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E-motional affairs: How Facebook leads to infidelity
March 3rd, 2011
08:17 AM ET

E-motional affairs: How Facebook leads to infidelity

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him at his website, GoodInBed.

While the movie "The Social Network" may be Oscar history, Facebook is creating real-life dramas that lead to anything but Hollywood happy endings. In the last couple of years, I’ve seen scores of relationships destroyed by what I call "Facebook bombs" - blasts from the past that leave a relationship shattered to pieces.

If you or your mate are spending too much time strolling down a digital Memory Lane, an emotional affair could be in the works. Here's how to Facebook-proof your relationship:

Don’t romanticize the past at the expense of the present.

I’m hearing this real-life story more often: A tale of high school sweethearts trying to go “back to the future,” only to realize they should have been content to leave those memories in that old shoebox in storage.

How to reconnect and not be awkward or creepy

In the end, we’re only human. We all romanticize the past, men and women alike. And no memories are more potent than those first youthful fumblings. We tend to remember the good parts and forget the bad.

Until the advent of Facebook, though, most of us were compelled to leave the past in the past and move on. But now exes of all stripes - high school sweethearts, college lovers, former hookups - are popping up on Facebook. When two people strike up an online friendship, it’s easy to idealize each other and blur the line between fantasy and reality. An intense sense of intimacy is quickly fostered, particularly if intimacy was once shared in the past.

But when one partner starts sharing himself or herself with another person, it chips away at the foundation of their core relationship - and starts building a foundation for a new relationship.

Don't keep secrets.

Here’s where friendship and attraction cross the line into emotional cheating. Each person stops sharing certain aspects of the friendship with his or her partner, and starts confiding more in the “friend” and less in his or her partner.

In the past few years, I’ve heard from at least three exes who wanted to be my Facebook friend or found my website and e-mailed me out of the blue. And while it's tempting to accept these friend requests, or to fire back a quick “of course I remember you” e-mail, I haven’t done so. That was then; this is now.

And in those rare instances where I have accepted an ex as a Facebook friend, or written back, I’ve informed my wife and let her read every correspondence. Not because she doesn’t trust me, but because we have nothing to hide. Once you have something to hide, that’s where the trouble begins.

 So if an old flame is on your case, just say, “I’m in a relationship now. I wish you all the best.”

With Facebook friends like these, who needs enemies?

The instant gratification of Facebook and other social networks stimulates reward centers in the brain - and it's easy to find oneself craving the quick hit of a connection or lamenting its absence. Even without the senses driving attraction, the mind goes into overdrive and imagines that this is the perfect person and the perfect relationship.

Soon, a person may feel like an online friend “knows” him or her better than a partner does. People may feel freer to explore other parts of themselves, while real life (and a real relationship) feels stifling. This artificial sense of intimacy can begin to consume a person’s thoughts, which becomes all the more exciting because it’s a secret. Most people don’t set out to have “e-motional” affairs, and that’s one of the dangers of social networks like Facebook.

It often just happens, usually as a friendly relationship snowballs into something more meaningful. A common myth is that only people in unhappy relationships have emotional affairs. In fact, many men and women who commit emotional infidelity report that they were happy when they became involved with their affair partners. Rather than seeking out love (or sex), unfaithful partners gradually blur the boundaries between friendship and intimacy over an extended period of time.

Facebook friends: More powerful than Internet porn
.

As a sex therapist, I tend to hear a lot about people’s sexual habits, both when they’re with their partner and when they’re on their own. Now, it's no secret that when men self-pleasure they often choose Internet pornography over their own erotic imagination. Think of it as the lazy man's way; the difference between reading and watching TV.

However, men who are Facebooking with their exes and falling in love all over again often skip the computer and go back to those potent formative memories to get themselves off. That’s how strong the past is - even stronger than Internet porn!

An online affair is fueled by feelings of attraction between two people. You start to idealize the other person and fantasize about what sex would be like. This only adds fuel to the fire. Just like primary relationships, affairs that start out slowly and build a connection before progressing to sex are often the most difficult to break off - and the most damaging to the other relationship.

There's no shame in disconnecting your Facebook account.

Whether you’re a man or a woman, if you find you’re thinking more and more about the past, and getting to the point where you’re fantasizing about what it would be like to be with that person again, it’s time to unplug your computer, and get back to “face-timing” with your partner instead of Facebooking with the past. There's no shame in removing the one variable causing all the problems.

Look, in the end we’re all living, breathing sexual beings. Attraction doesn’t end once we’re in a relationship. Even the most happily coupled people are going to feel the familiar buzz of attraction when someone catches their eye or laughs at one of their jokes.

However, while feeling attraction is unavoidable, acting on it crosses the line. Attraction is one ingredient of an emotional affair. In order for attraction to launch into an emotional affair, a person has to also develop intimacy and, eventually, a feeling of connection with that person that supersedes their current relationship. In other words, attraction + effort + intimacy = emotional infidelity. Take away one, and all you’re left with is a natural instinct or a harmless Facebook friendship. Put all three together, and with friends like that... your relationship has a new enemy.


soundoff (356 Responses)
  1. Richard Mavers

    My God... another Facebook article on CNN??? Is there a business deal between the two companies I'm unaware of? Please, CNN... we've had enough of these.

    March 3, 2011 at 08:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DeeDee

      Richard its quite simple that if you don't enjoy the article, you are aware you can easily skip it and move along. I personally think this is a great write and quite true. However I would have to say that this should not limit "Facebook" as it does seem to go along hand in hand with much of the internet. Gaming for one can lead to disaster in relationships along with all those nifty online messengers. Many things can contribute to the same exact way, especially in this day in technology

      March 3, 2011 at 09:35 | Report abuse |
    • Jo Mama

      Didn't bother to read the article, did you? It was, if anything, anti-Facebook. Oh well, with that sort of attention to detail I'm sure you'll never have to worry about the subject matter...

