New Trends in Psychology, Vol 2, No 1 (2020)

Justifications of Internet Infidelity in Romanian Women with Extra-Dyadic Affairs: A Qualitative Study Proposal

Diana Roman (Filimon)


The rapid development of Internet and social networking services in the last decade have augmented the possibilities to engage in activities online that can be classified as infidelity, and introduced new challenges into the practice of couple and sex therapists. Thus, the rise in popularity of the Internet has led to an ever-increasing number of spouses meeting others, outside of their marriage Many of these relationships start off innocently and end after a short period of time. However, an alarming number develop into emotional and/or physical extramarital affairs (Glass, 2000). This phenomenon is referred to as Internet infidelity. We define Internet infidelity as using the Internet to take sexual energy of any sort–thoughts, feelings, and behaviors–outside of a committed sexual relationship in such a way that it damages the relationship. It is further exacerbated when one spouse pretends that this drain of energy will affect neither their partner nor the relationship, as long as it remains undiscovered. Although lustful thoughts and feelings outside of a marriage are not inherently harmful or wrong, acting on these feelings and/or hiding them devitalizes the relationship, compromises integrity, and co-opts the other partner’s choices (Shaw, 1997). Due to the higher statistics of male Internet infidelity, the focus of previous studies has been on investigating the justifications for Internet infidelity in this gender group. On the other hand, since Internet marital infidelity is a complex issue (Maheu & Subotnik, 2001), a multifaceted phenomenon that includes both an emotional, a sexual (Abdi et al., 2012, Henline, Howard & Lamke, 2007) and a communicative component (Tafoya & Spitzberg, 2007), it really affects every country’s culture, people, and even families. To this end, this study aims at analyzing the justifications behind Internet infidelity in women with extra-marital relationships in the form of a qualitative study. This study is conducted through a qualitative research approach and by using the content analysis method. Participants include women referred to the counseling centers in the city of Galaţi. Purposive sampling will be used and continued until data saturation. Semi-structured interviews will be employed as the primary method of data collection. The data will be analyzed via qualitative content analysis and constant comparative analysis methods. After the examination and division of the basic concepts, a certain number of initial codes will be extracted from interviews. The categories will be created based on the codes following several reviews and summarizations on the basis of similarities. By the nature, these conceptual and abstract themes will be named in several categories. According to the literature review, these ones can vary from intrapersonal factors, marital conflicts, and sexual justifications, to anonymity, access, convenience, affordability, escape reasons (Young & Cooper, 2007). An important focus in this study will be on the factors affecting female Internet infidelity and its dimensions. These factors may also include intrapersonal factors, marital conflicts, sexual or communicative justifications. Our findings can help psychologists, family counselors, and planners in the field of the social sciences identify the efficient scopes and purposes.


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