Blog: Digital Infidelity: Social Media & Relationships

2AdobeStock_79584801According to the Washington Post, Facebook is cited in more than one-third of all divorce cases! The number-one reason why Facebook was at fault in these cases was due to “inappropriate messages to members of the opposite sex.”

Social media has added fuel to the fire of infidelity because it makes it easier and more accessible to step outside the relationship. Former flames are just a click away.  Appropriate relationship boundaries can become blurry. When you are behind the safety and security of your device, you can send messages without having to see the other person. Before you know it, you’re messaging back and forth and this can quickly turn into an emotional affair.

So what motivates couples to stay in a relationship even if they know or have strong suspicions that their partner is being unfaithful? Many individuals have fear of change or loss. Many are conflict-avoidant and will stick their head in the sand rather than confront suspicions.  Some people are afraid of negative consequences of possibly losing the relationship, such as financial instability, impact on children or change in social status or network.  Some people look at all they have invested in their relationship — time, money, creating a home, family and social network.  Other individuals have cultural or religious beliefs that motivate them to stay in the marriage.

It’s challenging, but possible, for couples to overcome a situation in which one is having an emotional or physical affair. The couple must communicate in a way that is clear, honest, direct, respectful and kind.  They  must also seek the help of a professional counselor, who can mediate conflict and provide tools, skills and resources to get your relationship back on track. Individuals have different opinions about what’s appropriate and what’s not. Ultimately, it’s up to the couple to set boundaries and rules for one another so they are clear with the expectations within the relationship and they can begin to rebuild trust.

Listen to Joyce Marter’s full interview with Tim Denison on Newstalk 610 CKTB discussing why social media makes it easier to cheat on your partner: