Are you in a relationship but find yourself involved in internet chat infidelity? Are you unsure as to why you frequently desire committing internet chat infidelity? To help understand common reasons some people engage in internet chat infidelity and how to overcome internet chat infidelity, I have interviewed psychologist Thomas Ellis, Psy.D.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I am a licensed clinical psychologist in San Francisco. I have a private practice in the city and am also on staff at Stanford University’s Counseling and Psychological Services, where I completed my postdoctoral fellowship. I earned my doctorate from the Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA as well as a master’s in counseling psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, MN. I conduct individual, couples and group psychotherapy. While I treat a variety of issues, including anxiety, depression, sexual compulsions, and LGBT concerns, I have found that the majority of my clients enter therapy with relationship problems. I prefer to think of people as “stuck” not “sick” and with insight into their maladaptive patterns, individuals can make positive changes that will improve their interpersonal relationships.”
What are common reasons that some people engage in internet chat infidelity?
“People engage in internet chat infidelity for a number of reasons, but the most salient cause is likely due to a lack of intimacy and trust in their primary relationship. If people are not feeling connected to their partner either emotionally, intellectually, or sexually, they seek outside relationships to fulfill their needs. The internet is conducive for infidelity because it is readily available, can be done in secrecy, and usually anonymously. People often never meet face-to-face, so they can portray themselves however they like. Because they never see the other person interact in day-to-day life, they are able to project an ideal image onto the other person without ever seeing them as a fully human, faults and all. Finally, some may feel that because there isn’t physical contact, internet chat infidelity it isn’t really “cheating.””
What type of impact does internet chat infidelity have on their “committed” relationship and overall life?
“Internet chat infidelity can widen the chasm that already may be separating couples. When people engage in behavior that they know is wrong, their guilt may subconsciously affect how they interact with their significant other. They may pull back sexually, they may withdraw emotionally, or they may take out anger through passive aggressive comments. People may find that their social or professional life also suffers because they start avoiding commitments in order to make time to chat with their online partner. In some extreme cases, people may actually engage in sexually inappropriate conversations or behaviors while on the job, thereby placing their employment at risk. Furthermore, people may get used to interacting in a chat context and never develop the social skills needed to interact face-to-face.”
How can someone overcome internet chat infidelity?
“Overcoming internet chat infidelity may involve a series of steps. First, a person may need to gain insight into the reasons they are engaging in these types of relationships. Secondly, they need to establish appropriate boundaries for internet and chat use. Typically, to stop a behavior that may seem out of control, the behavior needs to be brought into the light. Infidelity is a very sensitive issue and much care must be given when determining the amount of details that will be disclosed to the person’s primary partner. This can be done with the help of a professional psychotherapist.”
What type of professional help is available for someone who wants to overcome internet chat infidelity?
“A person who is engaging in internet chat infidelity and would like to overcome it may benefit from individual or group psychotherapy. They may also benefit from a peer led support group such as Sex Addicts Anonymous or Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous as an adjunct to professional help. Finally, couples therapy is highly advised to help the partners in the primary relationship rebuild their intimacy and trust.”
Thank you Dr. Ellis for doing the interview on how someone can overcome internet infidelity. For more information on Dr. Ellis or his work you can check out his website on www.drthomasellis.com.
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