Social Media and Infidelity

Does marriage have a chance?

Instant Gratification

Sometimes it starts with a harmless chat site or even a site like Facebook. Quickly the people of social media can fill a void in your relationship showing you the attention you crave from your partner. Usually the attention comes at a time when you are vulnerable and weak.

People who under normal circumstances are only experiencing difficulty in their relationship, find themselves seeking validation from an endless potential partner pool. Many times failing to realize they have opened Pandora's Box in their mind. Instead of focusing on your partner and working out your differences, it seems there is always someone trying to hook up. Predators waiting in the wings of social media. Promising you online what you lack from your relationship.

The instant gratification and fresh attention lures you into a disaster waiting to happen. The validation boosts your self-esteem and you feel wanted. In reality, the person feeding your need from the internet is nothing special. You know the old saying: "No matter how good they look, someone somewhere is tired of them". Social media is causing extreme damage to relationships and marriages all across the country. Social media predators breed the inability to work things out and grow as a couple, which handicaps relationships further.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

What might seem amazing and "meant to be" is usually just a situation that manifests itself based on what you lack from your partner. Combined with the often fraudulent appearance of people online, it is the perfect storm. Increasingly, people find person to person communication difficult because devices are taking over our lives and how we communicate. The inability to communicate your needs effectively and honestly places your relationship in a danger zone. Depending on your partner's state of mind and the condition of your relationship, it can be difficult to do. Many times honesty is met with animosity and blame when deriving from a troubled relationship.

Relationships are hard enough without someone tempting you or your partner from the internet. Hearing all the right things at a time when you need to hear them the most opens a door that is not so easily closed. You end up slowly developing a relationship with someone through chat. They fill an immediate need but you fail to realize the tangled web you are weaving. It starts out as no big deal and you don't feel you are doing anything wrong. Slowly it manifests into a secret that you are not willing to give up. It feels good to receive new attention. You justify the situation because after all, it is only online. Sometimes the attention can even improve your current relationship initially. Receiving attention online you reminds you that you are attractive and improves your self-image. This can change the way you present yourself and return your identity, the part of you lost long ago from the normal progression of a relationship. The confidence boost increases your self esteem making you more attractive.

What people fail to realize is the real challenge is spending time with someone face to face on a daily basis. After all the butterflies are long gone and the excitement of a new-found love is a distant memory, people become complacent in relationship maintenance. They also take their partners for granted. Everyone enjoys the feelings a new love connection brings, but those feelings fade with time and daily life takes its toll. As it fades the onset of reality kicks in no matter who you are with. The internet produces images of people that are unrealistic and perfect relationships.

Social media is very good at making normal human relationships look as if they are lacking in some way. Many people present perfect relationships online filled with love and adoration. In reality your friends on your favorite social network sites have relationships just like yours.

Comparing your own relationship to everyone you know through outlets such as social media is never a good idea. Most of the time people present embellished or full-blown fabricated lives. Inundating your mind daily with misleading images of how everyone else lives and believing it's true can lead to disaster. Regret, resentment, and misplaced blame towards your partner, manifest slowly. Before long you are making unfair comparisons to your own relationship. You cannot compare reality to fiction. People fail to realize when visiting the vast world of social media the line becomes very blurred.

A world full of beautiful people.

Another misconception social media portrays is a world full of beautiful people. Photoshop and other apps enable normal people to achieve supermodel status online. To make matters worse, relationship predators are endless. Men and women alike use Facebook to target people. There are endless people with issues seeking validation in any way possible. Many people seem to be attracted to people who are married or in a committed relationship. To win the attention of someone else's husband is a great accomplishment to people who suffer from low self esteem. It makes them feel they must be special to veer a man away from someone he made a lifelong commitment to. It also makes them feel attractive. They believe if they can achieve your husband's attention it must be because they are more beautiful than and smarter than you. What they don't realize is a whole deeper issue at play.

When a man in a committed relationship decides to cheat it is usually because he no longer feels important or needed. A man who is happy in a relationship, feels needed, and who is fulfilled in the bedroom, usually will not cheat no matter what somebody looks like. This is not always the case but, nine times out of ten a man does not cheat because he thinks you are prettier or smarter than his wife. What men don't understand is communicating their needs honestly to their wife or girlfriend can remedy the situation. Men don't want to end a marriage they have invested time and money into. Unfortunately, once the boundaries are crossed your relationship becomes tainted. Forgiving after infidelity is very difficult. Infidelity changes the dynamic of your relationship and not in a good way.

