Cheating is even more complicated thanks to the internet – Periódico Página100 – Noticias de popayán y el Cauca

Cheating is even more complicated thanks to the internet

It’s Cheat Week at Mashable. Join us as we take a look at how liars, scammers, grifters, and everyday people take advantage of life’s little loopholes in order to get ahead.

When you hear the words “online” and “cheating,” images of seedy dating websites like Ashley Madison probably come to mind. 

But as we learned after its 2015 data breach, there actually wasn’t a lot of infidelity being facilitated by this designated cheating site as most of the women were bots. Instead, the real cheating epidemic caused by the internet is much more subtle and amorphous. 

And in all likelihood, you’re probably guilty of doing it without even realizing.

Research shows that the internet has radically changed what people consider “cheating.”Affairs used to be limited to sexual interaction, but today we have a new range of so-called micro-cheating propagated online. Some view anything from liking the wrong Instagram post (37 percent, according to a 2018 survey from dating site NextLove) to maintaining an online dating profile while in an exclusive relationship (63 percent, according to a 2017 Deseret News survey) as infidelity in the digital age.

Other online activity that often leads to feelings of betrayal, jealousy, and secrecy among couples include obsessing over an ex’s social media, flirtatious comments or texts, sexting with someone else, watching porn, or even just intimate, but platonic, online friendships. 

These activities can have damaging effects on a relationship, even if they don’t bleed into offline contact or sexual interactions. People tend to find it harder to recover from this form of cheating than a purely physical one.

“In the past, affairs were defined by the physical. But with the internet, we’ve come to accept  emotional affairs as part of infidelity. It includes everything’s that’s sort of on the fringes of cheating,” said Katherine Hertlein, author of The Internet Family: Technology in Couple and Family Relationships.

No one can definitively say exactly what counts as online cheating, since it varies not only from couple to couple but person to person. The virtual space leaves so much room for interpretation. And in the absence of clear rules and communication, many are finding themselves on the wrong side of modern love affairs.

“Technology basically puts people on this slippery slope,” Hertlein, who’s also an associate professor of psychology at the University of Nevada, said. “You slowly inch across a boundary, but you’re not necessarily aware that a boundary is even being crossed. Until it’s too late.”

How to recognize online cheating, and why it’s an easy mistake to make

The ambiguity of online cheating doesn’t just lead to unintended infractions, either. It causes doubt in the “victim” about whether or not they’re even allowed to feel betrayed. On the other side, it leaves the “perpetrator” feeling unjustly accused for something they didn’t know was wrong.

You're probably a cheater, and you don't even know it.
You’re probably a cheater, and you don’t even know it.

“It’s up to each couple to independently define what constitutes infidelity online. But here’s the catch: Couples don’t talk about it. They don’t even consider computers in how they define cheating,” said Hertlein.

The amorphous and all-encompassing nature of online cheating means you shouldn’t think about it in terms of a specific act. Rather, online cheating is better defined by the outcome, which is whether someone in the relationship feels their trust or commitment has been violated.

“Even if you don’t have clear definitions, people often know a boundary when they meet it. They tend to know when something they’re doing will upset their partner, because they’re hiding it. So that’s a good internal cue,” couples therapist Lindsey Hoskins said. 

Popayán Colombia

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