Is Cybersex Cheating?
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Q. Since our daughter was born 14 months ago, our sexual and emotional intimacy has declined. This week I found out that my husband's having cybersex with other women. I can't begin to describe my emotions, and I'm having difficulty forgiving him. People tell me it's no big deal, that cybersex isn't really cheating. But that goes against everything I've been taught as a Christian. Am I making too much of this?
A. We think it is a "big deal." We've seen Internet pornography, chat rooms, and sex phone calls become an obsession with men—and women—of all ages and places in life. It's definitely something you should take seriously and deal with definitively.
It would appear this is new behavior for him and related to the birth of your baby. Often during late pregnancy and early postpartum months a husband feels sexually and emotionally abandoned. If you two never talked about that sexual change during and after your pregnancy, he may have been looking desperately for some affirmation and companionship. Unfortunately, cybersex offers to meet those needs at the click of a finger—no demands, just self gratification. Wives and toddlers require much more time and energy.
However, we also wonder if this really is a new behavior. Many people struggle from adolescence on with sexual temptation, more frequently with online pornography. So there may be deeper roots for this problem. This is something you'll need to lovingly confront. Books such as Affairs of the Mind, The Porn Trap, The False Intimacy Syndrome, and Every Man's Battle are good resources for you both to study and discuss. You can also point him to these powerful websites to help: www.pureintimacy.org (this is also a good site for you as well), www.xxxchurch.com.
He needs to get into some sort of accountability situation. He can check out these websites to keep him accountable: www.netaccountability.com or www.covenanteyes.com. But he really needs to meet with godly men who will ask him weekly how things are going.
Don't see this as the end of your love affair. Spend some time praying about your relationship, then honestly but graciously talk to him. Affirm your love for him and your concern about his behavior—how that makes you feel and how destructive that can be to your marriage. Encourage him to get into an accountability group. Find some godly women who will encourage you and pray with you for your husband and your marriage. Then go to your Internet service and set the "content advisor" so he can't go to porn sites, or subscribe to a filtering service—or even disconnect your net access altogether.
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