home
RSS
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 (634 Responses)
  1. JbbvEncox

    online pharmacy canada medication pharmacy medicine online shopping

    February 8, 2021 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. froleprotrem

    whoah this weblog is fantastic i love studying your posts. Stay up the great work! You understand, many people are hunting around for this info, you can help them greatly.

    http://www.froleprotrem.com/

    February 8, 2021 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. https://europa-road.eu/hu/transportation.php

    I’m no longer sure the place you are getting your information, however great topic. I must spend a while learning more or figuring out more. Thanks for fantastic information I was searching for this info for my mission.

    https://europa-road.eu/hu/transportation.php

    February 9, 2021 at 05:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. https://europa-road.eu/

    I'm so happy to read this. This is the type of manual that needs to be given and not the random misinformation that is at the other blogs. Appreciate your sharing this greatest doc.

    https://europa-road.eu/

    February 9, 2021 at 05:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Europa-Road

    Hey, you used to write excellent, but the last few posts have been kinda boring?K I miss your tremendous writings. Past few posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!

    https://europa-road.eu/

    February 9, 2021 at 06:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Newport House Clearance

    I just like the helpful information you provide on your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again right here regularly. I'm moderately certain I will learn plenty of new stuff right right here! Good luck for the next!

    http://www.dumpawaste.co.uk

    February 9, 2021 at 08:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. froleprotrem

    Heya i am for the primary time here. I found this board and I to find It truly useful & it helped me out much. I'm hoping to provide one thing back and help others like you aided me.

    http://www.froleprotrem.com/

    February 9, 2021 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. FqhhEncox

    canadian drugs canadian pharmacy drugs online mexican pharmacies online

    February 9, 2021 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. froleprotrem

    excellent post.Never knew this, appreciate it for letting me know.

    http://www.froleprotrem.com/

    February 9, 2021 at 20:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. NakitaLGulla

    Does your blog use a contact page? I'm having problems locating it but, I'd prefer to
    send an e-mail. I've got a bit of recommendations for your personal blog you might be considering hearing.
    In either case, great blog and that i enjoy seeing it develop as
    time passes.

    Also visit my web page: NakitaLGulla

    February 9, 2021 at 23:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. JbnvCrulk

    bill me later cash advance 2014 online payday loans in utah cash advance portland or

    February 10, 2021 at 07:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. AqcfTeneseelt

    super strength cialis cialis super active vs cialis prescription for cialis purchase

    February 10, 2021 at 11:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. tadalafil 40 mg daily

    erectafil 20 mg https://tadalisxs.com/ what is tadalafil

    February 10, 2021 at 13:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. hydroxychloroquine tablets

    hcqs tablet https://hydroxychloroquinex.com/ hydroxychloroquine sulfate 200 mg tab

    February 10, 2021 at 14:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. generic zithromax 500mg

    zithromax 500mg tab https://zithromaxes.com/ azithromycin 500mg chlamydia side effects

    February 10, 2021 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Alidrync

    Like I said before, I LOVE the credit spread trade. You will probably narrow your search down to three or four possible online trading websites.

    Like I said before, I LOVE the credit spread trade. Details cvv shop on our website. https://cvvdumps.cc/

    February 11, 2021 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Alidrync

    And there is. What is psychology? It has been said that it is the 'science that deals with mental processes and behaviour.

    It is something that has a lot of risk involved and it should be taken very seriously. Cvv shop when do you need cvc cvv. https://cvvdumps.cc/

    February 12, 2021 at 04:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Kbbfseelt

    myrtle beach viagra http://kloviagrli.com/ differences between viagra levitra and cialis

    February 12, 2021 at 19:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Napoleon Longstaff

    Earn 500 a Day With Our Passive Income System Doing These 3 Steps – Step 1: Get our ready made niche websites, Step 2: Setup your Paypal account. Step 3: Run our Unlimited Traffic System from our Free 850 sources of traffic (Approximately 35000 views a day guaranteed). Then in few hours you will start receiving payments without do nothing! More info: https://www.k3reviews.com/2020/08/16/monster-mode-700k/

    https://www.k3reviews.com/

    February 13, 2021 at 00:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Lael Chauncey

