Time check, 3.00am and Juliana is woken up by a loud laughter from the living room. It is Peter. For the past two months, the “poor man” has been “working” until late every night.
At least he is home, unlike many other men who will claim they are in the office still working until midnight. Hold on! Is this news to you or is it happening in your house?
Watch out, your partner could be involved in a cyber-affair.
Cyber-affairs, aka online infidelity, are romantic, sexual relationships that start and survive online. They usually lead to cybersex (a topic for another day). This trend is breaking up many families, capturing innocent fathers, derailing responsible mothers and of course, hooking teenagers.
Many people will claim they or their partners are immune to cyber-affairs. I am sorry to burst your bubble, but there is really no science behind the starting of an online affair.
Look at this lonely wife whose husband works 16 hours a day and is left in this expensive empty house. Tell me how she won’t fail to one day land on an online stranger ready to listen to her inner feelings and keep her busy.
What starts as an innocent “hi, how was your day?” eventually progresses to, “can you remove your bra?” (way past removing the blouse stage).
An unsuspecting man will land on a chat room or answers to a pop-up on his screen (intentionally or unintentionally) – you know them, the kind that say, “check out single girls in your area”. He gets surprised at the level of fantasy and excitement in these chat rooms. In one week, he is hooked to the site and cannot spend two minutes without checking his chat messages.
Some people find solace in this cyber life – it is like an escape from life’s stresses into a life of fantasy.
These days, almost everyone owns a smart phone, a tablet, a laptop, if not all and you will find the owners chatting away on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, name it.
One needs 10 lifetimes to be able to attend to all these and at the same time give their partner and children the attention they deserve.
Cyber-affairs are as serious and fatal as a disease! You think because you are in Kampala and the stranger is in Sao Tome and Principe, and there is no physical contact, there is no need to worry.
Ask people who have been involved in these (not that they will be willing to come out anyway). Gone are the days of physical contact being a prerequisite for an affair. People are having the time of their lives in virtual space.
You must have read about girls who went to physically meet with a stranger they have been chatting with online and disappeared from the surface of the earth, or were discovered dead. Others are raped and will not mention it because society will not understand – don’t use this excuse as the reason you cannot disclose your baby’s father.
Cyber-affairs result in emotional attachment, which is more dangerous than physical attachment. The latter is easier to break off than the former.
Causes of cyber-affair addiction
The anonymity that comes with cyber-affairs lets one have control over the content they write; they lie about names and looks and say things they can never say in real life.
Because there is no face-to-face interaction for the lies and shyness to be detected, a person is able to share more intimate details about themselves. Soon, they are comfortable with the stranger, addicted and cannot do without each other.
A sexually cold man suddenly realises that he can get heated conversations online and experiences feelings he has never experienced before. The lonely wife also realises that she is the hottest cake, a feeling she has not got since her wedding night.
The convenience of “talking” to this individual wherever one is - in a board meeting, church, taxi, toilet, airport lounge, or wherever, makes it very easy to manage unlike the physical ones.
Chances of getting caught, especially by a technologically-challenged partner are slim compared to real life (or so people think) and this accelerates the problem.
Is your spouse in a cyber-affair?
Don’t get it twisted that everyone you see hooked onto their gadget (me inclusive) is in a cyber-affair. However, also do not rule out the fact that they are not.
• Is he/she suddenly demanding for privacy and has passwords? Has the computer position in the house been changed to a corner where only s/he can view the screen?
• Are they defensive when you complain about their gadget use?
• A once heavy sleeper now sleeps at 2am and is awake at 5:30am on his/her gadget?
• Are responsibilities being ignored?
• Has the once warm, caring, loving partner coiled into some unknown computer or phone world?
• Has interest in sex with you gone? Don’t get me wrong, this has to be combined with the gadget use for the diagnosis to be complete.
Anybody can get hooked onto a cyber-affair. Protect yourself and your friends. Please don’t shoot me, I am just but a messenger; not a spoiler of your “happiness”. They say information is power.