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INTERNET INFIDELITY QCA 01November 2014.  pornography is a generic word  has existed from the ‘dawn of time’  not all pornography has a negative.

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Presentation on theme: "INTERNET INFIDELITY QCA 01November 2014.  pornography is a generic word  has existed from the ‘dawn of time’  not all pornography has a negative."— Presentation transcript:



3  pornography is a generic word  has existed from the ‘dawn of time’  not all pornography has a negative impact  social networking sites not pornographic: yet they contribute to Internet Infidelity  issue of pornography is another debate  Internet Infidelity poses a serious challenge to couples and counsellors in the 21 st c

4  What is infidelity?  What is internet (virtual) infidelity (InI)  The attraction of InI  InI and Cybersex  Antecedents of InI  Impact of InI on intimate relationships  Therapeutic strategies  Gender Issues  Issues for self of Therapist

5  conjugal disloyalty: not keeping faith in an intimate relationship  an ‘affair’ – emotional and/or sexual relationship with a third party  a real life drama relatively easy to identify  comes to a head: it is time limited  poses a real threat to the relationship  a greater degree of consensus among couples

6  a relatively new phenomenon related to the abuse misuse of technology  it is multifaceted and more complex  not primarily about pornography  poses an immense challenge to couples and therapists  potential to become compulsive  insidious, slow erosion of trust over time  elicits surveillance and counter surveillance behaviours  in the realm of fantasy and activated in cyberspace: not perceived as threatening?

7  more acceptable  more accessible -‘internet in your pocket’  more anonymous - secretive, less inhibition  more affordable  more ambiguous – difficulty in defining  more approximation – to ‘affairs’ with less risk and harm minimization  more accommodation- presentation of self [‘7 As’ – Hertleim, 2011]



10  compulsive, ‘addictive’ behaviour  excessive, out of control, obsessive, ego dystonic, health hazard  more pervasive and all consuming  different etiology  accompanied by spiraling negative cycle of depression  accompanied by sexual arousal and masturbation  leads to labeling of offender – sick, pervert, addict, victim

11  entertainment, recreation for Internet ‘surfers’  attraction of risk taking, experimentation  compensation for poor communication, lack of conflict resolution skills in primary relationship  split between boring, routine couple sex and risqué, adventuresome virtual sex  internet intimacy – instant, intensive, less demanding  challenge of intimacy vs isolation  escape – anxiety, stress  sexual exploration  sexual dysfunctions  aging and/or medical factors

12  secrecy and surveillance behaviours  investment of time and energy  altered levels of partner intimacy and sex  impact on life style and routine  spiraling emotional disconnection  breakdown in boundaries  challenge to implicit netiquette  betrayal and breakdown of trust  critical self comparisons  threat to exclusivity

13  altered sleep patterns  compulsion to log on; to respond  demand for added privacy  secretive and deceitful use of internet, cell phone etc  avoiding customary family responsibilities  envious of others who are logging on  unsuccessful attempts to cut down; broken promises  pre-occupation; obsessive thinking  change in content and costs in cell phone bills  the content in browser history  sudden change in individual’s behaviour towards partner

14 A multifaceted approach that focuses on:  stopping the offending behaviour  exploring underlying dyadic mechanisms  investigating individual vulnerabilities  restoring emotional and erotic intimacy


16  perceived reality and perspective – ‘how they construct their problem’  attention to layered subtitles, subplots- “what led to …., gave rise to …”  online netiquette  definition of online infidelity  extent of internet use  gender differences  expected outcome of therapy

17  reduce access – contracting  filters, passwords  modems -‘keeper of the computer’ ?  surveillance urges  eschew pathologizing  deter emotive reactivity

18  provide a safe space for collaboration and healing  stabilize the relationship  support for impacted partner – validation  what led individual to ‘step outside the relationship’  co-construct a definition of fidelity  assess levels of differentiation  anxiety management  boundaries, triangulation  sexual differences  prior infidelities  trans-generational issues  potential for positive use of internet

19  personal responsibility without flagellation  triggers and skills to manage  managing sexual urges and arousal  cognitive restructuring  acknowledge ambivalence  managing feelings of loss  addressing the ‘sexual split’  response to partner’s feelings  relapse prevention  integrity and apologies  ongoing issues – social isolation, fear of real intimacy, sexual compulsions

20  varying computer skills and frequency of use  different motivation  different attitudes and perceptions  occupational vulnerability  variance in expectations of mental exclusivity  peer influence

21  lack of adequate training  personal experience and exposure  understanding of infidelity  how he/she conceptualizes the clients’ problem  gender issues  diverse assessment of risk factors  focus on ‘content’ not ‘process’


23 THANK YOU Karol Misso

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