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During a recent conversation I was told that, as long as a relationship is ‘virtual’ then it’s not ‘real’ and therefore it cannot be cheating on a “real world” relationship; that the “standards” of what is cheating and what isn’t have changed now.


Considering that I fell in love with my beloved online, I find the argument quite faulty myself, but let’s try to be open minded *cough* and say that the two people involved never meet face to face. Are their feelings for each other less real?

And if those feelings are real, is it not emotional cheating?

Because I wasn’t aware that anywhere in the promises couples make to each other is there a caveat in small print, i.e. “as long as there’s no physical contact, harboring intense emotional feelings for someone else behind your back is fine” or some such.

What do you think?


  • This very faulty argument goes hand in hand with the rather weird concept some people have that people online are not “real” people.

    People justify things in rather bizarre ways, especially if they are doing something that is wrong, and the argument you outlined is just one of the many examples.

    Like you, I met my husband online (not a dating site. I actually met him in a text based RPG game online). Before him, I had met another guy online in a B5 related chat room. I never met him f2f, however, I did fall in love with him. The fact that we broke things up before we had a chance to meet, didn’t make that relationship or my feelings less real just because we didn’t get to hold hands or go watch a movie together. We spent HOURS talking to each other. I also spent HOURS talking to my husband.

    As I told a friend of mine once, even though I only knew my husband for a relatively short period of time before we actually moved in together, the amount of quality time (by “quality time” I mean time spent actually talking to each other, getting to know each other as individuals, with no distractions at all) was such, that in real life time, it would have translated, easily, to a 2-year if not longer type of relationship.

    Cheating is cheating, you are interacting with REAL PEOPLE online. There doesn’t have to be actual physical sex or contact for cheating to happen. Anyone thinking so is either deluding themselves, or is trying to justify him or herself for doing something that is wrong.


  • SamG
    June 21
    10:38 pm

    I would consider that cheating. Attachment is attachment. I don’t ever expect my hubby to cheat, but if he did, knowing I was replaced ‘in his heart’ would hurt more than the ‘at the tip of his penis’.

    Both would hurt though, just the emotional detachment would hurt more IMO.



  • sallahdog
    June 22
    2:13 am

    I had a friend try to fly this reasoning by me when she was flirting and sexting over the internet with someone (not her husband)… I told her if it was “no big deal” she should be comfortable showing it to her husband. If she wasn’t, it was cheating and a bad road to go down if she wanted to keep her marriage… I wouldnt be happy if my husband was doing that kind of thing, and so I wouldnt do it either..


  • I met my husband online (via a music mailing list), and so obviously I’d consider it cheating too.


  • Randi
    June 22
    5:33 pm

    Unless the couple have an agreement (aka open relationship), it’s cheating. End of story. There *is* no argument here.


  • that the “standards” of what is cheating and what isn’t have changed now.

    um…can we say ‘cop-out’?

    Sorry, you make a commitment, you make a commitment. If you’re involved in a relationship online, then you’re in a relationship… PERIOD. If you don’t want to be in a COMMITTED relationship, be clear about that.

    Cheating is still cheating-it doesn’t matter what century we live in.


  • I don’t have anything insightful to add beyond what’s been said already, so I’ll just second every comment above mine in that cheating is cheating whether it’s with the heart or the body… whether it be online or in person.


  • I agree. It’s cheating.


  • Patrice
    June 23
    6:33 pm

    I also agree with the comments so far, it’s online cheating. This argument about the “reality” of online relationships reminds me of a catholic school argument about lies of ommision. Is an ommission of a fact a lie? Ethical answer is yes, a lie of ommission is in fact a lie. And the reason is that it comes down to Intent. If a fact is intentionally ommited because the lier knows it will affect the outcome – the intention causes the ommision to be a falsehood. I think it’s the same deal for an online relationship. I have a lot of guy friends, both online and in person. I don’t show my friends naked pics of myself nor do I look at nekid pics of them (shudder). I normally would not share sexual fantasies, although I have discussed what makes a sex scene in a romance hot. But it’s not personal experience or trying to stoke our own desires when we discuss erotic romance. I remember talking with a big burly buddy of mine about the virtues of silk ropes versus…err, well that’s another story! And i still don’t ever want to visualize him using any kind of rope! (gah my eyes!) LOL I’m not cheating with these guy friends because I don’t intend to get sexual or intimate with any of them, nor do I intend to share thoughts or emotions beyond the boundry of friends. If I got personally imtimate with any of them, the INTENT of that relationship changes and then that would be cheating on my marriage.

    And I don’t discuss most of the stuff I learned in erotic romances with anyone but my best friends. But it is sometimes fun to watch aquaintences faces if I pop up with a sexual factoid (usually during a conversation at HH when someone is “oversharing”). They look like Mary Poppins just spoke in the devils voice. LMAO


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