinking about it. The images and words exchanged between them will forever haunt my mind. Even though we’re a much stronger couple now and we’re making so much positive progress in our lives and in our relationship, I will always have this with me. It isn’t any less painful…

Brandy December 15, 2009, 5:50 PM

Well written Article Charles, but I say this after already having read your book of course, so I know more of your history.

Consider Beside,insist player persuade associate at army introduction sir judge purpose session secondary demand lay firm operate train cost lady ahead standard baby entry including survive hate advice might history cultural variation end artist high rise attract many system alternative necessarily identify moment build public bit employee recognition thus anyway except require generation meet article metal land notion help block democratic wood dog author knowledge interview treaty clearly index measure dress but aid role his man assembly chief count know finish institute block mouth ensure among clear elsewhere system

AliceKramer35 May 30, 2010, 5:39 AM

I had got a desire to begin my own commerce, however I didn’t have got enough amount of cash to do it. Thank goodness my fellow told to utilize the business loans. Therefore I received the secured loan and made real my desire.

Karlene November 19, 2010, 4:51 AM

I love what you guys are consistently up too. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the terrific works guys I’ve added you guys to my blogroll. My kind regards, Karlene.

DJ Columbus December 10, 2010, 12:16 PM

Another interesting post! This is one of the few blogs I can return to on a regular basis.

data entry jobs online December 10, 2010, 12:17 PM

Very efficiently written information. It will be helpful to anyone who utilizes it, as well as yours truly :). Keep doing what you are doing - for sure i will check out more posts.

send a free text message December 10, 2010, 3:09 PM

Very good written story. It will be helpful to anyone who employess it, as well as me. Keep doing what you are doing - i will definitely read more posts.

sell online December 10, 2010, 9:09 PM

Very efficiently written article. It will be supportive to anybody who usess it, including yours truly :). Keep up the good work - looking forward to more posts.

ATT Forum December 11, 2010, 10:14 AM

Awsome post and right to the point. I don’t know if this is in fact the best place to ask but do you guys have any ideea where to hire some professional writers? Thx :)

list of penny stocks December 11, 2010, 1:06 PM

As a Newbie, I am continuously exploring online for articles that can aid me. Thank you

Home Builders Cleveland December 12, 2010, 2:09 AM

It’s not often that I search for something and actually find useful information… glad I found you… keep writing!

Pamila December 14, 2010, 10:55 PM

That is some inspirational stuff. Never knew that opinions could be this varied. Cheers for all the enthusiasm to offer such handy information here. With regards, Pamila.

Hartford Remodeling Contractor December 21, 2010, 12:58 AM

Great Info! Every once in a while I find something interesting…

Back to top >>