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 (1,424 Responses)
  1. dapoxetine

    dapoxetine 60mg buy priligy usa

    March 14, 2021 at 23:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. combigan

    generic brimonidine brimonidine side effects

    March 14, 2021 at 23:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. avana

    avanafil cost avana 200 mg

    March 14, 2021 at 23:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. 918kaya game

    I visited many websites but the audio quality
    for audio songs current at this site is in fact superb.

    My blog post 918kaya game

    March 15, 2021 at 00:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Megalis

    megalis 20 tablet use in hindi megalis 20 mg

    March 15, 2021 at 01:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. id test 918kaya baru 2021

    At this time I am going away to do my breakfast, after
    having my breakfast coming over again to
    read other news.

    Here is my page: id test 918kaya baru 2021

    March 15, 2021 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. erekoitosizu

    http://mewkid.net/when-is-xuxlya3/ – Buy Amoxicillin Amoxicillin 500mg bjx.gkzf.thechart.blogs.cnn.com.xrx.im http://mewkid.net/when-is-xuxlya3/

    March 17, 2021 at 04:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. ifaottufzoh

    http://mewkid.net/when-is-xuxlya3/ – Buy Amoxicillin Amoxicillin rno.yrqn.thechart.blogs.cnn.com.rkc.kt http://mewkid.net/when-is-xuxlya3/

    March 17, 2021 at 05:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. link building tips

    If you want to know the secret to home startups and small businesses success, here it is; there is no secret. It's shocking, but it's true. There are keys to success, and there are tips for success, but there are no secrets. What many marketers try to sell as being a big secret is really common knowledge that is based on common sense.


    March 19, 2021 at 08:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. chứng minh tài chính du học

    Thankfulness to my father who informed me concerning this webpage, this blog is really awesome.

    March 20, 2021 at 06:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Digital Marketing Agency

    I've been exploring for a little for any high-quality articles or blog posts on this kind of space .
    Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this site. Reading this info So
    i'm satisfied to exhibit that I have a very good uncanny feeling
    I found out just what I needed. I such a lot undoubtedly will make certain to do not
    forget this site and provides it a look on a constant basis.

    March 20, 2021 at 16:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. cách chứng minh tài chính du học

    Hi, I do believe this is a great web site. I stumbledupon it ;
    ) I will revisit yet again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue
    to help others.

    March 21, 2021 at 01:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. frolep rotrem

    I like your writing style genuinely loving this internet site.


    March 21, 2021 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. JvbdCrulk

    https://essaywritera.com/ – college essay writing service medical school essay writing service services essay essay writing services toronto

    March 23, 2021 at 07:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. GrvCrulk

    https://kloviagrli.com/ – how to make homemade viagra https://vigedon.com/ – can i take viagra twice a day https://llecialisjaw.com/ – black cialis https://jwcialislrt.com/ – lowest price cialis https://jecialisbn.com/ – cialis 20 milligram

    March 24, 2021 at 10:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Austin Friehe

    My brother suggested I may like this website. He was once totally right. This post truly made my day. You can not believe just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!


    March 24, 2021 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Kalyan Nagar escorts

    Thanks, this is a great list. I’m now following around half the folks I’ve commented on – so for me this has been a double win – the comment and the further reading material that helps me and my blog!


    March 24, 2021 at 11:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Kari Caddle

    The heart of your writing whilst sounding agreeable in the beginning, did not sit properly with me personally after some time. Somewhere throughout the paragraphs you were able to make me a believer but only for a very short while. I still have got a problem with your leaps in assumptions and one might do well to help fill in those breaks. When you actually can accomplish that, I will surely end up being impressed.


    March 24, 2021 at 12:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Scottie Kridel

    I believe this website holds some real superb info for everyone :D. "Anybody who watches three games of football in a row should be declared brain dead." by Erma Bombeck.


    March 24, 2021 at 14:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Mitch Kloss

    A lot of whatever you point out is astonishingly accurate and it makes me ponder why I had not looked at this with this light before. This particular piece really did turn the light on for me as far as this particular subject matter goes. Nevertheless at this time there is actually 1 issue I am not necessarily too comfortable with and while I attempt to reconcile that with the central theme of your point, permit me see what all the rest of the visitors have to say.Nicely done.


    March 24, 2021 at 16:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Roscoe Funderberg

    Fascinating blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your design. Bless you


    March 24, 2021 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Veola Voller

    Good ?V I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your site. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs and related info ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Reasonably unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, website theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Excellent task..


    March 24, 2021 at 22:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Yer Lorino

    Thanks for the update, can I set it up so I receive an alert email when there is a new post?


    March 24, 2021 at 23:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Scarlett Demeyer

    I love the efforts you have put in this, thank you for all the great blog posts.


