PROVIDENCE, R.I., July 25 (UPI) -- Electronic communication has had pervasive and pernicious effects on initiating and perpetuating affairs during the past decade, a U.S. expert says.
Dr. Scott Haltzman -- a distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, former clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Brown University, and the author of "The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity" -- said electronic communication from social media to text messaging is the biggest change that has occurred in extra-marital infidelity.
"Hidden electronic communication allows a new relationship to begin and permits a relationship to flourish," Haltzman said in a statement. "In past decades those relationships would have fizzled because of the near impossibility of being able to sustain communication."
"One of the hallmarks of infidelity is opportunity, and more than any invention since paper and pen, the Internet has provided a template for affairs to soar," Haltzman said. "I began by defining an electronic communication as either email, instant messaging or text messaging, but excluded one-way pornography or simple cellphone use without texting."
Haltzman said input to an online research tool he operated for the last 10 years illustrated the expanded role on electronic communication in infidelity.
He said three of the 45 infidelity-oriented contributions to the site from 2000-02 -- about 6.6 percent -- specifically described affairs that involved some form of electronic communication, while 21-of-43 contributions from 2006-11 -- nearly 50 percent -- included specific comments on electronic communication's role in an affair.
From 2011 to April 2013, 63 percent specifically alluded to electronic communications, Haltzman said.
Some of these people did not meet each other online, but they communicated surreptitiously using electronic media.