With the rapid rise of the digital age, the line between faithfulness and cheating is blurrier than ever before. While it’s true that every May-December marriage is different, it’s generally agreed upon between husband and wife that extramarital sex is off limits. Where things get fuzzy though, is what happens if the cheating happens online, such as engaging in dirty talk online, exchanging X-rated messages and pictures in an adult chat room, virtual sex games, or even just watching porn.
A cheater might try to defend his actions by saying that because it’s online, it doesn’t count. But according to a recent survey, online cheating can do just as much damage to a May-December marriage as physical cheating can.
In the survey, which was carried out as part of research for the new book Always Turned On: Sex Addiction in the Digital Age, found that 87% of the respondents felt that their partner’s cheating online had a negative effect on their marriage long-term relationship. Some of the most common negative effects reported included loss of trust and self-esteem, stress, and a hit to the sexual relationship. Over a third (35%) of the respondents said that their relationship ended as a result of their partner’s online cheating.
Let this be a lesson for your May-December marriage—there is very little difference between an affair that happens online and one that happens in real life, at least according to your significant other. So if you’re thinking about straying, even in the digital world, you might want to think again. As a general rule of thumb, if you feel the need to lie or keep it a secret, you probably shouldn’t be doing it if you’re not willing to put your May-December marriage on the line.
Weiss, R., “Online Sex Can Shatter, Even Doom Relationships, Survey Finds,” Huffington Post web site, January 7, 2015; http://goo.gl/ZT4dwV.