November 20, 2023

How Online Infidelity Affects Relationships

Written by Guest Author

Woman cheating on her partner online

When it comes to the digital world, you may follow a mix of different people. Your loved ones, like your family and friends, could post pictures of their day-to-day on social media. You could even follow a few coworkers and see their life outside of their office routine. You may even follow people you don’t know, like celebrities, actors, influencers, and more.

A like can turn into a comment. A comment can turn into a direct message. A direct message can turn into chatting on a daily basis, constantly checking in on their page, and watching their stories every time they post something new.

It may seem like it’s all good and fun. You can look, but you can’t touch, right? Not so fast. Emotional cheating is still cheating.

This is how online infidelity affects relationships.

Broken Trust

If you or your partner emotionally cheats, trust can be broken between the two of you. Trust is one of the key foundations of a healthy relationship. Once that trust is broken, it can be a hard thing to get back to normal. Broken pieces rarely perfectly fit together again.

Distancing One Another

When one partner starts to partake in online chats with a stranger, that’s the time and attention their partner misses out on. Instead of focusing on improving their own real relationship, they’re spending time and energy on someone else who isn’t their partner.

It’s not a bad thing if each partner needs a little “me time,” but spending that time with someone else isn’t what that time should be used for.

Plus, distancing can cause bigger issues.

If you’re receiving attention and affection from someone else online, you may not be seeking that safe level from your partner, which can cause a larger gap in your existing relationship and drive the wedge further.

Lowered Self-Esteem

Finding out that you’re being cheated on isn’t a great feeling. Even if you’re the one who was trying to make the relationship work, you may still start to question whether or not you were the problem.

News flash: if you’re the one who didn’t cheat, you’re definitely not the problem.

The partner who initiated or continued their online infidelity can cause larger issues in their relationship besides cheating. Their partner may go through different negative emotions like anger, jealousy, guilt, embarrassment, shame, and more.

They may even start to feel bad about themselves. This will cause more issues in being able to reconnect or try to rebuild the relationship with one another.

How to Move Forward

Online infidelity is still being unfaithful to your partner. Even if you didn’t physically cheat on your partner with someone else, emotionally cheating is still cheating. Any type of cheating can have a big impact on relationships.

If you or a loved one has been cheated on, it is possible to recover. You have to first decide if you want to make the relationship work or not.

  • If your partner was cheating on you, the ball is in your court. Are they or the relationship worth giving it another chance? Take the necessary time and energy to figure out if you want to make it work.
  • If you’re the one who cheated on your partner, you have to take accountability and ownership over your own actions. You also have a decision to make. Do you want to stop the online relationship that you started and truly give your all to your partner, or do you think you’ll fall into the same routine again?

If you need additional help or support, you’re not alone.

A therapist can help you work through all of those different thoughts, emotions, and feelings you may be experiencing. Reach out to us today to set up a couples therapy consultation.


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