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RJ Dupre column: Cyber cheating isn't the way out

Nowadays, the Internet has become absolutely indispensable for most people. It is used on a daily basis, for hours at a time in business, the academic arena, research etc... It is the door to the world. Personal ads replace old-fashioned dating by creating a profile accompanied by pictures, giving you the chance to meet a potential mate.

Gaming sites allow you to play poker, cards, board games or go bowling; anything you can imagine. Then there are what they call the "chat rooms." As a semi computer illiterate, I had no idea such sites existed. The only reason I use my laptop is to type my articles, send emails to friends and family and for educational research. So when a friend of mine explained what these sites were all about, I was flabbergasted. I am no square, mind you, but those chat rooms are most deceitful, and very few of them promote healthy topics.

What is alarming is the incredible amount of married people looking for relationships outside their marriages. They boldly proclaim their desire to flirt with some strangers out there, probably whine that their spouse is not there for them, and that they are deprived of attention by the one they married.

We all scream that our privacy is invaded everyday. We campaign to stop sexual predators on the Internet -- especially towards children. Yet we still give our personal information to whomever is out there. Let's not even get started on the subject of pornography.

Cheating is unacceptable regardless how we justify it -- whether you are married or involved with someone. If your relationship is not working at all, walk away and find somebody else if you are that desperate for companionship.

It's naive and incomprehensible to imagine that by advertising yourself on such a site, that you will not be in danger. After all, these individuals are just on a screen, so there is no way they can get close. This is the kind of justification that will get you in trouble. It's this insidious want to look at the "grass is greener on the other side," when, in reality, you forget to water the grass you are standing on. It is scary and tremendously sad to see what human beings can lower themselves to just because they do not want to work at their relationships or face their failures. By not taking responsibilities for our lives, what messages are we sending our children? That it's okay to expose ourselves on such sites hoping that some stranger will take us away from the hell we imagine we are living in?

To add to the sickness of it all, some people send lewd pictures of themselves to spice up the process. We decry prostitution in this country, yet what's the difference between that and what individuals reveal on those sites? Yes we are adults. We have freedom to do whatever pleases us, but before you take this dangerous step, look at the ring on your finger. Ask yourself what got you to where you are at, and consciously decide what is the mature way to deal with your present circumstances in your marriage or involvement.

There is an old saying. "Keep the fire burning at home."