Age is Just a Number: Adventures in Online Dating

by D.S. White

Thursday, September 15, 2005
INFIDELITY: WHERE DOES IT BEGIN?

"...Does cyber sex equal infidelity?"

I dreamt about my ex-husband last night. Disturbing? A little, since we've been divorced for over fifteen years. In my defense, I will mention that before I fell asleep I was reading a copy of Grown Folks Business by Victoria Christopher Murray, which deals with infidelity. The husband in the book didn't actually commit a sexual act, but he fell in love with someone else, a man.

Some folks would disagree and say that the main topic was homosexuality and the down low trend (which I've been aware of since the eighties) that is just now coming to light in the mainstream world. And they'd be right. In fact, we both would, because there are many issues being touched on in this story. Since matters of importance are subjective, and this is my blog, I'm going with the infidelity issue this morning.

Merriam-Webster defines infidelity as "Unfaithfulness to a moral obligation: DISLOYALTY, marital unfaithfulness or an instance of it." The protagonist's husband, Quentin, is quick to point out that, although he's in love with someone else, it has nothing to do with sex. He doesn't come out and make a bold statement, but the author's skillful wording broadcasts Quentin's tone loud and clear. You get the idea that he feels confident, and maybe even takes pride in the fact, that he has not been unfaithful.

Which segues nicely into the question: where does infidelity begin? How is it defined? Does it begin the moment we entertain thoughts about others beside our spouse and refuse to squash those thoughts? Or does it begin only when we proceed to act out our thoughts? Since we're dealing with the online arena, the following questions arise:

  • Should a married person have a profile on a Singles Site?
  • If so, should his or her spouse be told?
  • If all communication stays on-site and no personal information is divulged, is that fidelity?
  • Is cyber sex infidelity?
  • How about phone sex?
  • How intimate are conversations allowed to be?
  • When does online interaction cross the line from entertainment to infidelity?

What say you?

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They Said...

"Married Girls need luvin too"
     - Blue Skelton, Blog Reader

"They sure do, that's why they have husbands or wives."
     - Dee, Blog Owner

"I think that it is easy to get far too involved with someone online because the lines are blurred. If it isn't physical, how far is too far? I would have to say that a better approach is to address the issues existing in the relationship with your partnerýrather than seeking fulfillment elsewhere."
     - Sophie, blog reader

"From a biblical standpoint, Jesus said that whoever lusts after a woman has committed adultery in his heart. I think the adultery mentioned there is primarily against God, for as Christians we are His "bride." But if we are married, then the adultery is against our spouse as well.

Men are visual, and you'll find few men who aren't physically attracted to an attractive woman (admittedly, what's attractive is at least partly determined by the norms of the day). But if a man follows through on that and dwells on the woman, or if he seeks time with her at the expense of his spouse, then that may well be adultery. I think ultimately it's where the heart is that is the deciding factor."
     - Jeff, blog reader

"Faithfulness is relative. Emotional cheating and sexual cheating are both cheating nonetheless. They are also viewed by both genders as such. However, it's amazing how differently and how intensely, men and women, view the two forms of cheating.

Men can be driven to homicide and even suicide if their woman has sex with another man. Women seem apt to do the same if their man is taking another woman out on intimate (yet nonsexual) dinner dates, on vacations, buying her flowers, holding her hand in public and, spending hours on the telly with her. To play devil's advocate, we all hold cheating to be different things in our different situations but, just like Kanye said, "we want pre-nupt, WE WANT PRE-NUPT!"

Develop some sort of official understanding as to where you both stand before things get too intense so, there are no murky and amorphous pea-soup fogs to wade through."
     - Your Dream Lover, blog reader

"Wowzers. Great question. I believe it is what one does with his/her thoughts. I can think a man is attractive but if I let my mind wander either sexually or emotionally with this man I have committed a form of infidelity. And it is a lie that physical infidelity is worse than emotional, I lost someone I loved very much because he had an emotional affair and we never recovered."
     - Karen, blog reader

"I've been hearing a lot about this book lately, I think I'm going to read it. I think I've been unfaithful to my man if I've been unfaithful in my heart mind or body. Some penetration just goes deeper than the physical. I however have been a faithful woman, and I know I'm lucky to have a good man. Good post."
     - Comadose, blog reader


Age is Just a Number: Adventures in Online Dating by D.S. White

© Copyright 2006. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.



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