      March 3, 2011 at 09:35 | Report abuse |
    • JeffA

      Richard, move on, man. Do you honestly think your post adds anything to the conversation? The reality is, Facebook is a substantial element in today's society, and a factor of news, research, social analysis, and has and will continue to change how people communicate and interact. It is in fact, generally newsworthy, not as a product but as a socially pertinent discussion.

      March 3, 2011 at 09:43 | Report abuse |
    • KoolKat

      I had a FB account, and it consumed so much of my time. To be real, "I was an addict." The drama on FB, the annoying group requests, the occasional creepers, and stalkers and many more annoying things finally made me quit my FB account. I can tell you for sure, it's been a difficult ride, as my mind is accustomed to reading the gossip on FB every morning along with checking out others status updates. But, I can also tell you how authentic, real and genuine I feel when I meet someone in real life instead in the virtual world after a long time. I really think FB though being a good social network platform, has a very ugly head that people don't want to admit!

      March 3, 2011 at 10:15 | Report abuse |
    • iwatchu

      lol @ jeffa......hook,line sinker. It's hardly any of those things. But yea, keep chewing the cud. Market research is kewl. You on their payrole, sad if you aren't. Really. One should get paid for hype.

      March 3, 2011 at 10:23 | Report abuse |
    • George

      Hilarious Rich, seriously CNN will do anything for hits. You can count on them having either a Facebook or a Kim Kardashian article on the front page. CNN is really lowering themselves and I'm gonna start getting my news somewhere else.

      March 3, 2011 at 10:40 | Report abuse |
    • FaceBookStupidity

      Anyone who in this day and age opens up a FaceBook page and then expects any privacy whatsoever in their lives is a friggin' moron. People are desperate to be noticed and its free (no money required, only) but has its price, oh does it cost you stupid people. LOL

      March 3, 2011 at 11:13 | Report abuse |
    • steve

      Richard – Over 500 million people worldwide use Facebook. That means that things that involve Facebook impact lots of people. That makes it news.

      By the way, this is a good article.

      March 3, 2011 at 11:17 | Report abuse |
    • mike

      Corrected: "How being attracted to other human beings leads to infidelity"

      March 3, 2011 at 11:39 | Report abuse |
    • penelope

      My ex got his jollys on World of Warcraft. He actually left our 15 year marriage and 3 kids for a fellow gamer, a young "goth" gal from his guild or pack or whatever. It was inevitable. He spent more time playing the game than being a part of the family.But yes...later he confessed to several affairs. And now he needed to find someone that not only had the same weird addiction but possibly matching chair bed sores! Wow I actually married a Lifetime channel movie! Thats why I never had any urge to watch them,haha. Facebook is really...stupid. Would you have ever told that long lost cousin you just ate breakfast and flossed? And then everyone comments "Oh how lovely, I had oatmeal..heres a picture." But it is kind of scary too putting yourself out there like that.

      March 3, 2011 at 11:51 | Report abuse |
    • 500 million accounts doesnt mean 500 illion users

      Richard, if you actually believe that there is only one account per person, you must be delusional. i have two, so your statement is already false.

      March 3, 2011 at 11:56 | Report abuse |
    • Rachael

      I have to agree. It amazes me that things that happen on the Internet is now considered "news". Sometimes it is really news, but more likely CNN, and other the news stations are terrified with the way the Internet, including Facebook, draws an more of an audience than they do. Have you ever noticed how the "news" about the Internet and FB almost always has a warning to users about their dangers? There are some dangers but they are greatly exaggerated in the news, like this article. Seriously people, if you relationship breaks up because of Facebook or you are having affairs with people on Facebook – that is your problem and it has nothing to do with technology or the service.

      March 3, 2011 at 16:50 | Report abuse |
    • Firm Biz

      to the author: well done. haven't read a cnn-linked article that well written. nice work.
      cnn: your articles are usually a joke. get better at writing and linking.

      warmly,
      Firm

      March 3, 2011 at 22:36 | Report abuse |
    • Facebook Lover

      The fact is that you can't turn a W..** into a housewife. With FB or without it.

      March 3, 2011 at 23:37 | Report abuse |
  2. Truedat!

    This was really good I hope people take it to heart!

    March 3, 2011 at 08:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bad Rabbit

      Face Book will be known as the relationship breaker. There will be studies and everyone will know someone or be personally affected by this. Generally men and women aren't freinds....sorry, say what you wish but a hetro male has very little in common with a woman and if they're freinds it goes to primal needs. Yes a relationship should be strong enough to withstand but for most, the temptations of our loins and need for validation will be over powered. We're merely animals...not special.

      March 3, 2011 at 13:11 | Report abuse |
  3. Chrissie Roberts

    Someone should be asking what the real reason is............Because there were issues I'm sure before Facebook.

    March 3, 2011 at 08:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mobrule

      sure there are issues, but fb makes it easy to not only find a sympathetic (or just pathetic) ear, but also to find another loser who thinks you're their 'friend.' fb is for social retards.

      March 3, 2011 at 11:22 | Report abuse |
    • Valerie

      Yes, cheaters like to say crap like that. Cowards that can't be bothered to fix their current situation, and go sneaking around behind their spouses back......I LOVE the sneaking part, they do that partly because it would KILL THEM if their own partner was screwing around.....LMFAO! Alrighty then................HYPOCRITES.

      March 3, 2011 at 11:23 | Report abuse |
    • Valerie

      Forgot to add because you are OBVIOUSLY under 25 years old:

      ANY relationship you are in for any REAL amount of time and there ARE going to be "issues". So only an azzhole "cheats" and uses "issues" as an excuse.

      March 3, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
    • Bella

      Actually...there were no problems before my boyfriend participated in several emotional affairs. At, least no problem with me! I've forgiven, but definitely have not forgotten. Every woman he flirted with was either married, recently divorced, going through a divorce, or a lesbian engaged to another woman...pathetic! Plus he added insult to injury by breaking up with me on FB after I found out.

