Physical or not, cheating affects relationships greatly and irrevocably.
People seem to think they can hide behind the fact that online cheating is done behind a screen—they can’t.
Cheaters’ immaturity causes their partners’ lives to change greatly, and not for the better.
If you too are wondering just how online cheating affects a relationship, then be prepared for the bitter truth.
– Just what is online infidelity?
Online infidelity or “cyber-affair” is any form of cheating done via a digital platform:
- Sexting with other people;
- Usage of dating apps;
- Online flirting;
- Sexual topics;
- Exchanging nudes, and other inappropriate online behavior.
They’re usually carried out through social media platforms, emails, texts, calls, and dating sites.
There have been a lot of hot takes regarding the severity and credibility of online infidelity; people are torn between it being and not being serious.
Regardless, it’s up to people to decide whether online infidelity is infidelity in their relationships!
Without further delay, let’s look at the power online cheating holds and how it affects couples!
1. It makes the one who got cheated lose all trust—and rightfully so.
This goes without saying: cheating—online or not—will cause all trust to be lost in relationships.
It’s going to be extremely difficult to regain that trust in the long run, and in some cases, it can never be won back.
Trust is one of the main pillars of a relationship—something that when broken, causes the connection to collapse.
A cheater can’t expect any sort of trust from their partner as they’ve betrayed it greatly; the partner will question and doubt everything.
2. For a lot of people, getting cheated on is a traumatic experience.
Cheating can make a person develop trauma.
Trauma results from exposure to emotionally-disturbing events, and cheating can apply too.
According to science, infidelity can be traumatic and it can cause many negative emotions; symptoms of PTSD are present—such as:
- Poor emotional regulation or management,
- Trust issues with people in general,
- Intrusive thoughts,
- A sense of ‘no repair’ for oneself,
- Confusion, and more.
It worsens a person’s well-being and it might even create obstacles in their day-to-day life.
This is the sad truth for many people who have had their trust betrayed by their significant other; they form trauma that can have long-lasting effects.
3. Paranoia will not cease to be present in the relationship.
One thing’s for certain: the one who got cheated on will always fear it happening again.
They’re going to feel paranoid in current or even future relationships.
If, say, we catch our partner cheating, there’s a pretty high chance that we’ll be on the lookout for it happening again.
This paranoia will make us act a certain way and always keep tabs on our cheating partner—just to be safe.
In this case, we’re going to be in a constant state of fear and anxiety, which, as you guessed, will lead to an unhealthy connection.
4. Online infidelity creates an emotional distance inside the relationship.
Cheating is a serious issue, and as such, it affects a person’s behavior toward their cheating partner.
The one who got cheated on is going to create an emotional space between them and their significant other—it’s sort of a defense mechanism.
A line that shouldn’t be crossed for many reasons has been crossed; people need time to heal, and that space will (or won’t) aid the process.
The disrespect and pain they felt have automatically made them distance themselves from the cheater.
5. There will also be a decrease in intimacy.
More often than not, when infidelity is discovered in a relationship, its intimate life will get a pretty big blow.
And that’s justified, of course.
The partner who got cheated on will not feel right being intimate until (and if) they heal and rebuild trust with their partner.
As I mentioned, the pain they feel is not a trivial matter and it even goes as far as to worsen their mental health.
Healing takes time; keep in mind that people change their approach once they’re not treated with care and respect.
6. Online infidelity lowers a person’s self-esteem.
Online infidelity—or any type of infidelity, really—harms the cheatee’s self-esteem, making them doubt their worth.
It’s quite common, actually: the partner who got cheated on will start blaming themselves and losing all self-confidence.
“What does the other person have that I don’t?”
Thoughts along the lines of this will often pop up inside our heads, impacting our self-love.
We will compare ourselves to other people, while never being truly happy about our relationship and who we’ve become.
And if you’re dealing with a similar situation, please keep in mind that your partner’s cheating is their fault.
It isn’t a reflection of your worth in any way, shape, or form.
7. Expect resentment to be part of the relationship.
When getting cheated on, people will feel resentful towards the cheater—whether they show it or not.
And that resentment is going to define their actions as well as the future of the relationship.
A lot of people form grudges and hatred towards people who have wronged them, and though such grudges are unhealthy, you can’t blame them.
They’re going to feel irritated by everything their partner does, and they might even seek revenge—that, or they’re going to gradually hate their partner.
Unfairly-treated people harboring such feelings is not unheard of, after all, they do have a good reason.
8. Revenge cheating isn’t that uncommon.
“Revenge cheating” is the cheatee’s response by cheating right back—not the best way to go about things, but it happens.
ChoosingTherapy’s take on revenge cheating shows that one-in-three people admitted revenge cheating on their partner (and around 80% thought their actions were justified).
People get cheated on, and in an attempt to inflict the same pain they felt, they cheat back—simple as that.
The cheater in this situation has to be prepared for this, and in hindsight, they have no right to judge.
9. The cheating is never truly forgotten—it will be brought up.
And that’s because something like this cannot be forgotten; some cheaters think that once they’re confronted, the whole thing will be over.
Expect the topic to be brought up often as it’s going to be the reason for many arguments yet to happen.
We need to be patient and understanding in this aspect; taking accountability is very important to save the relationship—if it can be saved.
But yes, some cheaters have the selfish desire to completely move on from something wrong they did, not knowing that’s nearly impossible.
10. The cheatee could—and probably will—develop trust issues.
No matter how trivial an online cheater thinks their actions are (texting another person, for example), such events change a person’s character
The partner who got cheated on will not only lose trust in their s.o., but they will also develop trust issues.
They’ll have a hard time trusting people they get involved with, and as a result, they could even turn away from love.
They will distrust their partner’s feelings, intentions as well as routine; they’ve been given a reason to do so.
