Vail Relationships column: Remedies for cyber-cheating and Internet sex
Editor’s note: This is the second part of a two-part series. Find the first column online at http://www.vaildaily.com.
How do you remedy cyber cheating in a committed relationship? Is there a way to change the need for Internet sex and/or online porn if you are married or involved in a stable relationship?
This is a more difficult question than it may seem because a committed relationship can grow romantically and erotically stale over time, and an online dalliance may provide the stimulation, novelty and the excitement that your primary relationship is lacking. And many so-called “cheaters” are likely to say that they are not cheating at all because they’ve never met or touched the person they were involved with online. But their spouses are likely to feel like they are absolutely cheating.
Look for what’s Lacking
So what can you do about this? First, if you are the person doing online cheating, then look carefully at what you are getting from other people online that you’re not getting in your day-to-day relationship. What’s missing in your relationship that you’re receiving from others? Communicate this to your mate and request changes that would assist you in feeling more connected and closer. Do the two of you need to spice up your love life? Have more fun together? Talk more intimately with each other? Such changes are readily doable — and they will hopefully lesson the need for your online roaming.
Don’t be Secretive
Second, don’t be secretive and hidden. If your partner cannot be in the room with you when you are communicating with someone else, or if she or he can’t see your emails or texts, then you are hiding secrets. The same with creating passwords that your partner doesn’t know. The same with having social media accounts that your partner does not have access to or of having a private email or social media account that he or she doesn’t know about.
Trust issues are hard to get rid of
And it’s the same if you log off when your partner comes into the room or if you are hiding credit card or bank registers so he or she can’t know what you’re spending money on. If you are caught, then you will be dealing with immediate and powerful trust issues, and trust issues are hard to get rid of. And you will greatly assist your partner in feeling insecure around you, and she or he will therefore be inclined to check up on you and who you’re communicating with 24/7.
If your intimate partner is the one doing the online cheating, then your first step is to look at what you need from him or her that will help you to feel safe again. You need specific steps that she or he will take in order for you to no longer feel threatened and insecure in your relationship. Ask your partner what she or he would like you to do differently at home so the urge for outside stimulation decreases. Does he or she want you to talk dirty? Be more seductive? Take the romantic or sexual lead? Wear more racy clothes? Offer you different visual or verbal stimulation?
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Westminster and Boulder. His column is in its 24th year of publication and is syndicated around the world. You can reach him at 303-758-8777, or email him through his website at http://www.heartrelationships.com. The second edition of his book “Love, Sex and Staying Warm: Creating a Vital Relationship,” recently hit the No. 1 best-seller list on Amazon.
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