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Monday, September 22, 2014

What Harm in a Virtual Affair?

If your marriage is getting dull, they say, try the Virtual Affair!

Spice up your life with forbidden fruit that you won't really eat, but that can make you feel young, invigorated, and desirable again!

Say all those things you really want to say, explore your sexuality and your emotional depth through texts and emails and chat.

And nothing's really happening...so what's the harm?

Uh...what's the harm?


First, engaging in online intimacy is a betrayal of your marriage vows, just as surely as if you were physically intimate with another person.

You've given away something, a piece of yourself, that was not yours to give..

When we marry we pledge ourselves, body and heart, and that carries with it an implicit requirement for exclusivity. Otherwise, what's the point?

When you start "sharing your fantasies" because your spouse seems (or is) disinterested, or "doesn't understand", you've chosen to devalue - or ruin - the gift you gave to your mate.

Maybe your spouse isn't "into" your fantasies. Maybe he or she never got the chance, because you never brought up the subject...but maybe they're genuinely disinterested.

Too bad. You may be dealing with someone who's become emotionally crippled.

Would you cheat, or walk away from a mate who was physically crippled? Emotional wounds can run pretty deep.  Are the marriage vows valid as long as we're healthy in body and mind, and void when problems come up?

Second, an emotional affair invited comparison at the expense of your spouse. No husband or wife can live up to the image you've created of the online paramour.

This ideal person will never be in a bad mood, because he or she can just choose not to be online when bad moods happen.

You'll never have to deal with an unthoughtful comment, because every text message can be carefully edited.

And do you really know that the picture you're falling for wasn't taken fifteen years ago...or taken of a completely different person?

And then, there will be the temptation to try to engineer a meeting. A date.

While you're married. Ugh.

Finally, yeah, you think you can keep it secret, but what will you do if your spouse finds out?

What if you're careless with the computer and leave up a Facebook chat that leaves nothing to the imagination?

Can you deal with the heartbreak, the hurt, the betrayal?

Because you will see them. Guaranteed.


  1. Andrew,

    Great topic to cover. There is so much danger in a virtual affair (emotional affair) ...oh, just don't even get me started. It can be more hurtful and damaging than physical. Great job.

    1. Kim, thank you, and once again...please forgive my delayed reply. I'm hurting.

      You're absolutely right, that the emotional affair can actually cause more harm, because it sets up the "other" as a paragon which one's own spouse can never match.

  2. "You've given away something, a piece of yourself, that was not yours to give." Exactly! There are so many ways we can be disloyal to our vows and our spouses, and virtual affairs is a biggie these days. Thanks for telling the truth straight-up, Andrew. Much needed.

    1. Thanks, Lisa.

      In this day when everything seems conditional, we need our marriages to be dependable. We need to have what's "ours" respected...not out of a jealous proprietary instinct, but out of due consideration for the emotional investment that marriage entails.

  3. Ouch! All very true.

    1. Thanks for stopping by!

      The sad thing is that these relationships can begin with the best of intentions, as long-distance friendships. But so often they begin to fill a perceived lack in the marriage on one or both sides, and what was a friend becomes a confidante, an emotional support...and then something of a masculine or feminine ideal.

      We have a lot of freedom in this society, to form relationships that would have been out of bounds (and technically impossible, sometimes) a century ago...but to safely use freedom requires discipline.