August 13, 1999

Two weeks ago I talked about the growing frequency of online affairs. Apparently this is becoming an issue that concerns many online services as well as marriage counselors.

Pretending is a major theme in cyberaffairs. Men claim to be professionals who work out every day in the gym. And they universally claim that their wives don't understand them. Women, on the other hand, claim to be slim, sexy, and adventurous. The anonymity of the Internet allows them to divulge their wildest fantasies. In fact, their frank talk and flirtation pays great dividends in the number of men in a chat room who want to talk to them.

Online affairs develop because of the dual attraction of attention and anonymity. Someone who has been ignored by a spouse suddenly becomes the center of attention in a chat room or a one-on-one e-mail exchange. A woman finds it exciting, even intoxicating, that all these men want to talk to her.

Anonymity feeds this intoxication because the person on the other end of this cyberaffair is unknown. He or she can be as beautiful and intelligent as your dreams can imagine. The fantasy is fueled by the lack of information and the anonymity. No one in cyberland has bad breath, bald heads, obesity, or bad tempers. Men are warm, sensitive, caring, communicative. Women are daring, sensual, and erotic.

Is it all too good to be true? Of course it is. Cyberaffairs are only make believe. Usually when cyberlovers meet, there is a major letdown. And maybe that's the point. An online affair can't really compete with a real relationship that provides true friendship. And an online affair cannot and should not compete with a real marriage and marital intimacy.

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