    March 25, 2021 at 04:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. LmoppEncox

    http://essaywriteris.com/ – easy essay writer best website for essays write my essay for me best essay website

    March 25, 2021 at 05:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Modesto Kuy

    Do you have a spam issue on this website; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation; we have developed some nice procedures and we are looking to swap techniques with other folks, why not shoot me an e-mail if interested.


    March 25, 2021 at 06:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Bonnie Yanek

    I like the valuable info you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I am quite certain I will learn many new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!


    March 25, 2021 at 07:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Horacio Hindall

    I got what you intend, thanks for putting up.Woh I am glad to find this website through google. "The test and use of a man's education is that he finds pleasure in the exercise of his mind." by Carl Barzun.


    March 25, 2021 at 08:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Clarisa Suet

    Some really interesting information, well written and broadly speaking user friendly.


    March 25, 2021 at 09:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. JvqqEncox

    https://dissertationahelp.com/ – dissertation proposal example doctoral dissertation writing help uk dissertation help examples of dissertation proposals

    March 27, 2021 at 01:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. BrfgMile

    https://ljcialishe.com/ – free samples of cialis https://cialisvja.com/ – cialis 20mg price https://viagraonlinejc.com/ – free samples of viagra https://viagratx.com/ – viagra results https://buycialisxz.com/ – cialis heartburn

    March 27, 2021 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. free casino money

    luckyland slots casino https://casinoxsonline.com/ casino gambling in tenn

    March 27, 2021 at 16:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. free casino games no registration no download for free

    casino new buffalo mich https://casinoxsbonus.com/ doubledown casino promo codes

    March 27, 2021 at 17:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. online casino no deposit bonus codes

    red stag casino free no deposit bonus https://casinoxsplay.com/ restaurants at the new york new york casino

    March 27, 2021 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. best casino apps for ipad

    play casino https://casinoxsgames.com/ us client tree casino click here to play

    March 28, 2021 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. jarge Playmn

    Hello! It's a best video downloader online – FastFrom, allows to save all videos from internet to you mobile or PC.


    March 29, 2021 at 05:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. winning slot machines at casino

    free casino cash no deposit usa casinos https://casinoxsbest.com/ san manuel casino play online

    March 29, 2021 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Fred Yanai

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular post! It is the little changes that make the biggest changes. Thanks for sharing!


    March 29, 2021 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. dfdsfgsdfgdsf https://google.com 3293176

    dfdsfgsdfgdsf https://google.com

    March 31, 2021 at 05:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Phillip Schepp

    I like it whenever people get together and share views. Great blog, stick with it!


    March 31, 2021 at 09:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Yipidv

    hit upon Boyfriend heading put in discussions produced by

    excellent Boyfriend is just not have to get having a family! How additional union drawback

    what are the results if your boyfriend is just not would like to get having a family? can you imagine so santa will make it obvious of simple fact that cares about it far in your case, wedlock isn a alternative within the eye lids? whilst it is uncomfortable to know the foregoing, It helpful in that it allows you time to truly get where by by the dog's program is.

    the man you're dating landed experience adjoined to your future. It not actually something you wish to admit, But the simple fact will be the it the fact. then you quizzed her dad relevant to married anf the either one shied away from the subject or perhaps hangover remedy,hangover remedy hasn answered. The the pair of you did every little thing along side each other and was so much fun. bear in mind, you previously these days knew that your boyfriend is not as attentive as just before. surely, The latamdate scam escape to paris course is passed between your two of you. you understand, undeniably, That this is actually man for yourself. He anything you always planned in just a life partner nowadays you are waiting during the day when he makes a decision he can live life without either. and, a lot men're hard to clean and simply as being mule it is much better to lead people than to running. this means you need to read how to make girlfriend come back to you prepared to give. Learn the solution and you could win back your ex. put on absolutely lounge round on top of that anticipate your company fella to do this. quick start your working relationship made by compelling your boyfriend to brew a commitment. you will add will cheat your boyfriend to finagle a proposition. a longer term marriage specializes in two users who investment identical convictions and as well love one another. but unfortunately, you should reexamine you conclusion to avoid a new wrong continue. Once women have relations with their ex. the girls which are asking themselves methods tips to get boyfriend in their lives for the purpose it is needed to consider the tactics and thus ways which will help you get a boyfriend.

    April 1, 2021 at 05:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Terrilyn Pegram

    Hello there! I just want to offer you a big thumbs up for your great info you have right here on this post. I will be returning to your web site for more soon.


    April 1, 2021 at 22:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. escorts in R. T. Nagar

    I was wondering u did not mention the most sought after terminology used in all the blog commenting articles and that being dofollow. So, are these a mix of dofollow and nofollow attribute blogs or one should overlook this factor while commenting?


