Recent British research suggests that many people who have experienced infidelity think that the internet, social media and digital technologies, all make infidelity more likely. Now a new website has been launched which offers the public research-informed advice as well as signposting help for anyone concerned that their relationship may be at risk due to online affairs.
Online Affairs, Information for people in relationships, features explanations on key topics for concerned browsers such as, ‘What is online infidelity exactly?’, ‘How do I recognise the signs?’ and ‘Where can I get support?’
The website is the result of a collaboration between researchers from the Open University, Oxford University’s Internet Institute and five UK couple counselling organizations: Tavistock Relationships, Relate, One Plus One, Asian Family Counselling and Marriage Care.
Dr Vossler, of the OU explains why the ESRC-funded website was created: “There is a lack of up-to-date, research-based information online – information that is from credible sources and which is not couched in emotional terms or which does not condemn those who engage in Internet infidelity.”
Dr David Hewison, Head of Research and Ethics at Tavistock Relationships said: “We know that the rapid changes in digital communications technologies are having an impact on relationships – sometimes in a good way and other times in a way that is more difficult for couples. One particular issue is couples being uncertain about the limits of ‘faithfulness’ when interacting with others online via mobile phone or laptop and it is because of this that we decided to take part in this project”
As well as providing information and support for the public, the new website also provides resources for professionals such as counsellors and psychotherapists on how to work with online affairs.