Tech Insider chatted to a former Ashley Madison user to find out what it's like to use Ashley Madison as a traditional dating site. Read about how the resulting relationships can be more open and satisfying than those that sprout from traditional dating sites.
"People date online not because they want to lose their partners or they're not happy or they want to replace their partners," Marlene says. "These are people who want to stay in a relationship, but because of the techonology, just [find themselves] suddenly in the lap of infidelity."
"Cyber infidelity is so different from real life infidelity," says Wasserman. "In real life you know you are betraying your vows of commitment and monogamy. The moment we step out of that bubble of monogamy we know."
"You feel as if you are in your own world and you've got your phone in your hand," Marlene says. "You don't feel that you're vulnerable in that space. You're not sneaking out the door, going to the hotel room. It feels completely comfortable and safe. You lull yourself into safety."
Couples and sex therapist Dr. Eve talks about the growing epidemic of online cheating and the psychology of people who deliberately communitcate in secret through texts, chats, e-mails and dating sites, even though they are in a close real-life relationship.
Below are notes and statistics exclusively provided by Dr. Eve from her new book, "Cyber Infidelity":
Do you think that more women than men cheat or is it about equal?
20-40% heterosexual married men
20-25% heterosexual married women
70% dating couples
Source: Henderson C.A New Infidelity Phenomenon, 2007
50-60% married men
45-55% married women
Source: Atwood J.D. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy 4(2-3):117-134
This increase in infidelity by women began as a result of women’s liberation when women got into the work place. Now it is equalizing itself across genders. There are still more risks for women than men with traditional infidelity: loss of security, reputation and stigma.
No one will know numbers of people committing Cyber Infidelity (CI) as it’s done online and in private. One of the primary unexpected outcomes of my research was the large presence of women who are engaging in CI: emotional, sexual, or viewing pornography.
What makes people cheat even when they are in a good relationship?
Traditional (in real life) infidelity reasons are different from cyber infidelity. Traditionally, it was because the wife did not understand him, her husband neglected her, and he wanted and felt entitled to sexual variety, bought, or freely available.
People online have no intention of committing infidelity — they are online already, as are the majority of the world’s population, and due to the technology itself, their chats very rapidly progress into personal disclosure, and then hyper personal disclosure. Before long, you are keeping the chats secret from your partner, and once there is secrecy, infidelity is occurring.
There's also the "Triple A Engine": affordable, accessible, and anonymous when cheating online. CI has become a new form of relationship that we did not know existed before we held a device in our hands.
Why some people engage in sexual talk online even though they have no intention of physically cheating on their partner?
My research shows that the feelings one gets cyberchatting, cyberflirting, and cybersexting results in both men and women feeling positive about life. They say their online relationships / connections are more satisfying than their IRL (in real life) relationships — which is what keeps them online.
And in addition they feel more sexually satisfied – even without the physical contact. It makes sense, since IRL is about domesticity, familiarity, and conflict. Online is conflict free, interactive, and imaginations are stimulated. Women feel unregulated and liberated in this online space and men feel less judged and better understood.
It is the "hyper personal Intimacy" that develops in a rapid progressive manner that is the seduction. After a few chats, people can feel this person is less of a stranger than their own partner.
If a relationship can be salvaged after cyber cheating?
It takes much more courage to process and recover from CI than recovering from IRL / traditional infidelity.
The reasons are:
How to spot an online cheater and when someone is lying or misrepresenting themselves?
Everyone who holds a device is vulnerable to CI—unintentionally.
You can spot a partner engaging in what you may define as betrayal. If they keep their mobile attached to them 24/7; if they have a password on all devices to which you cannot access; if they protective about their devices; if they spend more time than usual online; if they become defensive about their online use; if, when you confront them, they divert the conversation to you invading their privacy without addressing the real issue — which is: what are you doing online that needs to be so private?
“Are you Sexting a friend, Flirting Online with Strangers, Watching Porn, Exchanging nudes or Sexual Fantasies, Visiting Dating Sites, Having Phone Sex, Building Intimacy with someone else you fancy, SECRETLY or even just emailing an EX on a regular?”
Dr Eve talks to Alex Okoroji about the truths of Cyber Infidelity.
“Secrets kill,” Wasserman says. “At the same time, it’s a very personal thing. Once you get caught, it’s the most devastating thing in the world. If you take on the responsibility of having an affair, you should take on the responsibility of the result.” At the end of the book, Wasserman provides “a netiquette management guide”.
