The Social Media Cheating Connection – Real Risk or Hype?

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I’ve been an observer all my life. I’ve come across couples from all walks of life with varied personalities, viewpoints and distinctive oddities. I’ve lost count of the number of times when a spouse, bored of his/her mundane life, surfs Facebook or Instagram to see if they can find out what their old loves are doing. Yes, social media cheating is the new buzzword in town where spouses are now worried about the contents of their partner’s online activities.

It’s as if these individuals were simply minding their businesses, going about their days, and they suddenly found themselves looking up their old flames. For anyone who wonders, “Why does social media cause insecurity?”, here is the simple answer: social media makes it so easy to reconnect with people that it all seems harmless at first. But the endless abyss is designed in such a way that before you know it, you are already looking up the entire history of someone you broke up with 12 years ago.

Just like that, residual feelings that you may have buried in some deep corner of your mind begin to resurface. You are reminded of what you shared with this person and the wonderment of what could have been set in. Stalking exes gives way to sliding into their DMs, and one “Hey, long time!” can become the precursor to a full-blown affair. It is precisely for this reason that social media infidelity is a real risk and not a hype.

Social Media Cheating And Its Effects On Relationships

Old flames… lost loves…we all have our share of those. What if you get a chance to be reunited with your past love? What will your reaction be to such an eventuality? It’s no secret that many of us carry all through our lives the memories of our past loves. We sometimes even wonder how remarkable or different our lives might have been with that other companion. But reconnecting with an ex while married might not always be the best idea.

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“You don’t actually look for your ex. It just happens,” says Alison, an acquaintance of mine, who has been married for 8 years. Uh, but I don’t think so. For a married person to reach out to one’s first love cannot be spontaneous; it requires planning and decision-making. Social media cheating is not the kind of thing that just happens randomly.

When it does, it has the potential to wreak havoc on your stable relationship or marriage. The social media effects on relationships can truly be severe. If you’ve ever wondered how does social media affect marriage or a committed relationship, the possibility of one harmless interaction turning into an affair drives home the point loud and clear.

There is even a specific genre of dating sites for married people that cater to people’s need for intimate connections outside their primary relationships. With sites like Reunion, Victoriamilan, Gleeden, it has never been easier to look up and hook up with someone other than your partner. “Married but looking for some extra fun and excitement?” asks DiscreetAdventures’s home page.

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The site helps users “meet other attached women and men seeking discreet romantic affairs”. But one doesn’t need to take the risk of signing up on these sites (remember the Ashley Madison disaster?) to find love, sex, excitement or whatever else one is looking for outside their marriage or primary relationship.

The scope for social media infidelity makes it a whole lot easier. One can simply type in the maiden name of the one he or she was involved with, and voila, you get the present details of the person immediately. From there, it is just a matter of sending that friend/follow request, sliding into DMs for an old to rekindle.

Related Reading: Social Media And Relationships: Have We Isolated Ourselves To Find Company?

Does Social Media Increase Infidelity?

The boom in websites facilitating reunions of old friends with opening lines such as “Find people you’ve lost touch with…” caters to married people or those in committed relationships wanting to catch up with ex-lovers, leading to infidelity. Internet infidelity or online affairs play havoc on the sense of self-worth and emotional well-being of the person being cheated on. Still wondering why does social media cause insecurity?

on cheating

Browsing the net, meeting an old girlfriend or boyfriend for a drink just to catch up after work, or double texting lengthy WhatsApp updates to a long-lost heartthrob can all seem relatively innocent. But one late-night communication often leads to another and another and another. The conversations become more and more personal. This is when you start becoming prey to social media cheating. Partners engaged in exclusive online affairs presume that it isn’t infidelity as long as no physical contact takes place.

Not every online affair leads to a fiery, marriage-wrecking romance. “After all, life is short. We only have one go around, right,” says Alison. She has been meeting her ex over lunches for the past 3 months. “We have a very casual conversation. And we make it a point not to touch beyond a hug at the time of leaving. Now that doesn’t amount to me being a social media cheating spouse. Does it?” she defends.

“No, it doesn’t, as long as you do not believe in the term emotional infidelity,” I say in my mind.

Key Pointers

  • Social media cheating is becoming more and more prevalent
  • Online affairs often start with exes looking up each other on social media
  • An urge to connect with an old flame can quickly escalate to an emotional or physical affair
  • Apart from exes, social media also gives you a chance to connect with countless like-minded people, increasing the likelihood of cheating
  • Even if there is no cheating yet, secretive social media activity can trigger insecurity and trust issues in a relationship

It is possible that you might need extensive social media boundaries in relationships. We don’t mean to worry you too much and set you on the path of monitoring everything your spouse is doing online. But perhaps a more transparent communication about such things won’t keep you in the dark.

Social media infidelity is hard to predict but don’t go snooping if there is no reason to. Here are some other signs of cheating for you to ascertain whether your partner might be social media cheating or not.


1. What is considered cheating on social media?

Social media cheating is everything from sending heart emojis to an ex-flame online, texting them all day, sending fire react emojis to their Instagram stories, and then, actually making plans to meet them. No matter how harmless it might seem in one’s head, it is indeed a tricky path to go down.

2. Is online infidelity cheating?

Absolutely. Social media infidelity is a standalone phenomenon, but at the end of the day, if it is something that would hurt your spouse, it is still cheating.

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Readers Comments On “The Social Media Cheating Connection – Real Risk or Hype?”


    I havent heard of this phenomenon but reading about it made me wonder too! And you are right in saying that emotional fidelity is also something to be considered. While just meeting may seem harmless, one is doing it on the sly and that in itself presents the conundrum!

  2. This is unfortunately a very true fact about dating websites and “reunion” ones. It’s honestly just a shame, and I’m of the opinion that, of someone were happy in their relationship, they wouldn’t need to be on those sites. That’s just my own opinion, though.

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