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Online Infidelity - How to Save Your Marriage from Internet Affairs
Marriages break up due to various reasons in the real world, but more and more marriages seem to be breaking up of late due to spouses getting involved in online relationships. These seem harmless on the face of it, and one rightly wonders, how it can get so serious as to threaten a marriage? Can you really fall in love with someone online (often someone you’ve never met or know much about in real) to such an extent that you are ready to leave your spouse in the real world? Well, fact is, more and more marriages have fallen apart and continue to fall apart due to, what one can only describe as, online infidelity. It is real and something every married couple should be aware of, for you never know, you may be faced with a similar situation in your own marriage. While none of us would want to face a scenario such as this, it would only be prudent that we be aware and prepared.
To counter any problem that you may face, you would need to understand why that problem arises in the first place. In this specific case, if your spouse is getting involved with someone online, you would need to understand why this is so? There may, of course, be two broad reasons why a married person may go looking online for someone. Either, he/she is doing so for the sheer fun of it; in other words, for no specific reason at all, or he/she may be doing so because something is missing in their marriage and this seeking out is in response to that missing element in the marriage.
The circumstances around a particular marriage would only be known to the person concerned and would be unique to each person, so if anything is missing at all in a marriage, you alone would be able to pinpoint what that missing element or elements are? It could also be the case that the marriage had nothing missing, but that the married person involved has chosen to flirt online just for the fun of it. In fact, this is often the case – that people get involved in online relationships by what they think is ‘harmless’ flirting. However, in the online world, things can progress quite fast and may go way beyond being just ‘harmless.’ So, what can you do if you find that your spouse has been cheating online, behind your back, and spending more time with his/her online lover than you and the family?
What You Can Do To Reclaim Your Spouse From His/Her Online Lover
Whether your spouse is cheating on you online due to a real (or perceived) element lacking in the marriage, or just for the fun of it, he/she is doing so because they have enough free time on their hands. Therefore, your goal should be to take up as much of your spouse’s time on activities relating to you and the family, as opposed to allowing him/her unrestricted, uninterrupted, private time with their PC.
It is quite possible that the argument of them having to work on the PC on office projects may be brought up and this can be quite the excuse, if it were just an excuse, but you can easily verify it by checking on him/her every now and then (when they are at home of course). I am of course assuming here that most of their online interactions are happening from home, which is what happens in most of these cases.
If the PC your spouse uses is a desktop, try to have it positioned in such a way in your house that it does not offer much privacy and can be viewed by you while you are running around the house. If it is a laptop that your spouse uses, then of course, things can be a bit trickier. However, try to have a peek in on his/her PC every now and then, without seeming to be intrusive or annoying. You can do this by professing an interest in his/her work and to have him/her show you details about it, or any other excuse you can find. The intention is to not allow your spouse to have extended, uninterrupted ‘alone time’ with his/her PC at home. This is important because such online relationships thrive and grow on prolonged periods of deep interaction, both in terms of the frequency and the amount of time spent per session, that any interruption in either the frequency or quality of time spent can potentially diminish the chances of a deep emotional relationship forming or sustaining.
Insist on your spouse joining you when you go to sleep at night. Do not allow him/her to spend ‘alone time’ on the PC while you are sleeping. They may tell you they have important work to get done, but make it a rule to have all such work done before sleep time. With you asleep, there is nothing to prevent him/her from pursuing his/her online lover and chat for hours potentially with them.
In general, try to occupy your spouse’s time on family activities. If they give you excuses, probe deeper to ensure there is truth to those excuses. If the excuses seem fickle, win them over to your point of view by being persistent, but not by coming across as being nagging or pushy. Essentially, don’t let things drift in your relationship. Take an active interest in sustaining and nurturing your relationship by seeking to actively spend more time with each other.
What if Your Spouse is Already Deeply Involved with an Online Lover?
If you find yourself facing this situation, then things might be difficult, but not impossible. There are still some things you can do to reclaim your spouse. If you happen to find out about his/her online infidelity, but he/she still doesn’t know, then try some of the steps described above – particularly, the one about trying to take up his/her time for family activities and putting them in a situation where they cannot say, "No." Once again, the purpose of this is to break the continuity of the online chatting or talking that has perhaps become routine between your spouse and his/her lover. As stated before, this can often lead to a lack of interest or diminish the intensity of the feelings they feel for each other. This may not always work, but what are your choices really at this stage? So, try it out!!
A second thing you can do is to remind your spouse of what he/she has in the real world, whether it be you or the kids you have – anything that grounds your spouse and perhaps makes him/her realize what they have invested in and stand to lose. The best way you can remind them of these is not directly by talking to them, but subtly. Keep family photo albums lying around where it can be picked up and seen readily, watch your wedding video together. Think of activities that you as a family can take part in and bond better, and make them happen. Do things such as these and anything else you can think of that basically gets your spouse to view things in a different perspective.
Of course, you shouldn't rule out confronting your partner. You should seriously consider doing so if that is what is warranted in your specific situation. When you want to do so and how you want to go about it, however, should be your own personal decision based on which course of action would work the best for you and achieve the best results for you. While you would need to confront your partner if you catch them cheating online, you should look towards bringing up the subject of online flirting/relationships early on in your marriage or relationship, so your partner knows your views on it and does not just assume that online flirting/relationships are okay. Often, people who do indulge in online flirtations/relationships do so convincing themselves that it is not 'real' cheating since there is no physicality involved (at least initially). However, by drawing up clear boundaries during your talk (early on in the relationship), you would be leaving no scope for any confusion on the subject. If your partner then goes on to cheat online, they'd have no excuses to explain their actions.
We live in a time of instant gratification. A click of the mouse opens up a whole new world - a world full of opportunities, but also one that is littered with pitfalls. If you are married, you'd need to be acutely aware of any behavior changes in your partner, whether it be spending more time on the PC, logging in to the PC at odd times, or spending less and less time with you and the family. There are always warning signs like these, but we can only identify them if we are paying attention and are not just drifting along in our marriage. So, wake up and observe what your partner is up to. Spot the warning signs before it is too late!!