Until the Internet came along, discussions of affairs of the heart were few and far between. Since then, they have become one of the most controversial topics of conversation by the young and old alike, married or single, rich or poor.
Seemingly intelligent and successful people get on the Internet and they leave their real life relationships and their common sense at the door. They are so involved in their virtual affairs, that they take no heed of the damage they are doing to their real relationships.
The debate has always been that it takes nothing away from the relationships they have and it’s an inexpensive and enjoyable pastime. If this were just a message board where hundreds of people were posting their points of view, it might hold water. But these virtual relationships, once they take off, become a very powerful force and not easy to walk away from.
Spouses are more threatened by an affair of the heart than an actual affair. An affair has its parameters; squeezing in visits whenever possible whereas an affair of the heart, conducted via the Internet, requires no face-to-face meeting and can be arranged at the last minute, at any time of the day or night, or just consist of emails and IMs. Phone calls and text messages are more easily traced, but once people have gotten to that stage, they are almost ready to go to the next level, an actual affair.
Consider the woman who puts on her sexiest nightgown in hopes of enticing her husband to make love with her and, every time she tries to get him to come to bed, he tells her he’ll be there in just a minute. Hours later, he is still on the Internet talking to his virtual lover.
Then, there is the man who waits for his wife to come to bed and she is so engrossed in emailing and IMing her virtual lover, that she hardly pays any attention to her husband when he tries to get her to shut off her computer for the night.
Many relationships have ended because the partner feels neglected and can’t fight the unseen competition. For those who think an affair of the heart takes nothing away from a person’s real relationship, they have never had to compete with a computer for their spouse’s attention.
Computers, in and of themselves, can be very addictive, especially if someone has an addictive personality. Factor in an affair of the heart and that person is so hooked that he can’t live a normal life. Everything revolves around getting online, staying online, being part of an online community, and building online relationships.
Even if a person does not have an addictive personality, an online affair of the heart can become an addiction that is no easier to break than alcohol or drugs.
Take away someone’s computer, take away his community of online friends, take away his virtual lover, and you will see him go through the same physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms as if he were in rehab. If he begins to see this as an addiction and wants to break it, he may have to go cold turkey because there are too many outside influences that could drag him back in.