Online Affairs

July 23, 1999

The Internet is becoming a breeding ground for adultery. So say many experts who track the pattern of extramarital affairs.

Peggy Vaughn is the author of The Monogamy Myth and also serves as an expert for America Online on problems caused by infidelity. She predicts that one "role of the Internet in the future will be as a source of affairs." She is writing a second book on the subject of adultery and says she could base half of it just on the letters she receives from people who started an affair online.

"Stay-at-home moms in chat rooms are sharing all this personal stuff they are hiding from their partners." She finds the intensity of women's online relationships can "quickly escalate into thinking they have found a soulmate. It is so predictable, it is like a script." Sadly she knows of women "who have left their marriages before they have even met" their new partners in person.

Just as the Internet has become a new source of pornography for many, so it seems that it has also become a new source for affairs. Relationships online frequently go over the line leaving pain, heartbreak, and even divorce in their wake. Even though these online affairs don't involve sex, they can be very intense and threaten a marriage just the same. They include three elements of an emotional affair: secrecy, intimacy, and sexual chemistry.

If you frequent online chat rooms, beware. The people you are corresponding with may not be who you think they are. The recent movie "You've Got Mail" has done nothing but feed the fantasy that you are writing to Tom Hanks or Meg Ryan. In nearly every case, nothing could be further from the truth. An online affair could happen to you, and the plot might be more like "Fatal Attraction."

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.