by Howard Melamed
|Coral Springs 03/23/03
Chartrooms are places that someone who has an internet access account, such as MSN or AOL, can join to exchange ideas with someone of similar interests. This is all done live. This live chatting is becoming a hazard to marriages as more and more people are communicating with people in the chat room and not communication with spouses.
Perhaps you know of someone that has gone through the following scenario: They bought a computer, and started to learn how to use it. They got a AOL or MSN account and started to learn how to navigate through the internet. Then they find a chat room. At first the chat room is very intimidating to them. Some of the chat rooms are about simple things in life, like the Puppy Chat, or the People that Like Plants chat room. Then there are the other adult rooms, Swinger rooms, women to women, men to men, or of course the increasing popular men and women. It starts off innocent enough. They pick an Alias, or nickname so that people don’t know them by their real name. Then they start…the first conversation they are reluctant to really say anything. After all, who are these people on the other end of the computer connection. They really don’t know each other. But after a few chat sessions, everyone starts to get involved and the guts start spilling. Some of it real, others just fabrications as if all this were just a game. Role playing, being someone they really aren’t. Then they make a few friends and they now have a focus group of people that you are continuously chatting with.. At first it is once every other day. Then , like a bad drug habit, you they are on morning, noon and night time. There kids call to themfor supper or to play with them but no, they have to continue your non-verbal conversation with these people they really know nothing about. It becomes a sickness. Their spouse calls to them, ‘Come to Bed!’. They answer ” It’s ok honey….I’m on the computer”. Big Mistake. A few months later, they could be subject to end up with broken marriage as they are more interested in someone they never met compared to someone they know a long time. Consider the following experience that I know of personally:
Coral Springs Family with 1 kid under 10. 2 kids over 20. Married 25 years.
Husband is a great father. Wife is a great mother. Both active in the school PTA at Taravella high school, but the husband is struggling to earn enough money to afford the rent payment. Wife works as well and between them both they earn just enough to keep their heads out of water. The wife decides to get a computer to further themselves in the workplace, after all, if you know how to use a computer , the likelihood of getting a better job with more money is good. She gets an America Online account (AOL) and starts to become familiar with the workings of AOL. They move the computer into the bedroom, after all, the spouse is spending time on it….a lot of time. Then comes the AOL chat rooms. Very organized, some of them adult oriented. Some are also for meeting other single people.
She starts to ‘Chat’ it up with some other people in one of the adult chat rooms. The conversation intensifies, and she becomes more and more interested, and interesting to the people in the chat room. They exchange at first there personal thoughts about life, and then it gets more . They actually start talking about sex online, which becomes very sensual to the her perhaps the fact that it is unknown, and no contact makes it more exciting. No one so far has sent any pictures to each other nor has anyone made the move to actually call each other and talk on the telephone. She is in her 50’s and the chat room ‘Friend’ is 26.
As the financial pressures intensify, the conversation between her and the Friend also intensifies. It is now 4 months into the online relationship. Pictures are now being forwarded to each other. The Friend becomes more interesting than the married partner, since the friend truly is understanding of what is going on in the spouse’s mind. Intellectual Sex is developing. Meanwhile the other partner is moving farther and farther away from the relationship since the spouse is spending more and more time on the computer talking with the Friend.
Finally the Husband comes home to their apartment, and there as he opens the door and says his usual ‘Hi Honey I’m home, is the 26 year old kid standing beside his wife. His wife says, this is my new friends and I want a divorce. The husband goes a little bezerk and takes his anger out on the computer that he purchased for his wife so that they can get ahead financially. He takes the computer and slams it down to the ground and breaks it. The wife goes ape shit and jumps on him and scratches his arms and back. She then call she police and promptly has him and their older son,who happens to be walking in the house at the same time to witness these events is also arrested. It is Friday and both father and son are in Jail all weekend. They are bailed out by a friend and a few months later , after the divorce, the case is brought before the court where it is thrown out, with the possibility of perjury charges being brought up against the wife. Now, the husband is overseas and rarely sees his now 10 year old son. The wife has since been dumped by the 26 year old in search for more younger flesh., The family rarely gets together and both parents are miserable. However, the chat room is still there.
I know of several other cases as well. It is becoming to common. I think it takes place for a number of reasons. It is easier to talk to someone in a chat room than your own spouse. The Chat room friend is not face to face, nor is there any stake in it for either party.. There is a certain excitement of communicating with someone that you don’t know that is listening to what you say.
What to do about it? When your spouse gets more involved with the computer and chat rooms, counter with more martial activities. Go out a lot more. Start paying more attention to your spouse and ask their opinion more often.
Not everyone on a Chat room is cheating on their spouse. But, if communication is rare between you and your spouse and you are being ignored due to the time spent on the computer appliance, I would start to get concerned.
Finally, if you become one of those chat room divorces, don’t say I didn’t warn you. The disgusting thing about the chat room divorce is that you are loosing you spouse to your spouse really doesn’t know.