Marlene Wasserman, a South African sex therapist, has written a book about cyber cheating, under the name Dr. Eve.
Cyber cheating might seem like no more than innocent flirtation to some, but it can do just as much damage as cheating of the old school, says a sex therapist who’s studied the issue.
And it’s wreaking havoc on many relationships, says Marlene Wasserman, author of the new book “Cyber Infidelity: The New Seduction,” written under the name Dr. Eve.
“I know how to deal with the pain of regular infidelity,” says Wasserman. “But this is pain doubled. It is more pain than I have seen for many years.”
Whether they’re sexting, sharing nude photos, e-mailing with an ex in secret or just flirting with strangers online, cyber cheaters often don’t think of their actions as a meaningful betrayal.
“Cyber infidelity is so different from real life infidelity,” says Wasserman. “In real life you know you are betraying your vows of commitment and monogamy. The moment we step out of that bubble of monogamy we know.”
When the activity is online and not in a hotsheets motel, lines are not as easily drawn. Many think what they are doing is innocent web trolling, but since it involves keeping secrets from their partner, it can cause terrible damage, says Wasserman, who’s seen the fallout among couples she’s worked with.
And that’s not to mention that virtual cheating can easily lead to real infidelity.
The bottom line is, if you’re hiding any sort of relationship, even a virtual one, you’re engaging in infidelity, says Wasserman — who notes how easily people can get drawn into illicit relationships online.
Online indiscretion is easy to fall into — and spouses who engage may think they’re doing nothing wrong of any significance.
“The ease, the affordability and anonymity drives you to have conversations that you did not intend to have,” she says. “You got on Facebook, or answered a Tweet and somebody responded, and in a very rapid process, you are suddenly flirting.”
To gauge whether your significant other is in a cyber affair, Wasserman gave the News several indicators:
* Your partner is spending more time online, or constantly checking his or her phone.
* Your partner shows a sudden boost in mood and self-esteem.
* He or she changes the passwords on phones and computers.
* Sex is improved with the real-life partner “because of the stimulation received online.”
Given that the parameters can be murky and couples may not agree about what constitutes cyber cheating, Wasserman advises that couples have a heart-to-heart on the subject, which she calls the sex tech talk.
“Couples must discuss privacy,” she says. “They must ask can I read your phone? Can I get onto your Facebook page? Can I look at your history?”
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