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Internet Infidelity

A blogosphere globe of keyboard keys
Examining the impact of the internet on relationships
July 2015 - July 2019

The increasingly ubiquitous use of the internet and social media is having a transformative effect on how we are ‘do’ relationships which is creating new opportunities and new challenges. One such challenge is how couples negotiate and manage couple boundaries around these technologies. This work stream with Dr. Andreas Vossler (Psychology, Open University) and Dr Naomi Moller (Psychology, Open University) builds on prior published research on infidelity and couple counselling with infidelity.

Currently the project is analysing an online qualiative survey conducted with members of the general public, with a particular focus on exploring the similarities as well as differences with face-to-face infidelity. In future the project seeks to engage academics and practitioners concerned with Internet infidelity in a two-way dialogue and exchange of knowledge and experiences. The project ('Internet infidelity: creating partnerships') is funded by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account scheme (£7,500). It will be designed and delivered in partnership with Dr Bernie Hogan of the Oxford Internet Institute and the Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships (TCCR), a leading centre of excellence for relationship counselling and couple psychotherapy in the UK. It will also draw on the work and expertise of the Oxford Internet Institute who have previously worked with eHarmony on major (n=23,000) cross-national surveys of couples, internet use and relationship satisfaction.

The main objectives with this project are to:

  • Inform and improve therapeutic work with Internet infidelity by developing and providing a training workshop for couple counsellors and psychotherapists;

  • Provide both practitioners and the public with research-based information on Internet infidelity and ways to cope with it through an Internet infidelity online portal;

  • Develop a collaborative research proposal on Internet infidelity, informed by practitioner experiences and stake-holder feedback.


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Learn more about the research programme: Intimate Relationships