      March 3, 2011 at 13:44 | Report abuse |
    • drwelby

      There might be something to being online and infidelity – my ex established her affair using Blue Wave through a few of our favorite bbs's. And, I suppose it didn't help that I was at times an insufferable ass.

      March 3, 2011 at 18:29 | Report abuse |
  4. Sam

    As lame as all this facebook stuff sounds, it can actaully really happen to us. I caught myself feeling this way about an Ex on facebook recently. Thanks for this article.. it helped me put my feelings in check.

    March 3, 2011 at 09:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mobrule

      an ex what? you expect us to believe that you're on fb AND have an ex?

      March 3, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Wow, you really got him good with that zinger!

      March 3, 2011 at 12:59 | Report abuse |
    • Beez

      I am going through a divorce right now for the very reason this article lays out. My wife looked through her high school yearbook finding people to friend. She found an old flame and within about 9 months, we were separated and on the way to divorce. We had the same problems most couples have but nothing bad enough to throw away 16 years of marriage over. She was able to get something from him she wasn't getting from me, even though the physical distance was from Georgia to Wisconsin. It's not Facebook's fault, Facebook just makes it too easy.

      March 3, 2011 at 13:24 | Report abuse |
  5. Michael Wong

    (sigh) This ain't rocket science, people. If you want your relationship to be strong, you must not have secrets. Let your spouse know your Facebook account password. If you feel the need to keep secrets from your spouse, then you already have problems. Actually keeping those secrets will only create more problems.

    March 3, 2011 at 09:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jenna

      AMEN!!!

      March 3, 2011 at 10:30 | Report abuse |
    • D.C. Watkins

      One of the first things my wife received from me after we were married was my FB account password. We laugh and refer to FB as "The Devil" due to the reasons outlined in this article. I know numerous people whose lives have been totally wrecked by what FB offers and therefore we both use it sparingly. I have never nor ever will understand how anyone could have 334 "friends." Thanks for a great article but fortunately I realized what FB was before it was ever launched due to my experience with My Space. However, blaming FB for ruining a relationship is comparable to blaming the gun for the murder.

      March 3, 2011 at 19:06 | Report abuse |
  6. Starfire

    If people who are truly happy in their relationships are having affairs, because they "gradually blur the boundaries between friendship and intimacy over an extended period of time," that means they were not happy with monogamy.

    It seems that's tough for many people, and I'm wondering why. Is it a need for an occasional "ego boost?' Isn't there a better way to get one than destroying your relationship? Why do so many people seek it via affiars?

    March 3, 2011 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. JeffA

    Temptations will follow people everywhere – and any connection to more potential failures is a challenge. Yet still, it is not a problem for those who would not fail anyway because they are strong with or without it. For those who are weaker though, it does bring the potential right into your house and makes failure easier. The problem though is the value system each person has that will determine how infidelity will or will not happen, regardless of the method.

    March 3, 2011 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Joy

    If your married, just have a combined Facebook account. Simple. And don't accept past relationship friend requests, because that will take you down memory lane, when it was left there in the first place.

    March 3, 2011 at 09:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Panda1895

      Facebook accounts with more than one person on the account (couple's account) are against terms of service and can get your account banned.

      March 3, 2011 at 11:06 | Report abuse |
    • Lydia

      I disagree. If your marriage can't withstand a "friend request" from an ex, it isn't that strong to begin with– both my husband and myself are friends with our exes on FB. We trust eachother, that is what a strong marriage needs. Period.

      March 3, 2011 at 12:05 | Report abuse |
    • kls817

      @lydia:
      I see a red flag here, possibly. Men generally aren't "just friends" with women, especially ones that they find attractive, and any "ex" is going to be attractive. Maybe you know your husband better than I do, or maybe your in denial. I hope its the former but beware of the latter.

      March 3, 2011 at 17:09 | Report abuse |
    • Kristin

      @kls817 I agree that you shouldn't be FB friends with your exes since you already have a romantic background with them. However, it is wrong to suggest that women and men can't be friends. I am a woman with female friends, but most of my friends are male because I have more in common with them (metal music, comic books, ridiculous movies, not constantly wanting to talk about "feelings", etc.) Friends will say inappropriate things because they're guys, but that definitely doesn't kill my friendships.

      March 4, 2011 at 13:16 | Report abuse |
  9. Deliverance

    Anything can be used for good or evil. BUt unfortunately when you leave it in the hands of people it will become SELF serving and thus we turn it into an addiction and time consuming gossip online. Everyone is someone else online (no face to face truths and we can hide behind our typed words) and we are becoming more and more impersonal and disconnected and Facebook is just a way of speeding that process up. I cannot stand to be talking with someone in person and while i'm looking at them they are looking down and texting as if they could care less that we are in a conversation. I do not ever put people on hold on the phone when i have another call beeping in- to me that is rude... as if the converstaion with who called you is not as important as the one beeping in. Facebook is basically a chat room where words flow freely and everyone feels important and they can type their feelings, opinions, perspectives and gossips with no consequences and we can pretend to be "involved" in people's lives without having to actually be involved in real life.
    It is sad how we are becoming isolated and distant and SELF destructing with the help of technology.

    March 3, 2011 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Karen

      So, well said Deliverance......It's really upsetting to me too how impersonal so many people have become and not even purposely. It's all they've known, especially the up to 30 crowd.

      March 4, 2011 at 23:22 | Report abuse |
  10. bnakka

    I totally agree with fantasizing about past flames while offing. I have reconnected with 3 exes like that because of that. Fortunately I was single and after the hookup realized how much I did not want to be with them anymore and broke it off.

    I am married now and tell my wife about every email, phone, text or tweet I get from an ex. What she knows can't hurt her.

    Gaming is as detrimental as cheating.

