It is 11.30pm. He stumbles downstairs to see where his wife is. She is on the couch , immersed in her mobile device. Smiling , giggling.  As she sees him , she quickly , puts her mobile face down . GOTCHA!
What follows is not pretty. He feels his gut constrict and he is not sure if he wants to poop, pee or run away. His brain is on fire, alight with fear , fear that he has lost his mate, deep into the trenches of the internet.   He demands to know  with whom she is chatting. She becomes angry and defensive. Her brain too is now in fire. A part of her knows her husband might not be happy with her near midnight chats. She goes into fight mode.
She defends her right to privacy, and attempts to deflect by blaming him for wanting to invade her private space.
Like a lion defending his property, he will not be deterred. Eventually she surrenders and he sees she has been chatting to her work colleague. BAM ! She says: “Its not that we are flirting or having sex or anything. Why are you so angry?” .
Do you remember the old days when an affair was so maligned ,  in the domain/privilege  of males only , and a reason for an immediate divorce. If a woman was caught cheating , her kids were removed , she was stoned to death and her reputation was forever damaged. Affairs happened at work with  secretaries, or with  wives best friends. In other words, with known people , In Real Life people. The wife may never discover it and if she did, seriously, what options did she have ??
This old fashioned affair  feels like child’s play today.. Cyber Infidelity has taken cheating to another whole level. So many people are doing it, knowingly or unknowingly., that I call it a whole new way of connecting and relating. A new relationship structure.
Why do people engage in this new relationship structure ?  Here are the advantages:
* No need to leave your house, toilet or place of business.
* It costs nothing. – no expensive hotel rooms,  roses,  loss of work time as you sneak out
* You don’t have to see what the person looks like and vice versa.
* There is  no need to know if they are conservative or liberal, whether they have kids, dogs — or even a wife or husband.
* No need for condoms, PREP, or fear of catching a STI/HIV/AIDS
* Working late and out of town workshops are no longer needed as excuses to the spouse
* The dopamine rush is incomparable- well, cocaine comes pretty close to it
* You can justify it to yourself : you’re on your couch /toilet at home, not out and about , and really not having sex with anyone so this is not cheating.
I say “Fess Up”. You love Cyber Infidelity (CI) . And you love your partner and your marriage. Seldom is  CI a way of escaping your marriage, unlike an In Real Life affair. Granted the seduction  of it  in the moments , makes you believe that you want to leave your partner, children, country. But people don’t get online to cheat . Ask anyone who practices CI as part of their lifestyle.  . They will gaze at you innocently and say :”Ive never felt happier in my life. I am having more sex with my partner than ever before. My mood has improved. My kids love me more.  No one is getting hurt. This is not cheating.”
Signing up  to an online dating site is just fun ,and done out of curiosity . Because it’s there and you can . Watching porn is a handy (excuse the pun ) escape from a weary day at the office or a boring sex life. It certainly  cannot be seen as cheating. Chatting to a like minded twitter follower is stimulating . The fact that it becomes kind of sexy does not mean Im cheating. Having Instagram crushes is so on trend as is Liking some random – or ex lovers- post on FaceBook.
Well , welcome to 2020 . A time in our lives when CI  is the new normal. It is a significant and common Relationship Structure, a choice many many people are choosing as an addition to or alternative to a mono-hetero-normative structure.
The kicker is that once this non -consensual non- monogamous structure is discovered, it hurts like hell. Because unlike other relationship structures, it is made unilaterally, it is secretive and once caught, ends up harming self integrity and your  committed relationship  in  a way that you will never fully recover from the fall out.
Without apportioning blame to you, I get how you choose CI, and  can kid yourself that it is a cool way of relating to people, .. before you  fall down that rabbit hole.
To understand why I state CI as a relationship structure , we need to  take this a little deeper and examine the current discourse in our culture around what we expect from relationships and ourselves .
Social media has created a culture to which we all aspire. Like porn , it is a fantastical construct . Just as real women do not have porn orgasms, so real life domesticity and drudgery, is not reflected in FB stories.
The thrill of imagining you can live your best life with someone other than your partner is very enticing and feeds into what social media promises.   This belief  is reinforced in the daily/hourly online chats, sexting with someone else.  There is no conflict, only  superficial sexy , hot sexy, chatting , or deep personal sharing that makes you feel comforted , understood and seen.  It is a marvellous escape from trauma, traditional marriage , a private place where you can  be playful.
CI allows  expression of the different  sexual parts of ourselves : from the Mistress to the Submissive, to  the straight guy  who is actually turned on by trannies to the woman who longs for a woman lover.
I recommend :
* consider if mono-hetreo-normative relationship commitments are really your thing
* honestly choose the type of relationship construct you want
*do this before committing to a traditional partner
* choose consensual non monogamy over non consensual non monogamy
* consider open relationships such as polyamory
* discuss boundaries and agreements around what would constitute CI with your partner/s
For more information about CI, contact me .