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I didn’t go out and see anybody or catch any diseases,’” she says. 4) by Hertlein and a colleague reviewed eight studies of Internet affairs and documented many negative effects from online romances, including less interest in sex in the committed relationship and neglect of work and time with children.

After an Internet affair, couples often need to move the home computer to a public space, such as the living room, and install tracking or blocking software, Ducharme says.

But to build lasting trust, couples must dig deeper in therapy.

Women usually feel more threatened by the emotional betrayal of a partner’s online affair, while men are more concerned about physical encounters, Hertlein says, but the gender differences are lessening.

“That is starting to even out in part because of the equality of opportunity that the Internet brings to everybody,” she says.

While men traditionally have been the more unfaithful sex, gender roles are reversing in some cases as more women experience cybersex.

“I think there is this bias that women don’t cheat for sexual reasons at all,” Hertlein says.

The typical affair used to start in the office and move to a seedy motel room, but the vast reach of the Internet has brought infidelity into many couples’ homes over the past decade.

The growth in steamy chat room conversations and cybersex also has triggered a rethinking of the meaning of infidelity.

It starts right under your roof,” says Elaine Ducharme, Ph D, a psychologist in Glastonbury, Conn., who specializes in cybersex addictions.

“You can’t usually get rid of your computer in the house.

If there is no physical contact or actual sex, is it still an affair?