    March 3, 2011 at 10:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. JLUV

    I dont think of old flames on da book i enjoy my old classmates i havent heard from in years!

    March 3, 2011 at 10:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. JLUV

    I only enjoy finding classmates i havent heard from in years!

    March 3, 2011 at 10:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Sarah

    Facebook doesn't make people cheat. Selfish people who don't respect their partners make themselves cheat. If you don't want to be with the same person for the rest of your life (or theirs), don't get married.

    March 3, 2011 at 10:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Nunajer Bidnis

    This is a fringe benefit of Facebook. It is helping to destroy relationships which probably ought never have occured. If your relationship isn't sound enough to survive the day-dreams of a Facebook reconnect, then end it–the sooner, the better.

    Be sure to trip into your reconnect fantasy. By all means, hook-up; either try and hide it or do it in front of your partner. The cold steel taste of reality is a lesson needed by all though trapped in a prolonged adolescence.

    Some people can't self-destruct soon enough. It's good to know that Facebook is there to help. Dude, I let my life unravel–suckered again by virtual reality.

    March 3, 2011 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Social Psychologist

    Finally - someone gets the problem with Facebook! What that evil twit Zuckerberg doesn't understand - or doesn't want YOU to understand - is that many people like myself have Facebook accounts only to keep tabs on their significant others to make sure their healthy marriage does not get slowly eroded by the mythical or pseudo-relationships originating in Facebook. Many of my friends too lament having to have a Facebook account we don't really use just so we can watch our wive's walls and friend lists - and so our wives can use our names when she says "I'm married to [INSERT]." In this way Zuckerberg is an evil genius. All he needs is to get half the world to join to get the whole world to join and then he claims he's served more people than McDonald's.

    Facebook is relationship cancer. It is not better to have 40 connections than 30 - 30 than 20 - 20 than 10, especially when these are shallow and potentially destructive to the one really meaningful relationship you already have. And I sympathize with the other poster who complains about yet another Facebook article on CNN.com - but this one is necessary to balance all the others that contribute to an epidemic of ADHD relationships and possibly a culture of infidelity.

    March 3, 2011 at 10:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Richard

      That is so perfectly written!!!!

      March 3, 2011 at 10:56 | Report abuse |
    • Vavoom

      A bit extreme but point noted. My wife and I are tech savvy but do not have Facebook accounts to keep the outside noise to a minimum. We have enough drama as it is and are not really interested in opening ourselves up to more of needless bantering.

      March 3, 2011 at 10:59 | Report abuse |
    • Nunajer Bidnis

      Yes...of course; you've no interest in Facecrook, but then your wife or girlfriend joins. Now you absolutely have to join and immediately downgrade her to a 'friend'. After that it's a game wherein you do nothing fun to avoid trouble...while checking her page to see exactly how much fun she's having and what kind of trouble is therefore coming your way.

      Great...and all you wanted was a real life relationship.

      It's an evil genius place...Suckerborg forces dyads via one-off joins, then as the more social of the two gains more and more friends, the victim's page turns more and more dejected, angry and insidious. He's marked as a sleeper-cell or eventually fire from his job...once your soon-to-be ex- befriends your boss and he sees your pathetic page.

      More-over, with that personal info. left open to all sorts of micro-economic demographic manipulation, marketing SOBs swoop-in with whips, chains and lubrication for your woman, while offering you cuckold blind-folds, ball-gags and bus tickets back to your mama.

      Hah! ha ha ha–Ah-whaa-hah-hah-ha!

      March 3, 2011 at 11:06 | Report abuse |
    • Cabincreeper

      Uh, Social Psychologist...exactly how "healthy" is your marriage to begin with that you feel the need to "keep tabs on" your spouse and publicly crow about it? Sounds to me as if you had marital problems long before either one of you got on FB.

      March 3, 2011 at 11:11 | Report abuse |
    • Anna

      If you are so controlling you have to have a Facebook account to spy on your mate, you should be seeking couples therapy. Those are signs of both severe trust issues and a risk for emotional and physical abuse.

      March 4, 2011 at 09:37 | Report abuse |
    • nickii

      OH come ON!! lets not take the xtreme side of this situation, this is just lIKE books were against somes people believe and the books were burned, or when tv was created and PEOPLE STILL SAYING THAT CAN BE REALLY DANGEROUS. Lets not satanized TECHONOLOGY , FACEBOOK is no the DEVIIL, people that uses facebook have very different reasons to use facebook, like you can read here , some of us we only use facebook to be in concact with friends that no longer live in the same countrie, family and also to find people. Lets stop and think that TV, WWW, SOCIAL WEB SITES WERE CREATED WITH THE INTENTION to connect people world wide, SOCIETY IS THE ONE THAT ABUSES TECHNOLOGY TO hurt people, destroy relationships, or gossip about some one that is **friend*** and also destroy carriers. It depends on how every person uses their account. FACEBOOK is just another way for inmature , dishonest, selfish people to cheat. Is good t that people don´t forget that cheating is cheating, it does not matter if its only on the computer, THAT IS CHEATING!!, it does not matter if it is by text messaging **THAT LADIES AND GENTLEMEN IS ALSO CHEATING**, and finally it does not matter if you are just talking on the phone **CHEATING**. Having respect for partners is the matter here, as long as you have the understanding with your significant other that cheating in every social form is cheating, you will be ok, lets go to basics, if you feel and see that your bf/gf is not the commited person that you think she/he is , if you feel like facebook, twitter, messanger..could be a dangerous thing on your realation ship, be mature enough to talk abou with the one you loved, is better to have a fight once that have a bad break up, or a divorce. An ADVISE if you think that you can not handle a commitment but at the same time you don´t want to be alone, SAY IT , it will depend on the other person if she/he decides to stay, at least you were honest about it and if you date or see some one else the other person arleady knew and it wont be any misunderstanding and specially it wont be any discussion , cse they knew!!

