The Realness of Cybercheating


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Does John Gray's explanation ot the differences between men and women help us to understand the different perspectives on cheating that are presented in Monica Whitty's text? Why might one individual perceive their behavior as innocent while at the same time their partner perceives it as infidelity?

Cyberspace has become a common social environment where people interact in many ways and also can develop online relationships by chatting. The Internet now offers many oppurtunities to meet people online. Nevertheless, spending too much time in online communities leads to break-ups of people's offline relationships. Cybercheating may and has caused bad consequences in relationships. There has always been a corcern about cheating with in relationships. However, the risk seems to have increase with the advances of new technologies, like Internet. Monica T. Whitty, lecturer in Psychology in Queen's University, in her text published in 2005 ‘‘ The Realness of Cybercheating: men's and women's representations of unfaithful Internet relationships'' explains gender's different understanding of Internet infidelity in online relationships and explains the effects of cybercheating in offline relationships. Whitty compares and contrasts different perceptions of men and women about online cheating with an experiment. In the experiment, Whitty gives cues to college students to write stories according to 2 scenarios and then collectes them and analyzes the context of the stories. Students write stories in which either woman (Jenny) or man (Mark) is the betrayer in a net relationship. The result of the experiment tells that both men and women do not react similarly to cybercheating. Whitty explains infidelity in online relationships by comparing it with gender differences but she does not tell why men and women have different perspectives on cheating. To understand the different perspectives on cheating because of gender differences, John Gray's book can help us. John Gray, an American lecturer, in his book published in 1992 ‘‘ Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus'' discusses the gender differences and the different motivations and needs of gender. There are 3 views from John Gray's book that help us to understand Monica Whitty's text: first of all, Gray's explanation about two biggest mistakes of men and women that can cause dispute. Secondly, Gray's discussion of how men and women cope with stress differently. Thirdly, Gray talks about how men and women give the kind of love they need and not what the opposite sex needs.

According to John Gray, the two biggest mistakes men and women make in relating to the opposite sex: men mistakenly offer solutions and invalidate feelings while women offer unsolicited advice and direction. (p.9) In Monica Whitty's text, when a man's online relationship appears, he invalites his offline partner's feeling and begins to defend himself. For example, in a female writer' s story in which Mark is the perpetrator and Jenny is the aggrieved, Mark says: ‘‘ She should not take it so seriously and worry about it because it was not a real relationship but a net relationship.'' (Whitty, 2005 , p.61) In this conversation, man offers solution without caring his partner's feelings. Any kinds of cheating in a relationship is simply not acceptable either offline cheating or online cheating and every cheating is a serious and cause problems in relationships. In Monica Whitty's text, in a male writer' s story, Mark who is perpetrator gives solution that Jenny should not bother because Mark is not bonking her they are ‘‘ just friends'' .

According to Gray' s book, men and women cope with stress differently. While men tend to withdraw and silently think about what's bothering them, women feel an instintive need to talk about what's bothering them. (p.9) In Monica Whitty's text, female participant talked about their feelings in more detailed. In stories which are written by females, you will find the description of emotions of the person who is betrayed and long dialogue sentences. For example, a story which was written by a female in which Mark is aggrieved, a female writer descripes man's feelings in more detailed: ‘‘ Mark is shocked, upset and hurt.'' ‘‘ Mark' s hurt quickly turns to anger. He becomes defensive to cover his hurt. He does not understand why he feels this way.'' (Whitty, 2005, p.64) On the other hand, a story which was written by a man, there is no long dialogue sentences in contrast he uses simple and short dialogue sentences. He expresses the aggrieved's feelings simply without any explanation why he is not pleased with his or her's partner's behavior. A story in which Jenny is the perpetrator, Mark says: ‘‘ Not happy Jen''. (Whitty, 2005, p.64) As Gray says, women feel good about herself when they have friends with whom to share their feelings and problems. Men feel good when they can solve their problems on their own without talking. (Gray, 1992, p.22)

In the chapter 8 of John Gray's book, John Gray explains how men and women give the kind of love they need and not what the opposite sex needs. Men primarily need a kind of love that is thrusting, accepting and appreciative. Women primarily need kind of love that is caring, understanding and respectful. (p.9) This could possibly be explained why men and women have different expectations of love. ‘‘ When a man shows interest in woman's feelings, she feels loved and cared for. When he succeeds in fulfilling her first primary need. Naturally, she begins to thrust him more.'' (Gray, 1992, p.87) This situation clearly explain Monica Whitty's text. In Whitty's text Jenny thinks that Mark cheates on her: ‘‘ began to question who was on the phone'' ‘‘ Jennifer tried to guess his e-mail password and checked his voice-mail messages. Eventually, it was mistrust, the belief of deceit'' (Whitty, 2005, p.65) In this situation, Jenny does not feel cared for, she begins to suspect of Mark and for these reasons, Mark betray Jenny's thrust.

Women and men differ in many ways, with different emotions and perceptions, with different personality characters. These differences also compose different kinds of love expectations in relationships whether the relationships are online or offline. Because of gender differences, while one individual perceive their behaviour as innocent while at the same time their partner perceives it as infidelity. In Whitty's text, Whitty makes an experiment. According to experiment, male college students were more likely to rated infidelity as more acceptable than women rated infidelity.(p.58) For men, cyberspace is not a real world so they think that the online realtionship is not harmful. Due to no physical contact, men think they have not cheated. Whitty cites a previous work on offline infidelity ‘‘ women in current study focused more on emotional betrayal more than the men did.'' (p.66) Men think that emotional cheating is not a serious cheating . They do not corcern emotional cheating like women do. ‘‘ Cheating is not necessarily physical'' ‘‘ Don't be mad. You are the one I love. So how is it emotional cheating.'' (Whitty, 2005, p.63) As Gray says, men and women are motivated in different ways. ‘‘ Men are motivated when they feel needed while women are motivated when they feel cherished.'' (p.9) Men feel aggrieved when they are sexually (physically) cheated and women feel aggrieved when they are emotionally cheated.

According to John Gray's book ‘‘ mostly men may not notice that they are being disrespectful while they are commuticating, but they may feel unloved.'' (p.91) In Whitty's text while Jenny shows her aggresion, Mark tries to solve the problem that makes Jenny angry and invalidates her feelings by saying her not to be bother. For many women, invalidating feeling is a kind of disrespect. ‘‘Man unknowingly hurts his partner by speaking in an uncaring manner. Man may not even realize how much he is hurting his partner and thus provoking her resistance.'' (Gray, 1992, p.99)

In conclusion, Monica T. Whitty's text called ‘‘The Realness of Cybercheating: men's and women's representation of unfaithful Internet relationships.'' explains us that men and women have different perspectives on online infidelity. To understand the different perspectives of men and women, John Gray's book called ‘‘ Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.'' help us. John Gray explains gender differences in his book that make us understand why there is a huge difference between the stories written by male students and female students in Whitty's text. In Gray's book, there are 3 views that help us to understand Whitty's text: firstly, two biggest mistakes of men and women, second is how men and women cope with stress differently and the third one is how men and women give the kind of love they need and not what the opposite sex needs that help us clearly understand both the aggrieved and perpetrator in Whitty's text.


* Monica T. Whitty (2005) The Realness of Cybercheating: men's and women's representation of unfaithful Internet relationships, Social Science Computer Review, v.23, n.1, p. 57-67

* John Gray (1992) Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. New York: Harper Collins Publishers.

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