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Living within the two worlds is not easy, however, and may become increasingly risky when people do not realize the limitations of each.
Whereas people having online affairs tend to understate their problematic nature, their offline partners typically do not see difference between online and offline affairs: A lack of direct physical contact and face-to-face meetings does not diminish the sense of a violation of their vow of exclusivity.
Consider the following statement from a 41-year-old married man (all citations are from to cheat—something that may even add spice to their offline relationship.
Many of them believe cybersex to be similar to pornography—an extension of fantasy that actually helps to keep them from physical affairs with other people.In some circumstances, cybersex may in fact help a person through a rough period in an offline, loving relationship.In such situations, cybersex may even be advisable—but still regarded as cheating.In his stimulating paper, "Chatting Is Not Cheating," John Portmann defends online lust and characterizes about sex; he maintains that such talking is more similar to flirting than to having a sexual affair.
In reality, though, the issue of online cheating is more complex—especially when it concerns sexual activities involving actual interaction with other individuals.Moreover, when online affairs are revealed to the significant other, which is done more often than when offline circumstances are involved, it could be considered as something less than cheating.