The aim of the guide is to provide talking points for couples to put boundaries in place for online communication.
"In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group."
"The theme was a perfect fit for my presentation on Cyber Infidelity. After all the cyber world is open and accessible to all of us yet we need to control our own behaviour online."
Quickly becoming a hot topic Marlene recently got coverage on Cliff Central. More interesting conversations were on their way and this time the focus was on Whatsapp.
"Is a WhatsApp relationship cheating? Is sexting just as bad? Has tech made it simple to cheat?" These questions and more are investigated as radio DJs Clare Matthes and Vicky Sidler chat to Marlene about her new book and her views on cheating online.
Marlene made an appearance on Hashtag radio. Hashtag Radio is an online streaming radio station which promotes itself as a social upliftment platform for entrepreneurs, SMEs, Events, Charities, DJs and upcoming artists.
Their focus is to create an online community that adds value to their listeners and has an ever active presence on Twitter, hence hashtag. Hashtag Radio was covering the event TedX Cape Town and brought Marlene in to speak about her TedX Talk. Listen to the interview here.
"When I first heard about the title of Dr Eve’s book, I was mostly intrigued by how she was going to define and introduce this new, untouched aspect of relationships- “Cyber Infidelity”.
Pondering about relationships and technology, I thought back to the very first time I chatted via SMS to a guy. I was about 13 years old… and I recall the excitement I felt waiting for that Nokia 3210 to play that Beep-Beep ; Beep-Beep monotone every time he replied. It was exciting and immediate."
"Infidelity has always posed one of the worst threats to relationships. But today, our digital prowess has led to a disturbing and as yet little understood new form of infidelity: cyber infidelity.
In Cyber Infidelity, renowed sexologist Dr Eve takes the first in-depth look at this new form of deception: people who deliberately communicate in secret through texts, chats, e-mails and dating sites, even though they are in a close real-life relationship."
Discussing topics around Cyber Infidelity, questions about secrecy emerges. Questions about what it means
to have a cyber affair are asked and there is more talk about how people's relationships online are more
enriching and rapid than the relationships people experience offline.
Marlene shares an experience of a woman approaching her for advice about her husband's interactions with an old friend on Facebook. Marlene explains how easy it is for people on an online platform to share detailed feelings without having the barrier of speaking face to face.
Marlene was invited to chat with Dr. Martha Tara Lee on OM Times Radio, a radio station based in Singapore.
OM Times Radio positions themselves as "one of the leading on-line content providers of positivity, wellness & personal empowerment,"
which is a great fit considering the impacts Cyber Infidelity has on people's lives.
Listen to conversation here
Expectations in relationships today have changed and digital spaces has created a new playground for people to interact and the consequences may have damaging effects on our offline relationships. Interviewed on News24 in two segments about her new book Cyber Infidelity The New Seduction, Marlene addresses the challenges relationships face when confronted with cyber affairs.
Could your partner be cheating on you in a cyberspace? New research on the subject of dating, infidelity and social interaction through online dating sites and social media apps shows the world has moved from hand holding to courting on hand-held devices.
Significant numbers of married South African men and women are having great sex in cyberspace - and they don't feel in the least bit ashamed of it.Vivian Attwood in the Sunday Independant
For the first time ever, global research
has been conducted to define what constitutes Cyber
Infidelity, and what, if any, are the consequences of
Dr. Marlene Wasserman, better known by her professional moniker Dr. Eve, has poured over millions of data sets including demographics, messaging and proprietary surveys from confessed cyber cheaters around the world and the findings are revelatory.
From her research she has written Cyber Infidelity: The New Seduction, an in-depth study and hands on guide on how the Internet has changed people’s perceptions of and involvement with marital infidelity.
Infidelity has likely been with us since
the first marriage, with hundreds of years of ingrained
behaviours that have gone unchanged. Until recently. In the
age of technology a new form of Infidelity has made an
appearance: Cyber Infidelity.
In this book the focus is on this new form of deception: people who deliberately seek to communicate in secret with other people through texts, chats, e-mails and dating sites, even though they are in close relationships. Utilising the database of AshleyMadison.com, the book exposes this new seduction and the impact of accessible, anonymous and affordable connections on modern-day marriages and relationships.