When you are having difficulties in a relationship and someone says all the right things, appears amazing in their photos, and shows an interest in you, a desire for a new life begins to creep into your mind. Life is boring when you are married with kids or in a long-term relationship. You have learned everything there is to learn and you become comfortable. People gain weight when they are comfortable. They don't wear makeup or style their hair 24 hours a day and they quit opening doors and holding hands. Kissing each other passionately and exploring each other turns into routine sex and life interrupts leaving no time for romance.

Social media, porn, and dating sites, come in and mix it all up for you. You enter a world built to target your innermost desires. Many people dabble in these sites, mainly due to curiosity or boredom in the moment. Reality is difficult and relationships even more challenging in today's world. People are impersonal and distracted with devices. In order to maintain a healthy long lasting relationship it is important to put your devices down and focus on each day with your partner.

Feeling secure and no longer putting forth effort to your relationship is an unfortunate view many share in this country. People need to feel important, loved, and special. People need to spend quality time together talking, laughing, and experiencing life. Relationships and marriages are not meant to be an agreement made between two people to live life together while being so far apart. Chivalry and being in love is ancient history it seems. There is no courting stage and romance is dead.

Falling in love is amazing and commitment should never kill the spark, it should only make it better. It is absolutely possible to commit and maintain romance, but it takes effort on both parts. It means you continue to take care of yourself and your appearance. You continue to do things to make your partner feel loved and important. You always put your partner first. No matter how angry you are you must be very careful when choosing words in the heat of the moment. Your words will live with someone until the day they die. Your actions and how you treat your partner in front of them and when they are not present will make or break you. Cheating is cheating. Whether it is with sex or just emotionally it is one in the same. How do you know if chatting is inappropriate or cheating? Ask your partner. If you need to hide the fact that you are talking to someone privately or how often you are chatting online, it is cheating.  

Remember when?

There was a time when you graduated from high school and you never saw anyone again for the rest of your life that you attended school with. Today, not only can you see these people again, but you can develop relationships with them online. You can identify with where they are in life along with where they came from. A person you met in passing who pre internet you would forget immediately, is now your lifelong buddy online. This includes past lovers and your high school crush. Facebook receives a lot of heat for being one of the leading causes of divorce. Almost every story ends with inappropriate behavior, comments, or secret chatting with someone online. People romanticize people from their past but the truth is people change. The person you knew in high school is much different than the person you are chatting with today. Just because you had Algebra together, it does not mean you still know this person. Life experience molds who you are as a person. It is true that Facebook has successfully brought together many people who knew each other in the past, however, someone else's spouse is not your soul mate. 

Integrating social media and marriage in a healthy way, is it a possibility?

Everyone always makes fun of the couple who share a joint Facebook account however, that could be the only way to keep a happy healthy marriage on Facebook. Some people maintain separate accounts but have rules about who they friend. It is a personal decision and depends on who you and your partner truly are as people. In my opinion if I can't trust my partner then I need to find a new partner. The problem arises when you do trust your partner and out of the blue you find out they are having an affair. Social media tricks otherwise normal people into making decisions they would not normally make. How do we address this as a society? Do we hope for the best and think it won't happen to me? I'm not sure what the answer is because I know many people who were sucked into the facade of Facebook and made bad life altering decisions hurting entire families.

The worst part about ending a relationship because of an affair initiated online is it cannot be taken back. The damage is done. Nothing will ever be the same. Many times people find they are now with a person who is not at all who they painted in their mind. People are shocked to find they gave up entire lives they built with someone they truly loved for someone else's twisted reality. They find they are with someone who is not anything like they appear online. They gave up an amazing person for someone that doesn't exist. People need to focus on their relationships and take them serious. Relationships are like forgetting to water a plant and not getting it enough sun. If you don't water it every day it will slowly wither away. If you don't get it sun every day the same will happen. You can't just water it and give it no sun or it will die. You can't just get it sun and no water or it will die. It takes both consistently for a plant to thrive and grow.

I'm not implying that everyone on Facebook will cross the faint boundaries but, social media is breeding infidelity at an alarming rate. To add insult to injury there hundreds of apps to help you hide what you do online. Deciding how to handle social media in your relationship should be something you discuss together, It should result in a mutual agreement of what is appropriate and inappropriate for your relationship. There are many married people on Facebook and they are perfectly happy. And then again, are you sure they are happy and loyal or do they just seem this way to the outside world?

Read next: Things Unsaid
Sherrie Pogue
Sherrie Pogue

I am a writer and it is my passion. I love to write about sensitive subjects in an effort to spread knowledge and raise awareness. Change is necessary in this country. If you like my writing please leave a tip so I am able to continue.

Now Reading
Social Media and Infidelity
Read Next
Things Unsaid