So many blogs asking the question, “But is it really cheating if it happens in cyberspace?” Maybe my scanning is biased but almost always women asking the question, almost always some guy hanging around suggesting it’s OK (and hoping for a piece of the action?) Some seeking assurance, some guilty, some just wanting to prove (even to strangers, even to nobody) that they are still worth something…to someone…somewhere. Well, I’m no angel and have sat on both sides of this fence at different times. So, is it cheating if it only happens in cyberspace? Here’s my two cents worth:
Pro: If I am being true to myself and following a natural impulse, then surely that is the most important thing.
Hmmm, quite neat but by logical extension that just about justifies any behaviour, doesn’t it? A little virtual rape, anyone? And anyway, you might ask yourself if you can really be true to yourself if you can’t be even true to the people you love.
Pro: If no one knows then no one gets hurt.
Ah, but, you know, most of us get caught – by accident or on purpose. Sometimes it just takes longer. And then just watch the hurt bloom…No virtual reality here, just tears and yelling, I’m afraid – in full 3-D, surround sound.
Pro: I owe it to myself to live a full life.
So learn to parachute. Get a motorbike and ride across the nation. When did you learn that you could only find validation and meaning through other people? And you know what? Having a real person you love and who loves you is already a pretty good start to a full life. Why are you risking that for a virtual screw with a phantom?
Pro: I still love my partner so nothing has changed.
Your partner is going to wonder, like everyone else, just how much that kind of love is worth. It is almost the final insult to the one supposedly loved. “Wow, I inspire that much love that it can be shared with strangers in the ether? Couldn’t you just hate me?”
Pro: I’m only hurting myself.
Oh no, you’re not…you haven’t begun to measure the hurt that this is going to cause. Not just to your partner but to his/her family, your family, his/her friends, your friends. No one is going to get over this just because you identified a fine differentiation between life and cyberspace.
Pro: I’m not in love anymore.
So, tell your partner. It’s time to be grown up now. And then, of course, you can cyber flirt to your heart’s content. You won’t of course, because suddenly, when you have two alternatives, virtual sex will always come second to that guy/girl you fancy at the office.
Pro: Cyber cheating has enhanced the love life of my partner and me.
Oh, come on now…You’re suggesting that you’re doing it for your partner! This rationale is quite handy though – next you can mug someone for his or her watch and give it to your partner as a gift. Then it will be fine, right?
Pro: If it’s only virtual sex, then it’s not real.
Well, you know, as you get older, you realise all sex, is actually about something else. Otherwise humankind would be an extinct species that happily masturbated itself into oblivion. It’s not about the sex, you know, it’s about the betrayal of trust. And you can’t buy that back. Not out here in the real world.