Jon Austin's wife, Amy, had a blunt assessment for her husband as the Minneapolis couple watched Rep. Anthony Weiner's stunning confessions on television this week.
"You'd be dead," she told him.
Regardless of his professional future, it's Weiner's predicament at home that seems to be launching countless discussions among couples like the Austins. And this time, it's not a question of actual physical cheating - a la Eliot Spitzer and his prostitution scandal - but the murkier backdrop of Internet relationships: sexting, tweeting lewd photos, emailing.
If it's virtual, does it constitute infidelity? Many Americans seem to think it does.
"Would you text it, post it, send it with your spouse looking over your shoulder?" asks Austin, 52, who works in corporate public relations and takes no issue with his wife's frank appraisal of the situation. "If yes, then it's not infidelity. If no, you're cheating."
In online postings and follow-up phone calls with The Associated Press, dozens of people echoed the same thought: Cheating need not be physical.
"I think the emotional betrayal is just as bad," says Marissa Bholan, a 22-year-old student. "A married person should not be flirting online - or in any manner, really. It demonstrates a clear unfaithfulness. You're married. Act like it."
For one woman in Texas, the danger of online relationships became painfully apparent when she caught a boyfriend trading amorous instant messages with an Internet friend - at one point on her own laptop.
When Beky Hayes confronted him, he told her he never felt his virtual friend was "a real person" - even though an actual, clandestine visit seemed to be in the planning stages.
"I think there's a perception that what you're doing online is somehow not real," says Hayes, a musician. "But of course it is."
And men, Hayes adds, may be more vulnerable to the lure of Internet relationships "because they allow them to escape the responsibilities and pressures of real relationships." She is no longer seeing that boyfriend.
A specialist in Internet addiction agrees that many people turn to online relationships to escape the pressures of their daily lives, reveling in the anonymity - particularly if, like a congressman, they are well known.
But some, says Kimberly Young, director of the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery, experience a more dangerous sense of detachment, somehow convincing themselves once the laptop is closed: "I didn't really do that. That wasn't me." And they don't see their actions as infidelity.
"I've seen married people go to great lengths to cover things up, hiding phone bills and the like," says Young, a practicing psychologist. "But they don't think it's cheating. They say, `I love my wife.'"
Monica Turner knew something was seriously wrong when she looked at a phone bill of hundreds of pages - a record of text messages between her common-law husband and a female friend from elementary school that he had reconnected with on Facebook.
Over just a few weeks, there were thousands of messages, says Turner, 49, who works in communications and graphic design. Her boyfriend, with whom she had shared eight happy years, told her she was overreacting.
"He told me he wasn't falling in love, but I wasn't sure. And in any case, I thought she was falling in love," says Turner, who even wrote a song about the ordeal: "Don't Let Facebook Screw Up Your Life."
Ultimately, Turner gave her man an ultimatum, and he ended the texting relationship, though still maintaining it was merely a friendship. "I believe him when he says that he loves me and couldn't imagine his life without me," she says now.
There are precious few statistics available on adults and online relationships, partly because most research has focused on teenagers.
The most recent was a 2004 ABC News poll, in which 64 percent of adults felt that "if a person who's married or in a committed relationship has sex talk in an Internet chat room," they would consider that being unfaithful; 33 percent would not.
There are, though, recent numbers on the prevalence of sexting among adults. In a May 2010 survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 15 percent of adults said they had received "a sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude photo or video" on their cell phone, and 6 percent said they had sent such a text. In the 18-to-29 demographic, the numbers rose to 31 percent and 13 percent.
"We were surprised at the prevalence among young adults," says Amanda Lenhart, a senior research specialist at Pew. "But if you think of it as part of the wooing process today, then it doesn't really seem all that surprising."
Is the Weiner scandal - in which the married congressman finally confessed, after days of denying it, to tweeting a lewd crotch photo of himself to a woman in Seattle - a Mars vs. Venus moment? Do men see it differently than women?
Psychologist Gail Saltz thinks so. "For men, the sexual act is much more disturbing than anything else," says Saltz, who sees many couples