Online Chats, Online Relationships, and Online Affairs... why I am not a fan
Posted Dec 06 2008 9:12am
For most of human history, humans were limited in their relationships to the few people in their immediate tribe, community, or locale.
But all that has changed!
Over the years as travel has become safe and simple, and as communication has expanded we have moved in a new world... a world where we can easily chat with anyone the world over. And not only can we informally visit, we can get to know each other and even have intimate relationships.
While obviously this is an amazing transformation of human life and society, it is not without its dangers.
And, while I love the idea of getting to know people all over the world, I'm also aware of how many marriages are being hurt by online affairs.
With the extraordinary possibilities of social networking people are reconnecting with old flames, high school sweethearts, and former lovers. Along with this people are contacting plenty of new potential lovers.
This is a great thing for single women and men who are looking for new relationships but not so great for married people who are not thrilled with their spouse, bored with their circumstance, or tired of their current situation.
As enticing as it may be, for many marriages going through difficult times, finding an old lover or igniting a new spark may not be in the best interest of the partnership and in some cases may cause the relationship to end.
While many (I think most) marriages can work through the normal challenges of married life if given the time and attention, an online relationship can destroy even the chance of healing.
Why I am not a fan...
First, a healthy vibrant relationship takes a lot of time, care, and energy.... work. I'm convinced that the time and energy some people devote to their online relationships would be enough to make their marriage fabulous if it were expended in this direction.
Secondly, online relationships are ones where the people are presenting their best most fabulous self. OF COURSE this is enticing to those living with a real person imperfections and all. It is easy to notice all the quirks and faults of our partners when we are in another relationship with one who presents as perfect.
Third, while fantasy is nice and we may dream of a perfect spouse, a perfect marriage, a perfect life, reality is not so simple and easy. Online relationships tend to encourage or support the idea that we should not settle for anything other than perfection, ease, and comfort. We get the impression that happiness is found in the other person, that our partner is just not right for us, that life would be better with someone else.
The reality is, people are not perfect. Relationships require attention and care. Marriages can be strong and healthy if given the opportunity and energy. What a struggling marriage does not need is the competition of another fantasy relationship.
Any relationship that destroys the marriage, harms one's partner, requires energy better given to the partnership is not a healthy one and should be avoided.
As I often state... if your marriage is in trouble do everything you can to heal it before you give up on it. If, after you do everything you possible can (and then some) you find there is no hope, then end the marriage and begin anew.
Do not enter another intimate relationship (online or otherwise) until you are divorced.
I'll repeat... do not enter another intimate relationship (online or otherwise) until you have ended the first relationship.
If you are currently having an online intimate affair best let it go, recommit to your marriage, and devote your time and attention to real life, real people, and your real relationships.
If your marriage truly can't be saved, and you become single, then enjoy the experience our new cyber technology affords, until then put your energy and love where it belongs.