Is making friends on social networking sites influencing how we create real relationships in real timeand maybe the wrong kind of relationships? Between Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other networking social websites, couples today may be cheating on the internet without ever leaving their home.For the first time in history, we can cheat on our spouse sitting next to them in bed. With laptops, iPhones,and Blackberries, it is possible to have an intimate relationship online as our spouse sleeps unknowingly on the next pillow.One recent study says that 66% of divorces today are caused by Facebook and social networking sites. Eighty-one percent of divorce attorneys say that over the last five years there has been a significantly higher evidence of social networking sites as the cause of divorce, according to the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers.The Internet is an easily accessible way to find outside partners. Hooking up with friends from the past or new"friends"may lead to problematic behaviors like emotional affairs or sexual interaction online. It is easy to believe that relationships on-line may not affect a marriage or committed partnership because they are not real. However, emotional connection is sometimes easier to create online than inone another's presence Revealing private thoughts and secrets to each other via email or on Facebook may lead to a false sense of intimacy. In-person infidelity may be the next step.
Cheating online affects over 70% of committed relationships today.And now,there are psychotherapists who specialize in this issue. However, the first steps are awareness and communication. Have an honest discussion about the risks and try to listen to each others feelings in order to experience empathy for both sides. Then make it clear what kind of boundaries you want.
No one wants to play detective, nor should they. If you find yourself checking your partners history on their laptop or hand held device, the situation may have already gone too far.
If you and your significant other cannot solve this issue on your own, contact a professional psychotherapist or counselor.
You can probably find a good one online.
Tammy Nelson, Ph.D, is a sex and relationship expert and the author of Getting the Sex You Want; Shed Your Inhibitions and Reach New Heights of Passion Together.