Social media – the new medium of infidelity
Connectivity has become way too easy now. Married individuals have often sought refuge in words on a screen from a stranger they met online, spilling secrets about their marriage and their spouses. What seems initially as harmless indulgence and casual flirting might lead to something bigger if not curbed at the right time.
We invest too much time in gadgets and online activity. We tend to text aimlessly, scrolling past the feed, liking photos of people we do not know, conversing with people we have never met and no one seems to have a problem with that. But when these midnight texts become somewhat of a habit without your spouse’s knowledge, that’s when the problem begins. And what’s more concerning is that we do not associate virtual texting or social media as a medium of infidelity.
But did you know, in divorce cases, the word ‘Facebook’ has been used a lot in the court proceedings. Facebook has become an instant media of infidelity in many, many divorce cases. In many cases, evidence shows how the spouse began their infidelity with mundane conversations about work and ended having sex with a stranger they met online which led to the divorce.
With connectivity, it has become easy to share marital woes and hardships to people who are willing to listen to us, or empathise with us. It is easier to confide in a lonely stranger online and talk about your issues than hashing it out with your spouse. Emotional confiding soon follows. Dissatisfaction with spouse is a main topic of discussion which is soon followed by sexual suggestion and remarks – the things they would like their partners to do in the bedroom.
One step in the world of social media and IM’s can set off a domino effect. Here are some tips that might be helpful in protecting your marriage against internet infidelity.
1. Fix ground rules
Rules like “Don’t use your phone during so and so time” will instigate use of phones behind your back. Ground rules are mostly set for our own selves. Seeing how easy it is to fall down the slope of internet infidelity nowadays, it is wise to set guidelines for your own self.
Suppose you get a text from a co-worker and you feel the vibes are not so professionally appropriate, instead of replying to the text, give them a call. Replying to texts takes less time than talking over the phone but talking makes communication vocally clear. Talking to someone of the opposite sex over texts or IM’s is like being with that person in a spaceship, hovering in space, with no one to watch. Would you ever want that? Also, are you comfortable being stuck in an enclosed space with a co-worker on a daily basis? Internet infidelity works when you prefer the stuck in space scenario than in an open space with your spouse.
2. Communicate with your spouse
Take their stance into consideration – what do they feel about talking to friends you both have met online. Set clear boundaries and agree to stick to it.
3. Pay attention to your social media friend lists
If you are ‘friends’ with your former lovers, or if you ‘follow’ them on Instagram, now is a good time to unfriend and unfollow them. It is very easy to be tempted by past lovers. Also, ignore or unfollow people you were once interested in, in the past. Unmet desires are dangerous and constantly finding them on your feed might instigate you to communicate with them.
4. Combined efforts
People take their social accounts very seriously. To prepare for complete transparency, you can suggest joint accounts for the two of you. This means no one will be tempted to do anything behind their spouse’s back.
5. Matters of the heart
It is so easy to know a person well just by scrolling through their feed on Facebook or Instagram. Emotional infidelity can follow even when you peruse through the account of a person to meet your visual desires. You might not do anything as big as having a sexual relation outside your marriage but you form an infatuation or emotional connection to this other person, which is really, really harmful in a marriage. If it gets too much, you can always delete the social media account and go back to reading books and doing things that our grandparents used to do.
In cases of internet infidelity, because everything is happening behind a smoky screen and on the web, there is a false sense of security for the instigator. Your smartphone is yours, the conversations are being tossed back and forth between you and your co-worker, no witness whatsoever. In this false sense of security, people tend to divulge information very personal to them, which they would not have, had they met in a coffee bar or in person. In texting, there is a sense of satisfaction that is unmet when you meet in person.
People also tend to blame the inability of their spouses to make them happy and internet infidelity as an escape route from the reality. “My husband doesn’t appreciate my work enough and this person I met loves my work.” Also, just because everyone is doing it, does not mean you need to indulge in it as well.
The whole internet is a web and it is so easy to get entangled in it. Know how to fight it and protect the sanctity of your marriage.