Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Internet Addiction and Mid-life Women
In my experience as a writer, researcher and coach for Women in Mid-life Crisis and Depression the number one escape used to be your typical offenders...alcohol, drugs, shopping and more than likely the "affair"...all are addictions or the drug of choice. BUT...the newest drug of choice which is used to feed the other drug..."The Affair"...is now the Internet. Women have given themselves permission to use the Internet as a tool to have what they believe as innocent dalliances with men. It has grown to the point that some married women are even creating pornographic web cam sites that they live out their sexual fantasies from a distance...they excuse it as not being an affair because it is "physical"...they aren't harming anyone...they don't even know these men who watch them. They convince themselves that it is innocent!
Tell this to the husband's at the Women in MLC forum, who have recently joined telling us that their wife was rolling on the floor in a 2-year tirade because he had turned off the Internet access...or the man who's wife was recently asked to resign from an administrative level job because she was caught after hours holding a pornographic peep show on the company owned computer in her office.
This IS Internet addiction...just like Internet pornography addiction for a man...women are not looking at the pornography...they are participating in it!
It is the same thing but now women are finding their own way of doing it and it is coming out through Internet dating and singles sites. I have never checked out Second Life...but many women who are caught in an MLC find their way to Match, eHarmony or Ashley Madison and other web sites that are popping up on the Internet specifically geared for women who are married and want to have an affair. Even SKYPE is filled with women married and single who are sharing their wares or sexual fantasies with men around the world and there is a ton of men out there that are looking for exactly this type of supposed "innocent" dalliance.
The key to all of this is the perception that Internet sexual activity is "innocent"...it means nothing. This is why is it is so important to understand that the emotional affair is just as harmful as the physical affair. An emotional affair is just as destructive...it eats away at the fabric of what is right and good in a marriage. This is why even in the Bible it says that to even lust in one's mind is a form of adultery. If a person will emotionally commit adultery the chances that they will give themselves permission to commit physical adultery grows larger...they become numb to the consequence of their actions.
Internet activity needs to have its' perimeters. A woman MUST be very careful about who she is associating and talking with...there are Internet predators on-line that are looking for desperate, lonely women, who have low self-esteems...ready and willing and able to RISK everything and anything for just the thrill of a few moments of internet sexual thrills.
Internet addiction with women can start as simply as creating a Facebook or My Space profile...even going to some of the women's based social networks or magazines that are popping up on-line all the time that allow men to also join. A woman MUST be diligent in who she befriends on the internet. There are also many applications that can be added to their profiles which non-verbally opens her up to be hit on by men who really don't care that her profile says that she is married or not. Many women who are married, but looking to get a self-esteem massage, will not indicate their relationship status or they just say they want to make friends and network.
Checking your wife's internet activity is one of the FIRST a things a husband should do. Be thorough with your checking...not just the history of her activity...go to her profiles and see who she is befriending...go to the friend's profile and see what type of a person they are and who they are also talking with on a day to day basis. If the friend’s list is filled with good-looking women…this man is creating a stable…it is the first tip off that his Facebook or Social Network is NOT for business…it is for his viewing and hitting on pleasure.
The following is a list of internet sites that you should be looking for:
There could be more...but this is the list I pulled from one search off of Google. Please know that any Social Network is a venue for your wife to search for an on-line affair. You just never know who is lurking there.
Please join us at Women in MLC a Forum for women who are struggling with transitioning through mid-life and found themselves in crisis are more than welcome, aalong with the husband's who are have found themselves cauught up in the storm of their wive's MLC...Please join us today!
Additional Information on this topic:
Since publishing this article, I have had several people make me aware of another web site that is very addictive with sexual overtones that can be used by women who want to play with the idea of an Emotional Affair over the internet. The web site is called SecondLife, a 3-D Virtual World. I will admit that I only went to the main page and did not download the game to look at it personally....but I have it by good authority from a husband whose wife became addicted to this site and met several men, who she then had emotional afairs with. Please add this to the above list.
I am not proposing that only women fall prey to Internet Addiction..in fact until recently the statistics for women becoming addicted to internet activity was extremely low. It has only been in the past three years that Experts, such Michael Shelby(www.shallbe.com) and Dr. David Greenfield (www.virtual-addiction.com) have found that women are increasingly becoming addicted to the internet...to almost the same levels as men.
In fact, Internet Addiction does not discriminate. the afore mentioned experts are seeing all ages, gender, race, class, religion...you name it coming through their doors asking for help to loosen the grip or tackle this addiction. It is even being looked at by the AMA as a classified addiction that needs to be treated and can be detrimental to the health and well-being of the person who is addicted.(i.e. which will mean helath insurance companies will recognize it as an official addiction and cover rehabilitation and treatment)
So, this topic is not light one. Internet Addictions can not be blown off anymore to just a man looking at porn on his computer. Internet addiction is breaking up marriages, families and homes. It is not just a man's problem anymore...the women have found a way to use the internet in such a way that it is addictive and feeding a need that they are lacking in...it is not harmless or innocent in any way shape or form.
Many women are in denial not only about their MLC...but also about their vulnerabilty to internet addiction...these very same women have lectured their children about the fantasyland time on the internet and cautioned them against internet predators, all the while not realizing that they are suusceptible to the very same dangers.
So, what can we do about it? Be aware! Don't be in denial about it! Know that internet addiction doesn't discriminate. My main point is: Women in Mid-Life Crisis are even more susceptible to Internet addiction because it is fantasy; it can be anonymous; it feeds a need or fills a hole that is lacking; it provides what they believe is innocent, permissable thrills and adventure..ESCAPE from there real world....and on top of it all there are predators out there that are so willing and able to accommodate it!
If you are interested in this topic, please tune in Thursday night, April 23rd at 8:00 PM EST to H Les Brown's Blog Talk Radio Show - Midlife Mastery, where Les, Michael Shelby and I will discuss Virtual/Internet Addiction and Women at Mid-life.