      April 2, 2011 at 13:55 | Report abuse |
  16. LJT

    Sadly, I know of two marriages that have gone toe up because of FB. Both of them were happy marriages too.

    March 3, 2011 at 10:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lydia

      I doubt they were that happy...probably kinda like "social psycologist" up there who believes you should be on FB to "stalk" your wife.

      March 3, 2011 at 12:10 | Report abuse |
    • firestar

      Not Facebook's fault. Lack of true commitment is the problem. If they were committed to their happy marriages, they would have realized they were spending too much time talking to whoever they ended up cheating with and ended it early on, to go back and focus on their marriage.

      March 3, 2011 at 13:50 | Report abuse |
    • Juststarting

      Now you know 3. I filed for divorce after I caught my wife talking about marrying another guy on her FB. Secrets. Our marriage was like everyone else's good and bad. But after more than 2 yrs of trying, counseling etc I finally saw the light. She can have FB, I'll get the kids. Thanks FB, I have all the evidence I need.

      March 3, 2011 at 22:34 | Report abuse |
  17. Meredith

    I wonder how old the author and all of the people submitting comments are. I joined Facebook at the very beginning in 2004, which also happened to be my Freshman year of college. I became FB friends with every single person I met...clearly the friendships weren't all deep and long-lived. For me FB is a way to keep in touch and find out what random people, to whom I would probably never speak, are doing. I hardly think accepting a FB friend request from an ex would lead to infidelity. Maybe there's a bit of a generation gap in regards to the use and superficiality of FB.

    March 3, 2011 at 10:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Linda

      I'm 27, and I was never interested in sparking up relationships when I was on MySpace, but I guess I'm just that kind of person. I have some friends who are women, my age, and gossip about guys on facebook. I guess some people are not fazed at all at the prospect of lying or being dishonest to their partner, Me on the other hand, I would NOT be able to sleep at night! That's what I mean, I'm just not that kind of person.

      March 3, 2011 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
  18. Linda

    I'm happily married. I've witnessed my parent's and friend's relationships/marriages fall apart because of infedility. It's always someone catching the other in the act. My question is, where does it begin and how do you know? I mean you don't want to be snoopy and distrust your partner if he/she has a facebook account or some other resource to be easily in touch with other people. I feel like its always the last person in the world that could do this to you, and its always sooo shocking. So you may say you "trust" your partner, what does trust do for you if you've been wrong all along? That's what scares me, is being totally in the dark and never finding our because you "trusted" someone.

    March 3, 2011 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Social Psychologist

      "FROM Cabincreeper: Uh, Social Psychologist...exactly how "healthy" is your marriage to begin with that you feel the need to "keep tabs on" your spouse and publicly crow about it? Sounds to me as if you had marital problems long before either one of you got on FB."

      All is well. But in the beginning when you jealously guard your fragile relationship against known and emerging threats, you want to keep tabs knowing that while PRIVACY is OK, Facebook offers too much SECRECY. The woman who I eventually made my wife is a woman with a rather broad relationship history, we're talking about a dozen men spanning relationships of all types and levels - and all of whom are chomping at the bit to get back in - and don't seem to care that she's married and pregnant!

      March 3, 2011 at 11:39 | Report abuse |
    • sockpuppet

      Social either you are paranoid and jealous, which is a problem within YOU....or your wife is too free and easy with men (as in flirtatious) and gives you a reason to feel that way. Either way, that is NOT a sound marriage. You need to get some counseling. I am in a marriage here we don't even flirt on a friendly level, because it's inappropriate if you are married, and we have total and complete trust of each other. That's how it should be.

      March 3, 2011 at 14:22 | Report abuse |
  19. Mickey

    This is the fourth "Facebook and Infidelity" article I've read on CNN.com. Slow news year, I suppose.

    March 3, 2011 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. ygbfsm

    This thing called crackbook I just can't handle it
    this thing called crackbook I must get round to it
    I just ain't ready to quit
    Crazy little thing called crackbook
    This (This Thing) called crackbook
    (Called Crackbook)
    It cries (Like a baby)
    In a cradle all night
    It swings (Woo Woo)
    It jives (Woo Woo)
    It shakes me all over like a jelly fish,
    I kinda like it
    Crazy little thing called crackbook

    Here comes my EX-baby on crackbook
    She knows how to Rock n' roll
    She drives me crazy
    She gives me hot and cold fever
    Then she logs off and leaves me in a cool cool sweat

    I gotta be cool relax, get hip
    Get on my crackbook
    Take a back seat, hitch-hike
    And take a long ride on my wireless keyboard
    Until I'm ready
    Crazy little thing called crackbook

    I gotta be cool relax, get hip
    Get on my crackbook
    Take a back seat, hitch-hike
    And take a long ride on my wireless keyboard
    Until I'm ready (Crackbook Ready Freddie)
    Crazy little thing called crackbook

    March 3, 2011 at 10:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Taneisha Jackson

      i like it that is fly

      March 3, 2011 at 15:08 | Report abuse |
  21. lacoaster

    I know what this article is about because I lived it. I ended up closing the account since I allowed for things to get too personal and experienced some intense unnecessary emotional drama. I'm responsible for myself and the things I have I acquired through sacrifice. Instead of using facebook I switched hobbies, now I just complaint once in a while at CNN blogs here and there to keep my adrenaline and dopamine flowing. Sarah, you have an interesting point right there lady.

    March 3, 2011 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Inki Kim

    WOW. What's next? An article on "how walking down the street leads to infidelity"? Are you serious?

    March 3, 2011 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Loud Noises

    It doesn't matter if your lover found an ex on facebook, or they find some easy person to go in the handicap stall with them at Chili's after one to many watered down margaritas. If they are going to cheat, they will cheat. Facebook isn't to blame. Cheating has happened since the dawn of mankind.

