Let me start by saying that i am not a therapist nor do i have a degree in psychology & or psychiatry, this is something that really i did for myself, but if this is able to keep anyone else from making the same mistakes i did that would make it all worthwhile.
I've been a computer tech since 1991, so i have quite a bit of experience on computers as well as the internet. I've seen the online & internet from the early stages to now, the access to which is in 1 out of 3 houses in the USA. The internet is a very valuable resource for many things in todays world. But as with anything in life there are downsides to it as well. There are people who hack into our systems, and many other theft problems as well. But what i'll be talking about is this aspect, that people on the internet are able to make themselves out to be something that they really may not be. I'm speaking from experience as it happened to me & nearly cost me my 13 year relationship with the woman that i love. Not to say that i'm not guilty also.
I guess the first thing i'll say is this, a little harmless flirting has never hurt anyone. harmless meaning that you aren't being deceptive, lying, or hiding things from your significant other.
There are a lot people out there who would try any & everything they can to get things beyond casual flirting.
How do you know when it is no longer casual flirting? Well if you are single then more power to you, but still i would suggest a small step at a time.
If on the other hand you are married or have a significant other, i would suggest using the following guidelines.
1) If you are chatting, messaging, emailing, or in contact with someone you've met on the internet, are you hiding it from your partner? If you're doing something that you don't want your partner to see, ask yourself why you don't want them too know? because truly there should be nothing your doing that you wouldn't want your partner too know about.
2) it's just harmless chit chat you say, then why don't you want your partner to know? And you know why, because you don't want to hurt there feelings. Well we've answered are own question there, if it's something you feel may hurt there feelings, then why do it?
3) The grass looks greener over there. Well you can make the grass look anyway you want on the internet, but heed my warning take a good look at the greener grass, you might just find out that your mower can't even cut there grass, or that there was a lot more grass then what you had thought.
i guess really what i'm saying is that the grass you already have is green , but you need to water it & nurture it to keep it that way. Just make sure to keep yer feet on the ground & remember one world is virtual (fantasy) and the other is not (real world) and always remember this, you are with your partner because of their qualities & characteristics that you liked. And ask yourself this, what would it do to them? I can tell you this i never had sex with this person i met on the internet, but i was cheating on my partner. I hid things from her. I lied to her & i hurt her, so if you are sitting there closing windows when they come in the room. You may not be having sex with that person, but you are cheating on your partner. So don't sugarcoat it to make it something innocent. Anytime there is deception involved the innocence is gone. I have gone thru hell trying to earn the trust of my loved one, and if i can help just one person from falling into that web then this was all worth it.