Online Cheating

There was once a simpler time for intimate relationships. When your communication is based entirely on face-to-face conversations, dates, and truly getting to know and trust one another, two people have the ability to really connect.

This concept is now long gone. With multiple new platforms of communication, including cell phones, email, and, of course, Facebook, people in young relationships have a dozen new things to worry about. At what point do I add him as a friend? Are personal wall-posts appropriate? Should I list him as my boyfriend? How many old pictures of him can I look at before it’s creepy? Are high school prom photo shoots too far back?

Clearly social media has changed relationships. In some cases, it brings them closer. It’s easier than ever to learn more about the person’s likes and personality. Partners in long distance relationships have opportunities to stay close. Yet I’m curious: how has social media affected the level of trust in a relationship? Are chances of cheating higher? What about jealousy? I want to learn more about intimate relationships and social media’s affect on trust, jealousy, and infidelity. I believe this information will give insight into online communication and how it affects one person’s ability to become intimately close to another.

In the above project proposal for our Sexuality and Social Media class, Kyle Dunphy selected a key topic in the intersection of digital technology and sex. Her blog explores relevant issues such as the definition of cheating, whether sexting constitutes cheating, and if cheaters can change their behavior.

Kyle writes:

There are two very important traits that the cheater must possess in order to defeat the “always a cheater” stereotype. First, the cheater must have a strong desire to change their behavior. Although people can often be against the idea, sometimes counseling is a necessity. Mr. Goodbar, an alias for the self-proclaimed cheater and author of the book “The Married Man’s Guide to Cheating,” explains that not enough couples go to counseling, “which can be the key to saving a marriage when the infatuation wears off” (Weigel). As an online cheater, “you don’t actually realize that you’re growing close to someone on the internet because it just looks like you’re having conversation” (English). In this case, you have very little desire to separate yourself from the online world. “Someone who cheats can choose to blame others or they can pause and go deeper and sort of wake up to their life” (Weigel).

Second, the cheater must understand the reasons why he or she strayed from the relationship. When Dr. Kent-Ferraro had an affair that resulted in divorce, he took time to himself and analyzed his behavior, determined his reasons for cheating, and then proved his trustworthiness and affection for his wife again (Kent-Ferraro). Once he was able to pinpoint the reasoning behind his behavior, he was able to change his beliefs and his actions.

So, readers, do you think that a cheater will always cheat?

Want to learn more? Check out Kyle’s blog and Tweets.

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