Individual Counseling, Couples Counseling and Sex Therapy

Cyber Affairs: Yes! It’s Cheating

Facebook is a wonderful thing. With 845 million active monthly users, it’s also a very popular thing. But danger lurks behind the couples counseling, marriage counseling, cheatingfun logo. Many of us are one “friend request” away from an online affair.

Yes, it seems quite innocent at first. Oh look! There’s an old friend from high school! I think I’ll send him (or her) a friend request. I wonder if they will remember me…yes, we used to date, but that was long, long ago. Surely we are past all that and can still be friends. The next step comes so naturally you won’t even notice it — soon you are commenting on their posts, then you are engaging in online conversation, then you are exchanging private messages, then you are locking your office door and lying about the amount of time you spend on Facebook. You have just crossed the line.

The main problem with Facebook, and other forms of electronic communication, is that they are just so darn convenient. Before cell phones and the internet carrying on an affair was hard work. We didn’t have private cell phones that we could take into the bathroom with us. Texting wasn’t even a verb back then. Basically, we had no way of communicating with someone and keeping it secret unless we did it outside of the home. And that was a pain. Required a lot more effort and creativity instead of just typing in your pajamas in the middle of the night, pretending that you are working.

But where is that line? Do we have to commit Facebook suicide in order to stay faithful? Ditch the texting plans and return to the stone age? “I can’t do that: I need my texting/cell phone/Facebook account for xyz reason” is a statement I frequently hear in my office. The truth? These are just excuses. You KNOW what you are saying is ridiculous; no reasonable person is going to make you ditch all forms of electronic communication. I mean, how else would you keep up with Lady Gaga? You also KNOW where the line is; it’s the same line you don’t cross in real life. It’s when casual encounters with members of the opposite sex turn intimate. Trust me, it’s a slippery slope you do not want to go down. If you are still clueless about where that “line” is, check out this blog entry.

If you really want to cheat on your partner, be mature about it. Be open about the issues and deficiencies in your relationship, and seek help if necessary. Then, and only then, should you consider entering into another relationship. Of course you’ll end your current one first. And by “end” I mean inform your partner in a respectful, consistent and clear manner; not just decide on your own and leave your partner in the dark. Here’s where a good marriage counselor can be invaluable. Even if you think you want to end your relationship, talking to an objective third party can help you clear your head, sort out your priorities and make more reasoned decisions. Defriend your old flame and call a counselor instead. Do it today.

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