    March 3, 2011 at 10:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bigrick

      statistically – I am sure there are so many more cheaters since FB than prior. No numbers...sorry, but think about it and it cannot be disputed. This would prove that FB along with other online social networking, gaming, and dating sites has at least facilitated infidelity.

      March 3, 2011 at 13:16 | Report abuse |
  24. kazz

    seriously? we're still writing articles about this? or did you write this two years ago and submitted it now for rent money?

    get a real job!

    March 3, 2011 at 10:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Tifosi

    Articles like this remind me why I don't have a FB account. Yes, you can live without one, folks.

    Be Zen and live in the present–not the past.

    March 3, 2011 at 10:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • firestar

      How do you stay in touch with people who live far away, won't email you, and don't like phone calls?

      March 3, 2011 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
  26. Richard

    Facebook is dumb. Why do people have to let everyone know what they're doing every minute of the day??? If I wanted to stay connected to all the "lost friendships" I think would have stayed in contact with that person in the first place and they wouldn't have become "lost." I can't wait for Facebook to crumble......hopefully soon!

    March 3, 2011 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Karen

      Good point Richard, I've often said that to myself a few times........the thing I do like about FB is seeing all the pictures of old friends, not spending time talking to anyone in particular. Here and there some private messages but other than that I post some pictures to share and write a comment. That part is fun and wouldn't happen otherwise.

      March 4, 2011 at 23:30 | Report abuse |
  27. Larry

    My life is just too busy for updating a facebook. Where do people find the time for twitter, myspace, facebook, etc?

    March 3, 2011 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nunajer Bidnis

      It's for students, the unemployed, irresponsible and cheating housewives.
      For advertisers, it's direct mail 2.0 – track your personal preferences mail – face mail delivered by face-crooks.

      March 3, 2011 at 11:17 | Report abuse |
    • firestar

      People use it while at work or have replaced another hobby with it.

      March 3, 2011 at 14:02 | Report abuse |
  28. Matt

    Good article. Its happened to me and with the person I am with. We had added our x's as friends and it turned into a disaster for the relationship. At this point we have disconnected from facebook and have been away from it for several months now. This has eliminated almost all of out "fights."

    March 3, 2011 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Easy Pickings

    When I was in a band and on myspace I could hook up with any number of vulnerable lonely and married women. Sometimes on the very same day as reaching out to them on the social network. It was very sad to think of all these guys out there, working, doing the daily grind without a clue of what their wife was doing on the web. The married women would give all the typical excuses – he doesn't appreciate me or, we're getting seperated (of course he didn't know that yet), etc.

    March 3, 2011 at 11:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bigrick

      ...and visa versa no doubt

      March 3, 2011 at 14:28 | Report abuse |
  30. Religious sects

    Infidelity is a choice. People know what is and is not appropriate, Facebook does not make you do anything.

    March 3, 2011 at 11:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jinx

      "Infidelity is a choice"... I hate blanket statements like this! Most everything in life is a choice! Comments like you just made show how naive and self-righteous you really are.

      March 3, 2011 at 11:23 | Report abuse |
    • Fric

      @jinx.....It is a choice. Call it any kind of staement you want. It's called being simplistic in my eyes. The only thing that caused infidelity is bad decision making. And you get "self-rightous" out of that comment is beyond me. Sounds like it struck a nerve with you. Been doing some cheating, have you?

      March 3, 2011 at 11:28 | Report abuse |
    • jinx

      @Fric... I am on the receiving end of a “Facebook bomb”. I caught my wife having an affair thru Facebook. So articles like this back my opinion of how destructive Facebook can be. Those of you that shrug articles like this off and make light of them please have a little compassion for those that have felt the pain.

      March 3, 2011 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
    • Social Psychologist

      Facebook still bares responsibility for the inordinate pressures put on unsuspecting persons. If you decide not to be carried away with the current, you have to swim against it! Facebook supplies too rough a current for some swimmers.

      No one is saying that the cheater does not bare ANY responsibility, but I would say the responsibility is a shared one between every Facebook cheater in the world and that adolescent Zuckerberg who will continue to prove into his 40s, 50s, and 60s that there are juveniles of all ages.

      March 3, 2011 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
    • sockpuppet

      jinx I am sorry your wife cheated on you, but if you think FB caused it, then that is a huge reason why your marriage failed. Something was wrong with your marriage, and you don't seem to be aware of that. I am not saying it's your fault, but usually a marriage fails because there are problems on both sides.

      March 3, 2011 at 14:26 | Report abuse |
    • bigrick

      Social Psychologist says: "but I would say the responsibility is a shared one between every Facebook cheater in the world and that adolescent Zuckerberg "

      Hmmm – this is like saying Henry Ford bares some responsibility for every car accident

      March 3, 2011 at 14:33 | Report abuse |
    • Genmark

      @bigrick

      You say (and so true...)"Hmmm – this is like saying Henry Ford bares some responsibility for every car accident"

      Exactly!!!
      How can anyone or anything be responsible for my actions...
      There's loads of temptations out there in real life and in cyberspace, and FB is just another excuse not to look at the real facts of why the relations ship isn't working out as you want it to.
      It's always easier to blame someone or something else for what is going wrong, than to take a sincere look at my part in it...but in the long run that s*** just stacks up and pulls you down.

      March 4, 2011 at 09:25 | Report abuse |
  31. norcalmojo

    Translation:

    The writer got caught cheating on his wife and managed to convince her it's all Facebook's fault

    March 3, 2011 at 11:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Smexy

      LOL. I would not doubt it ...

      March 3, 2011 at 11:41 | Report abuse |
    • firestar

      So very very true. "I didn't plan it. It just happened." Blah, blah, blah.

