Although the article here stresses cybersex, or what it calls virtual adultery, a significant number of divorces are occurring simply because of excessive internet usage.
In 2002, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers said 62 per cent of members surveyed said the internet had been a significant factor in cases the year before. Of those, 68 per cent had dealt with people who had met a new love online.Always assuming the final sentence means 'of those cases' then that equates to 42% of the total number of divorce applications in the US being related to online affairs, yet still a hefty 20% (19.84) being to do simply with internet addiction.
If, however, as I am inclined to suspect, the wording has been carefully chosen to give that impression, but really means '68 percent of those Lawyers surveyed' , then the number of addiction related divorces way outstrips the number to do with virtual infidelity.
I completely agree that having an online 'fantasy' relationship is as bad as having a real one. I don't want my partner sexually enthralled by someone else, let alone swapping sweet nothings or even down and dirty suggestions, with that person. The trouble is, apparently, if you get hooked then it all too easily steps off the page, with exchange of genuine personal information, photos and even sometimes a meeting in the real world. If the thrill is there, anything can happen. Like the man says.
Signs that your partner may be having a virtual affair: (according to the Centre for Online and Internet Addiction)
- sitting at the computer into the early hours,
- moving it into an office and locking the door,
- becoming obsessive about passwords,
- ignoring chores and
- spending less time engaged with the household.
If you DO think your partner might be turning his/her back on you to present themsleves as an online lothario/lolita then there are several places to go, and Cyberwidows.com, infidelitycheck.org and virtual-addiction.com are mentioned in Jordan Baker's article for Theage.com.
I can't help it, looking at that list of unreasonable/suspicious behaviours, above, I just can't help wondering when someone is going to set up a self-help site called bloggers-anonymous. Still, it would be kind of self-defeating to have the resource online, don't you think?