The cheatee will have a hard time trusting a partner, which could eventually lead to a breakup—or at the very least, a toxic relationship.
11. Feelings could be potentially lost.
One of the biggest changes that online cheating brings is, I would say, the loss of feelings.
It’s 100% possible for the cheatee to lose feelings for the person who cheated on them—it’s usually the case.
Though, most of the time, it’s a process that gradually takes place rather than an instantaneous occurrence.
Most people don’t take kindly to this type of disrespect, and with time, they eventually stop loving their cheating partner.
They’re able to move on and realize they deserve someone who would never hurt them this way.
12. The relationship will constantly have an air of negativity.
From the very moment online cheaters get caught cheating, the negative emotions are difficult to get rid of.
As I mentioned earlier, the topic will be brought up often, and the partner who got cheated on will feel resentful.
They might change their attitude towards the cheater and pull away from them.
Even after time passes, there is no guarantee that things between two people might improve.
The awkwardness, guilt, and pain will stick around until the relationship/marriage is either completely fixed or ended.
13. Be prepared for a lot of new, strict boundaries.
This is usually the case with couples who are trying to fix their relationship after cheating took place.
To regain trust, new boundaries will be established—boundaries that need to be respected.
- Access to each other’s electronics;
- A curfew;
- Certain restrictions;
- Cutting certain people out of one’s life;
- Changes in the relationship/marriage, and more, are common boundaries set to mend the connection.
They may sound too excessive, however, trust is one of those things that people have a hard time restoring in a relationship.
And doing so will require effort from both people.
14. Communication in the relationship will also change.
The communication factor will change in a relationship where cheating occurs.
With time, it will decrease until at one point, it will no longer be efficient enough to uphold the relationship.
There will be tons of arguments and no room for affection; the will to talk things out will potentially disappear.
The cheater and the cheatee will communicate their thoughts/feelings less and less, eventually changing the relationship.
As we all know, communication is key—without it, any connection is bound to fail.
15. The most severe way online infidelity can affect a relationship: worsening the other person’s health.
I believe that the worst cheating can affect a relationship is by harming the people involved in it.
And unfortunately, most people who get hurt this way end up suffering in one way or another.
They could experience:
- Constant mood swings, and more changes in mental and physical health.
Online infidelity has a big impact on a person’s overall well-being and life, making them feel negatively.
This of course affects the relationship, to the point where:
16. It causes the relationship to end.
And of course, cheating causes two people to end their relationship or marriage.
Not a lot of people are willing to give their all for people who have hurt and disrespected them to a certain extent.
So a relationship can end as soon as cheating is discovered, but that’s not all.
Even after a while, even after everything is seemingly okay, the partner who got hurt could decide that breaking up is for the best.
They know they can no longer strain themselves, and that a relationship isn’t supposed to cause a great deal of pain.
Letting go, in this situation, is certainly easier than holding on.
Learning to trust again after online cheating — Is it even possible?
Finding out that your partner has been cheating on you is devastating—where does one even go from here?
Even so, not every person wants to end things on the spot; some people are willing to make things work!
And if that’s your goal, know that it’s possible. If both you and your partner try, that is.
What to do to trust after online cheating: 5 helpful tips and methods that help during tough times.
– First and foremost, understand that it’s not your fault.
Before we proceed, the first step to healing is realizing that a partner’s cheating is never your fault.
It’s directly a sign of their insecurity, immaturity, and lack of respect.
Their affair partner doesn’t have anything more than you, nor is there anything you could’ve done to prevent it.
Stop beating yourself and your self-esteem up over it—this series of events does not define your worth.
Keep reminding yourself that you are not responsible for another person’s wrongdoing that they did knowingly.
– Don’t leave yourself behind.
Never stop loving and caring for yourself—the first step to healing is forgiving oneself.
Don’t neglect your well-being and overall life:
- Get back on track with school/work,
- Practice self-care by seeing a therapist, relying on your support system, getting back to activities you love, etc,
- Try not to lose the connection with people in your life,
- Look into what contributes to your emotional stability, and do that.
Learn to enjoy and appreciate yourself during this time of need—don’t neglect your own needs.
Get your life back on track and show the cheating partner that you refuse to give up on yourself.
– Allow communication to be an important part of your relationship.
They don’t say that communication is key for nothing.
Keeping the communication up and running is one of the most important things during this time—if not, the most important thing.
Don’t treat what happened as a hush topic; talk and try to fix what happened instead of allowing the cheating partner to run away.
Communicate your thoughts and feelings as well as what course your relationship is taking.
The partner needs to play a big role in this aspect; they need to give reassurance and constant effort.
If you want to increase the chances of rebuilding trust, though, communication is the way to go.
– Set the necessary boundaries.
Establish new boundaries—if your partner truly wants to save the marriage or relationship, they should respect them.
It’s usually hard for couples to go back once online infidelity took place, but a new set of boundaries could help.
It can be anything that gives you peace of mind, such as a routine of exchanging devices, or new, appropriate behavior regarding other people.
Show that what your partner did is serious and is being treated as such; if your cheating partner cares, they will not cross said boundaries.
– Couples Therapy could help save your relationship!
And, of course, consider trying out couples therapy.
It has amazing success rates, and it might just help save your relationship.
Contact a reliable therapist, and discuss your past and goals with them; show up regularly and assess whether it’s working for you, or not.
And, again, if your partner is set on making your relationship work, they won’t protest against the idea.
The chokehold online cheating has on relationships.
As we could tell, the power infidelity has over relationships isn’t a small one—its effects are long-term.
Most of the time, two people are never able to recover from this, and in all honesty, I get where they’re coming from.
Once trust is broken, it can’t be simply “glued” back, and any attempt to do so needs to come from the heart.
Otherwise, fixing things will be futile.