    Earn 500 a Day With Our Passive Income System Doing These 3 Steps: Step 1: Get our ready made niche websites, Step 2: Setup your Paypal account. Step 3: Run our Unlimited Traffic System from our Free 850 sources of traffic and start earning your income in same day. More info: https://www.k3reviews.com/2020/08/16/monster-mode-700k/

    https://www.k3reviews.com/

    February 13, 2021 at 00:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. FbsgZisse

    generic cialis? cialis (lillys) cialis 20 mg

    February 13, 2021 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. LabxEncox

    nitrates and cialis does cialis raise blood sugar taking cialis every day

    February 13, 2021 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. KvaxMile

    buying car with cash or loan california payday loans direct lender payday loan promo codes

    February 13, 2021 at 20:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. NbnhZisse

    buy viagra no rx sildenafil 100mg price how much is viagra 100mg

    February 14, 2021 at 07:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. AhbzEncox

    24 hour payday loan direct lenders loan money instantly cash advance franklin oh

    February 15, 2021 at 09:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Buy Proxies Cheap

    Loving the information on this site, you have done great job on the articles.

    https://dreamproxies.com/proxy-tag/100-best-private-proxies-buy/

    February 16, 2021 at 04:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Best-Social-Media-Services and-Traffic-2021

    500000 Scrapebox Blast Live SEO blog Comment Backlinks: https://www.seoclerk.com/Link-Building/842132/500000-Scrapebox-Blast-Live-SEO-blog-Comment-Backlinks

    https://www.seoclerk.com/Traffic/833336/I-will-drive-20000-google-organic-visitors-using-targeted-keywords

    February 16, 2021 at 09:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. JbbnEncox

    cialis che cos e pharmacie blanchet cialis comprar cialis generico fiable

    February 16, 2021 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. 1000000GSA Backlinks

    Create a profitable digital marketing strategy and plan: https://www.seoclerk.com/Virtual-Assistant/840836/I-will-create-a-profitable-digital-marketing-strategy-and-plan

    https://www.seoclerk.com/Link-Building/842081/1-000-000-GSA-Live-Backlinks-High-Quality-SEO-links-Bad-Links-Removal

    February 16, 2021 at 19:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. FqbbEncox

    how to get out of payday loan debt in alabama need cash loan today ireland cash advance loans in alexandria va

    February 17, 2021 at 23:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. plaquenil 400

    chloroquine phosphate vs hydroxychloroquine hydroxychloroquine zinc hydroxychloroquine sulfate

    February 18, 2021 at 08:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Social Media

    Best Marketing Services – Cheapest on Market. SMM Supreme is the Top 5 Best Social Media Website in the World. Best Quality-Price Ratio on the market with 714,928 orders until now. – Facebook Fan Page Likes for $4.50/1000 – Instagram Followers for $0.78/1000 – Youtube Views: $1.62/1000 – Twitter followers: $2.10/1000 – Paypal Deposit – Bitcoin Deposit – Fast order processing – 1 Hour Delivery Our Website: https://smmsupreme.com/services

    https://bit.ly/3iOPatX

    February 19, 2021 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Social Media

    Do you want get more social network traffic, likes, and retweets? SMM Supreme uses his own panel system to generate social media traffic to any website. Best Quality-Price Ratio on the market with 714928 orders until now. – Facebook Fan Page Likes: $4.50/1000 – Instagram Followers: $0.78/1000 – Youtube Views: $1.62/1000 – Twitter followers: $2.10/1000 – Paypal Deposit – Payeer Deposit – Automatic order processing – Our Website: https://smmsupreme.com/

    https://bit.ly/2Hnl7vE

    February 19, 2021 at 18:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. SocialMedia Services2021

    Best Marketing Services – Cheapest on Market. SMM Supreme is the Top 5 Best Social Media Website in the World. Best Quality-Price Ratio on the market with 714,928 orders until now. – Facebook Fan Page Likes for $4.50/1000 – Instagram Followers for $0.78/1000 – Youtube Views: $1.62/1000 – Twitter followers: $2.10/1000 – Paypal Deposit – Bitcoin Deposit – Fast order processing – 1 Hour Delivery Our Website: https://smmsupreme.com/services

    https://bit.ly/3iOPatX

    February 19, 2021 at 18:25 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Leave a Reply to Stacey Fernandez


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

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.