The problem with on-line affairs is that most people involved in them don’t think of them as affairs. It’s not like they are “cheating” for real. So some people who would never even dream of having an affair find themselves having an online affair. They can be who they want to be, and “do” what ever they want to with out any real risk or consequences. It is not like they are meeting the person at a hotel room or something. There is no real contact so it does not hurt anyone.
They completely miss the fact that it involves their emotions and time. Emotions and time they should be investing into their spouse. In some cases it goes to the next level and becomes a real affair, one that is physical not just emotional. Whether it is just an on-line or an actual physical affair it is still disruptive and harmful to existing relationships. Online affairs account for a growing number of divorce cases and it is the most frequently treated problem at the Centre for Online Addiction, http://www.netaddiction.com/.
The number of online affairs or Internet romances grows every day. It is so big there is even an Online Affairs Support Centre, http://onlineaffairs.tripod.com/, an anonymous support centre for individuals who want to discuss and support others in understanding the "online affair" or "internet romance". It is open to people whose spouse or partner had or is having an online affair, or those who have been hurt by their online friend. As well as people currently or are considering having an Internet romance.
How do you know if your spouse is having an online affair? Your gut instinct is a very good sign. If you think some thing is going on, chances are you are right. However you don’t want to just go on your instinct, you may want to read The more you know, http://www.themoreyouknowpi.com/. There are signs your spouse is involved in an online affair. Here are some signs to keep an eye out for.
Changes in behaviour:
Not sharing or talking to you about their day, or what they are doing on the computer.
Go from telling you about who they met and what they talked about online to not talking about what they do on the computer or just one person as if they stopped talking with them. Early on, before they learn how to hide their tracks, you may find some unusual or inappropriate emails or messages from some one that your spouse just brushes off as a joke or that it was sent to the wrong person.
Wanting to have privacy when they use the computer. Changing the page they are on, turning off the screen/closing laptop up when you come close to the computer. Start taking their laptop with them so you have no access to it.
Spending more time on the computer then with you, or always on the computer whenever you are not around. They check their emails several times a day, when you are not by the computer, delete emails and then dump the garbage/deleted emails so you cannot read them.
Wanting to be intimate with you every time they get off the computer, possibly wanting to try different things. Calling you a new nickname or term of endearment when being intimate with you. Or the very opposite, they no longer seem to want or need intimacy with you, physical or emotional.
Suddenly start using IM (instant messaging)
Changes in computer use:
They have changed the passwords on the computer. There are areas you just cannot get into any more. Possibly have set up as a second user on the computer, a second hard drive or the hard drive is partitioned and you don’t have access to what is on it. Opening an email account that you do not know of, or they don’t want you to look at or they will not give you access to.
There is a live chat (IM) program that was not there before or one that you cannot get access to, or some one uses the program you already have but asks for some one you don’t know. They seem to always be in a chat room “just talking”.
Suddenly there is a web cam, better imaging software, more RAM so it processes faster, and new software to automatically clear all Internet history after chat sessions.
The truth is that you will notice a change in your partner be it a big or small change. They are going to be the same type of changes if they are having an affair in person, or online. You will start questioning what is going on, they will be on the defensive and possibly have an argument about it. They will try to make you think that they are not doing anything wrong and that you have a problem not them. Unfortunately the only way to know for sure is to get them to tell you, not likely to happen. Or you need to catch them.
It is a little easer to catch them on the computer because you can use spy ware programs like Keylogger software that lets you see every keystroke, what is being said and to who. This will give you the proof you are looking for. These days there are all types of spy ware programs available because unfortunately they are needed in business and personal lives. There are companies that will install a spy ware program so your partner is unable to detect it and remove it. The only problem with this is if your partner is using a laptop from work, they get checked all the time and it could cause a big problem if there is a spy ware program on it. Also you have no way of finding out what they are doing on their computer at work.
If you don’t have a laptop you can also install a video camera in such a place as to see the screen. This is not as safe as a spy ware program as it can be found with a physical search. At the same time there are some very cool hidden cameras available these days. This way you can see what they are doing, sometimes at the same time as they are doing it. If you have to go so far as to spy on your partner then there is a real trust issue and you need to take a look at how happy you are in the relationship even if they are not cheating. Though the sad part is, if you think your partner is having an online affair the chances are you are right.