      March 3, 2011 at 14:04 | Report abuse |
  32. Alljustified

    Look, I don't understand the facination with Facebook. Why someone would open up their lives-who they are, status, likes and dislikes, is beyond me. We already have "Big Brother" able to monitor our every move, so why would you GIVE people access to your private LIFE? Employers look at these things and can judge you based on the content, buisnesses, etc.. I do not have an account for those reasons alone, I am married, and have no desire, nor do I want to "OPEN" a door to any past relationships that I had. You are asking for trouble and as one person stated, infidelity was probably in your heart anyway, Facebook just allowed you to act it out. Plus infedelity=divorce=alimony=child support=broken famalies.

    March 3, 2011 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fric

      I find it very useful in keeping up with my family and friends that live out of state. It kills me people want to gripe about their personal information being violated. Just what are you people putting on there? Your banking account numbers? The kind of underwear you wear? The size of your penis?

      It's pretty simple, if you don't want anyone to know anything, DON'T PUT IT ON THERE!!! Who the hell ever said the internet is private? And if you don't know how to protect yourself, that's no one's fault but your own.

      March 3, 2011 at 11:32 | Report abuse |
    • Fric

      I find it very useful in keeping up with my family and friends that live out of state. It kills me people want to gripe about their personal information being violated. Just what are you people putting on there? Your banking account numbers? The kind of underwear you wear? The size of your pen!s?

      It's pretty simple, if you don't want anyone to know anything, DON'T PUT IT ON THERE!!! Who the hell ever said the internet is private? And if you don't know how to protect yourself, that's no one's fault but your own.

      March 3, 2011 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
    • Fish

      Fric you beat me to the response! You decide on what you put out there and who can see it through the privacy settings. I don't out anything on my FB I wouldn't care if my kids, spouse or even boss to see and I don't allow anyone in unless I know them. Even then I could still share everything with my parents, but they won't get on FB because they still think they are "in touch" with e-mail...

      March 3, 2011 at 13:04 | Report abuse |
    • sockpuppet

      exactly-there are people who post every time they have a fight with their husband, and others who just post when their child wins an award. There is no reason to put it all out there. I use it everyday and stay connected with distant friends and relatives, I have over 125 people on there, and only a few young people lay their lives bare for the whole world to see (and I chalk that up to plain immaturity). The rest all act appropriately and I don't know anything about them they don't want me to know.

      March 3, 2011 at 14:29 | Report abuse |
  33. Jessica

    Soooo what!!! let's more worry about porn it shall be banned on the internet. Sex is natural but not porn! Me & Im sure thousands of others want this action!! Porn should be more privatized since it is a private manner. Believe me teens knows how to stop the computer filter, they are not dumb! Why are we so immoral letting this happen to our youth? I support facebook infidelity started a long time ago, it's up to the individual.

    March 3, 2011 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Jessica

    PORN LEADS TO INFIDELITY

    March 3, 2011 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Meh

      Do you read those trashy love novels for ladies? Not much difference there other than its words rather than pictures which is they way its meant to be since men work on visual impulses rather than mental images and words which is what gets women going. Id hate it if there was any hypocrisy in your statement of course.

      March 3, 2011 at 12:58 | Report abuse |
  35. Jimbo

    If you are cheating on your spouse, its not because of facebook. Thats like saying, "I'm allowed in this bank so I have to rob it..."

    March 3, 2011 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Social Psychologist

      Replace bank with a river, and you'll see how you should not allow metaphors to drive your thought processes.

      "If you get into a river and then its current increases and you decide not to be swept away by the current, you have to swim against it!"

      March 3, 2011 at 12:22 | Report abuse |
    • bigrick

      Jimbo – more banks would be robbed if it were easier to do, and if people thought they could get away with it and the consequences were not so severe (loss of freedom and/or life). This is one of the attractions of FB...it makes cheating much easier to pull off than without it. People do think they can get away with it...or they feel justified in going down the path. The consequences can be grave of course...loss of family, etc...but to many this is not even in the same league as going to jail. Then, once pulled into it...I do like Social Psychologists analogy of being swept away by the current.

      March 3, 2011 at 14:45 | Report abuse |
  36. jinx

    I am on the receiving end of a “Facebook bomb”. I caught my wife having an affair thru Facebook. So articles like this back my opinion of how destructive Facebook can be. Those of you that shrug articles like this off and make light of them please have a little compassion for those that have felt the pain.

    March 3, 2011 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rock

      /Sad panda face
      sorry to hear it bro

      March 3, 2011 at 13:00 | Report abuse |
    • Byrd

      Same thing happened to three friends of mine, so you're not alone out there. I tried it for a month or so, deleted my account and will never go back. There's some truly evil stuff going down on FB and I'll have no part of it.

      March 3, 2011 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
  37. Social Psychologist

    >>>"Uh, Social Psychologist...exactly how "healthy" is your marriage to begin with that you feel the need to "keep tabs on" your spouse and publicly crow about it? Sounds to me as if you had marital problems long before either one of you got on FB."

    While all has been generally wonderful, I have pointed out to her how this one friend's comments about her breasts in pregnancy crossed a line. One joke about how a woman's breasts get bigger in pregnancy is one thing, but when he carried it through an entire day's worth of posts and ended up asking her to come and over and photograph them, I had to draw the line. She agreed. Who knows? Maybe in some ways he's a victim too, swept up by what he thought was anonymity and escalating hormones during the thread. By her account, he had been a good friend to her innocuously for years before we even met - even through her previous marriage. He is no longer her friend.

    In the beginning when you jealously guard your fragile relationship against known and emerging threats, you want to keep tabs knowing that while PRIVACY is OK, Facebook offers too much SECRECY. The woman who I eventually made my wife is a woman with a rather broad relationship history, we're talking about a dozen men spanning relationships of all types and levels – and all of whom are chomping at the bit to get back in – and don't seem to care that she's married and pregnant!

