Perceptions of the impact of online romantic relationships on committed face to face relationships
This study explored student perceptions of the impact of online relationships on committed face to face relationships. Participants in this study were 166 students from a large Midwestern university. Participants completed a 30-item survey in which they rated four scenarios on the level of impact, sexual betrayal, and emotional betrayal they perceived in each situation. Results of the study indicated that women perceived the four scenarios to be more harmful to the committed relationship and involve greater degrees of emotional and sexual betrayal than men. In addition, those scenarios which involved active forms of online sexual activities were perceived as more harmful to the face to face relationship than those which involved passive forms of online sexual activities. Finally, individuals who reported having prior experience with online sexual activities, rated the scenarios as less harmful to the committed relationship than individuals who did not report prior experience. This research provides empirical evidence that online sexual relationships are perceived by students as harmful to committed face to face relationships.