Is online cheating the same as cheating in real life?
6/7/2011, 4:54 p.m.
The fallout from Congressman Anthony Wiener's racy online activities has put the politician and his wife in the spotlight of the media and the Internet. So far it's been determined that Wiener didn't violate any laws for what he did but what about violating the laws of marriage?
The Queens congressman admitted on Monday to the world that he did in fact send lewd photos over the Internet, a claim he denied last week. Wiener also had explicit communication with half a dozen women over the Internet before and after his marriage to his current wife Huma Abedin. The two got married in July of last year.
While Wiener said he carried online relationships with the women, he said he never met or physically cheated on his wife. The incident has highlighted a constant conversation since the dawn of the Internet: is online cheating the same as regular cheating?
Nationally known psychologist and relationship expert Dr. Jeff Gardere says yes.
"I still consider it to be cheating. If it's behavior online outside of the awareness of your partner there is intimacy. Intimacy is not just physical it's also emotional. Online cheating is a form of emotional cheating and the word 'cheating' is still in there," he said.
Gardere also said that honesty is the key to any marriage and seeking out another relationship still takes away from a marriage. He said that online relationships are fine if there is no "sexting" or inappropriate conversations involved.
"It's not cheating if your partner knows about it and your partner says 'go ahead and have fun'," he said. "It's not cheating if you are not 'sexting' or sending photos. However, maybe you aren't being completely honest that you have friends on the Internet of the opposite sex and there is no intimacy involved, unless you have jealous partner because of the fear of where it might go."