    April 2, 2021 at 05:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. ช่างกุญแจบ้าน

    Hi there, after reading this amazing paragraph i am as well delighted to share my experience
    here with mates.

    April 2, 2021 at 07:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. AbgcEncox

    https://thesiswritingtob.com/ – thesis printing thesis writing service phd thesis proposal thesis express

    April 3, 2021 at 00:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. tadalafil dosage

    buy tadalafil us https://elitadalafill.com/ tadalafil pills 20mg

    April 4, 2021 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. https://topxhub.info/categories/v-chulkah-i-kolgotkah

    Молодые и созрелые сучки вполне далеко не видят
    абсолютно ни какой меры. Все они имеют возможность отсосать
    члены полюбившихся парней
    прямиком на любой улице.

    Подобные милочки вставляют пенисы
    наиболее поглубже в рот, а затем сблаженством познают густую сперму.

    Темноволосые и белобрысые куколки снимают нижнее белье перед фотокамерой в пользу того чтобы попихаться в ароматные
    дыки и упругие аналы. Такой медиа-контент заводит ничуть ни в коем случае не меньше нежели эротические видео.
    Быть уверенным в этом деле
    вы лично можете прямо сейчас.
    Заграничное и фото изобразит вас,
    что на самом деле современный сильный оргазм.

    Не упустите возможность нагнать
    реальный кайф и передернуть свой член.


    April 5, 2021 at 10:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. https://golyefoto.net/categories/minet

    Молодые а так же взрослые девки вовсе совершенно не знают никакой границы.
    Они умеют отсосать приборы полюбившихся мужчин откровенно на улице.
    Эти милочки впихивают члены весьма поглубже в горло, а затем
    с блаженством познают густую сперму.
    Темноволосые и белокурые
    модели снимают трусишки перед фотокамерой в интересах того чтобы позаниматься сексом в ароматные щелки и тугие жопки.
    Этот медиа-контентзаводит нимало далеко не меньше
    нежели эротические видео. Быть уверенным в этом вы лично сумеете прямо немедленно.
    Иностранное и также фото изобразит вам, что такое
    настоящий сильный оргазм. Ни в коем случае не упустите возможность настигнуть настоящий кайф и вздрочнуть
    свой фаллос.

    April 5, 2021 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. injectable erectile dysfunction medicine

    alprostadil drug guide nursing implication https://alprostadildrugs.com/ how does alprostadil treat erectile dysfunction

    April 5, 2021 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. ty so bong ro

    This film is also based on a true story and shows how the group became a unifier in the divided community.|I am sure many child has dreamed about getting paid to play sport on a job. You've probably already purchased the jerseys, hats and football fan gear. You can also have a cake that is shaped like a football.|Now, get under the bar, get tight, and explode up. In addition to dealing with overcoming their opponents, they now also to be able to deal without the pain . weather. They are much more potent than actually drinking your caffeine.|Develop researches and studies regarding each game and its players. Watch them closely during team drills when must be waterproof work together with other players. This is a perfect football strength exercise.|Try reading up these tips and apply them to your own online football betting. When making bets, buying a be without doubt you will win each pixel bet you make. This bell sits in front of Bancroft Hall in Annapolis.|By adding chains or bands, you can use a moderate bag but work the legs and back even harder. You can easily get online and look clean websites offering this assistance. These games are patterned after American Football.|Dominate the clock and a person a better chance of success. The higher priced football fundraisers that are sold, add more money per produced. You can think of scrapbooks based on a football design and style.|True football fans can get several scarves which form a tier. A Quarterback will only throw a great deal of balls attending the target if he's positive about that guy or girl. Next, select bedding that the child will like.|They have Sleepers, Super Sleepers, Suit Analyzers, News Updates, . . .. Even kids do this putting any one of their prized possession online. If simply make notice something obvious you deserve get rid of.|If for example the next betting options possess a higher risk, the money given ought to lessened. The thing to do is have your children participate in outside regular activities.|Coaches lose sight of this in the high school and youth football standard. Trivia: did you realise why Rugby League generally known as as in these? Each game is played using a different involving strategy and skills.|They only vary from the rules, techniques, and number or game enthusiasts. Never consider football betting as significantly like any game of chance. Because of this, I really could train greater than everyone.|Your son does not need to failure to pay in baseball because he is too busy playing football. Should the scarf heading to be to show that, go for they. These games are patterned after American Football.|The idea and trend soon infiltrated the warmer regions like South America and later the rest of the world.


    April 5, 2021 at 20:03 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

Leave a Reply to Roscoe Parton


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.

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.