Posted by Patrick Hart, Partner
On 1 September 2016 Withy King LLP merged with Royds LLP. The trading name for the merged firm is Royds Withy King. All content produced prior to this date will remain in the name of the firms pre-merger.
Open University study claims that online infidelity can be addictive
According to an online study conducted by psychology experts at the Open University, the internet has enabled people to have an affair more easily.
One of the reasons cited for the upward trend is that people who choose to cheat on their partners can meet someone online without having to conform to society’s expectations of how to behave.
The ability to portray a different physical appearance online, as well as an alternative personality, were also given as major reasons why technology enabled people to have an affair.
One woman, whose former partner conducted affairs with multiple women, responded to the survey by saying: “I have a deep mistrust in the internet, and feel it massively facilitates infidelity.
“My ex-husband is inherently a very shy man, but online he is able to act much more confidently and attract the attention of other women.
“I strongly believe he would not have had so many affairs without the internet.”
Dr Vossler, part of the team responsible for the study at the Open University, said: “What our research has revealed is that men and women do see internet infidelity differently.
“But it is not just a gender divide – what is experienced as infidelity online can vary from person to person.
“What might be seen as casual chatting by one partner, is hurtful and disloyal to the other for instance.”
The survey highlighted that while one partner might consider the other’s solely internet-based exchanges as cheating, the ‘offending’ party might see their actions as innocent.
Among the most common behaviours that caused relationship issues online were cybersex, exchanging sexual self-images, flirting and dating.
The aforementioned activities, combined with the growing number of people who progress to meeting extramarital partners in person after an online introduction, are being cited as contributing factors as to why more marriages and family units are breaking apart.
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