Stupidity undermining marriage

The growing trend for people to meet over the internet is having a profound effect on Australian marriages, with cyber romances playing a role in thousands of break-ups.

How many “the internet is destroying the moral fabric of society” stories along exactly the same lines have we seen in the last few years? But how is it the internet’s fault that people are self-centred losers?

The article quotes some interesting figures, at least. Psychology lecturers Elizabeth Hardie and Simone Buzwell at Swinburne University of Technology estimate about half of people in online dating sites are already in relationships and looking for some on-the-side action. This pretty much tallies with my experiences in the vast online dating conspiracy.

But is this research not stating the bleeding obvious?

Given the number of single people who meet online these days, it would seem fairly obvious that plenty of non-single people would meet the same way. I’m afraid I don’t see how cheaters meeting online is in any way noteworthy, unless the numbers are seriously disproportionate . . . and they’re not.

Spouses generally strayed online when intimacy and communication broke down in their off-line relationships.

Really, Captain Obvious? Isn’t that the point? Spouses generally stray when intimacy and communication breaks down in their real-life relationships. Is this article and the “research” behind it really suggesting that these people wouldn’t have found other ways to cheat on their partners if not for the internet? You know, down the pub or with their friend’s partner or someone cute at work or a sex worker, like it’s been done for thousands of years. Or is the worst you can say of the internet that it provides a new avenue for unhappily marrieds to find self-gratification through a fantasy relationship with someone who doesn’t fart or leave hairs in the sink?

While many were content to restrict the relationship to cybersex, one-third had met their partners in the flesh and about 15 per cent had had sex.

So there’s an awful lot of “what are you wearing?” going on. Which is fine, because it means the fantasy never has to contend with harsh reality, while the real-life partner becomes increasingly unattractive and burdensome by comparison.

And with all the sociologists and psychologists and other supposedly clever people quoted in the article, it took a lawyer to say something sensible. Ian Kennedy, chairman of the family law section of the Law Council of Australia, reckons “couples who met online could soon find themselves getting divorced”. When it turns out not only does internet lover fart and leave hairs in the sink but also told a couple of wee untruths about having kids and that glass eye and how they only get turned on by poo. In other words, no shit, Sherlock.

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