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The Living Room Relationships Is cheating 2.0 cheating?
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Is cheating 2.0 cheating?
Is cheating 2.0 cheating?

People are having mini-affairs which remain online fantasies. Flirting+ - exchanging sexual texts and sometimes photos with eachother. Is it cheating? Is it only fantasy?
It goes without saying, and yet I feel it should be added, that these are very different from friendship but instead have the character of a sexual relationship without any physical contact.

This question is now a hot topic given congressman Anthony Weiner recent photo scandal, where he tweeted, texted, emailed etc. with women, sending photos and racy language, yet with no real physical acts. He got married in Oct. and already is having these mini-affairs.

Does cheating demand a real physical aspect?
Is cheating gradual or is there a clear dividing line?
Is virtual sex as good as real sex?  Have you ever met a person who prefers fantasy to reality?  -  I thought not.

Secondly, cheating on your partner ( in your heart ) is still called cheating, by most people ---unless you happen to be
a former American President or else your idea of marriage is a very open one..
People are connecting Weiner's actions, and cheating 2.0, to men and porn. I find the connection between sexual flirtations with women, even if it's on the internet, to porn both silly and worrying. Do people really don't see a difference if there is another person involved? Weiner didn't send his naked pictures to himself but to a real live person, and whether it happened online or offline seems less material. He wasn't playing a virtual game simply because there were real live other people involved.
There seems to me to be some kind of objectification of the women involved by the people who compare it to porn. (While it is true that porn is created by real live women too, there is a separation between the viewer and creator, and it's a one-way street. You can't speak or send naked pictures of yourself to the women.)

Michael, Weiner is an example for someone who prefered fantasy to reality, for his own reasons, and there are many more. It does bring up the point that I think most people would rather have their partner virtually cheat on them than really cheat on them, but both are cheating.

As for cheating "in your heart," Michael, there was no heart involved here. Weiner couldn't care less about the women he was flirting with. He wasn't in love with them and simply didn't act on it, he probably didn't even like them, but they called him hot and he liked that. His cheating was a very physical cheating, even if a virtual one.

In response to George Browning
"He wasn't playing a virtual game simply because there were real live other people involved."
I think that depends on who they are pretending to be when they are in the virtual environment, remembering that some people use an imagined persona, even a different sex.  John Smith-the-wimp-with-no-girlfriend becomes Rex Xavier-the-hunk-with-a-thousand-conquests-and-the-trophies-to-prove-it.  Miss Margery Swinton-the-ugly-duckling-and-virgin becomes Mrs Natasha de Veer-the-ravishing-beauty-and-sex-Goddess-who-has-seduced-a-thousand-men.  They live their dreams on line not as themselves but as their fantasy characters.  They are like actors on stage or screen, their stage being the virtual environment while their on-line "lovers" are also actors in the same play.  The difference from performing actors is only that they have no audience: They are not their real selves.  So, who is cheating?  Margery or Natasha?   

Isn't this like playing cops and robbers, where kids pretend to each other?  Robbery and murder are not the real intent, just a game about a serious subject.

(Incidentally, it is not just "cyber sex" where the fantasies arise.  I am a moderator/co-owner of a writing group on Yahoo.  We occasionally get fantasists there, too:  People who drop by with claims of being a best-selling author or - my favourite - we have a guy who turns up every so often claiming to have been busy on the script writing team of CSI or one of the TV cop series.  And then, there are the infamous trolls who turn up on places like Alternet, who posture and provoke others with inflammatory views that they do not really hold, pretending to be who they are not just for the fun of upsetting people.)

However, if John Smith posed as himself and had an on-line "adulterous" relationship with Margery, also as herself, then I suggest that scenario is very different from that between fantasy personas Natasha de Veer and Rex Xavier.  The first really is cheating, but the second is probably not.

Am I onto something?  Comments please!  :o)
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