    March 3, 2011 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sockpuppet

      that sound like a problem with your wife. SHe should have put a stop to that with comment number ONE. She clearly allows men to cross a line with her, which is why they feel they CAN. I don't have a single friend that would dare pull that nonsense with me (even if they would have in my dating days) because they KNOW I am a married woman and fully committed. This sin't FB fault, it's your wife's.

      March 3, 2011 at 14:32 | Report abuse |
  38. Exactly

    Facebook is used mainly for shameless self-promotion. Most people, that I saw on there when I used to be a member will friend people with whom they were never friends? Why? To what end? It is these ulterior motives that make facebook more of a shamebook. Come on now guys, no one has hundreds of friends or even more than 10 friends. When we get older we are lucky to have one or two. Now we have hundreds. It is destroying our ver definition of friendship. People will argue that it's all about how you use it, however it is a community and other use it in many ways I disagree with and will not be a part of it because of that.

    Facebook does damage and does play into people's fantasies of "look how great I am" " look how great others are" Who would actually post the negative aspects of their lives which I think are equally important as the postive ones because it is how we learn. But, instead many people show this huge wall of fantastical lives and the lives of people around them. Facebook is a fantasy world and I will have no part of it.

    March 3, 2011 at 11:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jinx

      TWO THUMBS UP!!

      March 3, 2011 at 12:02 | Report abuse |
  39. Jonathan

    The reason you see Facebook ads is because a lot of people can relate to the article, 'impact,' and because of that fact, a lot of people will be interested in the article – driving ad sales.

    March 3, 2011 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Byrd

    CNN should just become an affiliate of Twitter and Facebook. That's practically all HLN talks about these days.

    Note to journalists (that lets CNN off the hook): Nothing that happens on either Twitter, Facebook or You Tube is news. Nothing.

    March 3, 2011 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Michael

    Facebook does not promote affairs. Facebook does not cause affairs. Weak individuals unable to take control of their own lives cause affairs. Plain and simple.

    March 3, 2011 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RMAnderson

    Grow adults spending time on FaceBook are just asking for trouble. Either regarding infidelity, tons of wasted time better spend working or being productive or throwing their private lives out for all to see.

    Quoting "The Hangover"......"...and dont text me (or Facebook me!)...its g@y!"

    March 3, 2011 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. AJ

    There are some people we are supposed to forget about. Unfortunately, with Facebook and other sites like it, those people still have a point of re-entry as long as we participate in them. The best thing to do is either not add them as friends or delete your account all together - because even with not being friends you can still view some photos or send messages. I know my marriage means more to me than connecting with people from the past or anyone else that has the potential to tempt me to step out on my wife.

    March 3, 2011 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Gabor47

    Human relationship will go through a rather major change with the development of computer technology, communication, social networks, in more than one way. How was in the past? People met face to face, they either fell in love with each other or not.
    I have my own theory which boils down to this (not proven, nearly rejected by everybody I shared it with): what we call "love" is a unspoken, mostly even unrecognized physical attraction, which was modified by mankind's thinking mind. If anyone can really believe that out of 3 billion people (of the other gender) he or she really found that "real one', the "soulmate" is a fool, because the statistical probability to find that ONE "real one" is about 1 to 3 billion. Which is far less than winning the lotto jackpot. Yet, most people at one point in their life believe that they found that "real one". That is a thousands of years old not intentional, but self deception. Suggestive proof? The divorce rate since divorce became really easy. Now, let's take a look at the way the computer world will (does already) modify that.

    These days more and more often people don't encounter each other physically, thus the instant physical attraction can't play a real role in the development of the relationship. Instead, people must "meet" far more than ever before on an intellectual basis, they can discover each other's range of interest, subjects, priorities, etc. In the long run, I think this will IMPROVE the quality of the relationships.

    March 3, 2011 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Social Psychologist

      The argument that stronger bonds are forged through the Net and that these bonds are right to supersede and prune weaker ones created before the Internet (or before Facebook) is limited. You still have to physically co-exist with a person to determine if you two are good together - and history is rife/replete with examples of Internet romances that have been exposed subsequently as frauds founded on illusions. Facebook makes it too easy to primp and polish your image and you can exclude as much reality as you want. On the other end, you have someone who is more than willing to see only the illusion. In the end you have a relationship that is, to mix metaphors, a glass house of cards with clay feet built on a foundation of sand.

      But for the sake of argument let's assume you met someone with compatible interests and points of view through Facebook. So by your example, Facebook provided you with a relationship. And let's say you marry this person. You still have the same problem ... you still have to protect this marriage against other people on Facebook.

      March 3, 2011 at 12:35 | Report abuse |
  45. jonnyposter

    So far I have survived without facebook, though my wife and 2 chirldren each have their accounts. My son claimed he deleted his account recently because it was distracting from his studies, but word has it he is back. My lesbian daughter had to intervene to stop an interstate brawl caused by her new girlfriend's posting to my daughter's ex girlfriend's facebook about one of her friends. They live 2 states apart but had agreed to a fistfight duel in Phillie. Having heard about the rash of murders over facebook posts, I was glad she spent the 2 hours and 5 phone calls to quell this 'social' disturbance. It highlights how stupidly out of hand people are getting over their pictures, poses, and irrelevant posts. Who cares? I got better things to do! I plan to avoid it until I die in the year 2056.

    March 3, 2011 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Meh

    I just had a little gas but its better now...see? I didnt need some advertising billboard to let a lot of folks know either so CNN must even be better and more useful than FATbook.
    Nobody cares about your stupid fatbook posts. They may seem important but they really arent. Youre just addicted.

    March 3, 2011 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Arjuna C.

    Great article!

    March 3, 2011 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. chantz bouguars

    dong benders are a way of life for mexican familys

    March 3, 2011 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Brian

    People who are going to be unfaithful to their spouse will be unfaithful to their spouse. I am not sure that Facebook makes them any more or less likely to do that.

    March 3, 2011 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. mitchell

    add mitchell courtney on facebook

    March 3, 2011 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.