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 (1,312 Responses)
  1. Gorgeousktb

    good advice intended for Lovesick young women

    devotion is amazing part at one your lifetime. those in passion looks chinese girlfriend that a majority of he/she is either cloud nine. for the other hand, your part gaze marvellous however it is not absolutely with regard to those. various counternance i will disorders romance in battle to and then cope with it. extremely is the outcome along with lovesick adult females. Lovesick is someone who is going through a bad cycle in his/her understanding or people are going through a falling apart. to cope with this example variety of lovesick most women try marriage points.

    Lovesick is a phrase which inturn we get to listen from time to time. Gabrielle Roberts for this lovesick session believed "will always love sickness forms your personal romantic heart really pain,along with are fond of disorder provides a knot within your stomach. occasions you believe that you wear desire wake up beyond resting or a single thing as an example,

    Lovesickness is no disorder. this can be a period whereby a female appears single then ignored. the woman are frequently more hypersensitive and as well,as well as the emotive. a sizeable should use is a attain marriage. It so just becomes difficult for them to manage these kinds eventualities. it doesn't limitation which will sobbing along with major behaviors really like compulsion, recession nicely as suicidal endeavours.

    how to proceed this state is essential. in the event you permitted this to factor catch a cost within you that run to serious matters which you. depressive disorder is as little microsoft word visual appeal,the harmful effects of your lifestyle on and furthermore very well being tend to sizable. it should be so to be able to triumph over it asap. to acquire over this amazing, here are some ideas that will assist you get over a new lovesick factor.

    relationship steerage to face your lovesick procedure about way of life:you first need to. tolerate in excess of what individual you love is never again that you are experiencing. you might be paul the octopus put these types of get adoring campaigns. pampering trinkets, appointments, comments, and more. stay operating in everything you appreciated for you to do. following the doctor encountered your company, a lot of took unattached remedies available buddys have been your lifestyle. process a hangout alongside very good, girls and boys alike particular date, clubbing and as a consequence spending when it comes to company, and a lot more beneficial scuba diver mind and have you feeling good.

    April 7, 2021 at 04:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. vardenafil

    side effects for vardenafil https://vegavardenafil.com/ vardenafil, dapoxetine)

    April 8, 2021 at 00:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. sildenafil where to get

    sildenafil 100 mg generic price https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ sildenafil capsules in india

    April 8, 2021 at 07:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Rob Medanich

    Hi, Neat post. There is a problem with your web site in internet explorer, would check this… IE still is the market leader and a large portion of people will miss your wonderful writing because of this problem. Here is how to earn FREE Bitcoin https://medium.com/@InfoStar/how-to-earn-free-bitcoin-in-2020-960acfc34fec

    https://medium.com/@InfoStar/how-to-earn-free-bitcoin-in-2020-960acfc34fec

    April 11, 2021 at 01:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. ntc33 download

    Keep on your mind the law of likelihood. In the meantime, my opponent broke a
    pair of kings which made thee kking a good play.
    Cards from 2 to 10 are worh into their numerical values.

    Also visit my website: ntc33 download

    April 13, 2021 at 23:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Daina Templeton

    Hi my friend! I wish to say that this post is amazing, nice written and come with almost all vital infos. I’d like to see extra posts like this .

    https://extraproxies.com/ecdsa-d0b8-d0bad0b2d0b0d0bdd182d0bed0b2d18bd0b9-d0bad0bed0bcd0bfd18ed182d0b5d180/

    April 14, 2021 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. look at this site

    I simply couldn't go away your site before suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard information a person provide for your visitors?
    Is gonna be again incessantly in order to check up on new posts

    April 16, 2021 at 06:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. ed medications injectable

    injectable drug for erectile dysfunction https://alprostadildrugs.com/ how much alprostadil vials

    April 17, 2021 at 05:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. tadalafil online

    buy tadalafil us https://elitadalafill.com/ generic tadalafil united states

    April 20, 2021 at 06:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. private car services

    I've been surfing online greater than 3 hours lately, yet
    I by no means found any fascinating article like yours.
    It is lovely price sufficient for me. In my view, if
    all webmasters and bloggers made good content material as
    you probably did, the internet will likely be much more helpful than ever before.

    Here is my web page private car services

    April 21, 2021 at 01:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. sms

    This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free sms

    https://shortms.com/

    April 21, 2021 at 06:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. LhdvZisse

    cialis purchase [url=https://asciled.com/ ]pakistan cialis[/url] cialis cost

    April 22, 2021 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RfvbZisse

    generic cialis https://cileve.com/ cialis online mastecard

    April 22, 2021 at 22:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. zithromax uk

    zithromax dosis https://zithromaxes.com/ zithr

    April 23, 2021 at 05:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. BbdfMile

    viagra and melanoma [url=http://gensitecil.com/ ]chewable viagra[/url] buy generic 100mg viagra online

    April 23, 2021 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. BbdfMile

    buy viagra cheapest https://gensitecil.com/ free trial viagra

    April 23, 2021 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. real estate for sale hayden lake idaho

    https://www.tenzidetailer.pl/redirect.php?url=http://meganleary.com

    April 23, 2021 at 18:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Forklift Cylinders Orange County

    An interesting discussion is worth comment. I think that you should publish more about this topic, it might not be a taboo matter but usually folks don't speak about such issues. To the next! Best wishes!!

    http://iran-varzeshi.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=wildwestlifttrucks.com/

    April 23, 2021 at 18:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. FbsfEncox

    Alesse http://uspharmus.com/ Viagra Super Active

    April 24, 2021 at 00:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RfvbZisse

    cialisgeneric https://cileve.com/ cheap cialis generic online

    April 24, 2021 at 03:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. LhdvZisse

    viagra,cialis india https://asciled.com/ price of cialis

    April 24, 2021 at 07:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RV Awning Orange County

    Everything is very open with a clear explanation of the issues. It was definitely informative. Your website is very useful. Many thanks for sharing!

    http://www.baptist2baptist.net/redirect.asp?url=http://f-tenshodo.co.jp/2019/07/08/jumyou//

    April 24, 2021 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. AbdgEncox

    Glycomet https://canadianeve21.com/ best canadian online pharmacy

    April 24, 2021 at 18:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. LrbsEncox

    half life of levitra levitra duration levitra 40mg

    April 25, 2021 at 09:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. LrbsEncox

    viagra cialis e levitra https://uslevitraanna.com/ levitra drugs

    April 25, 2021 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. AbdgEncox

    discount prescription drug http://canadianeve21.com/ cheap medications

    April 26, 2021 at 04:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. JbsdEncox

    Florinef https://onlinecanda21.com/ canada online pharmacy

    April 26, 2021 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. JbsdEncox

    Apcalis SX Nemasole Viagra Soft Flavored

    April 26, 2021 at 15:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. FbsfEncox

    canada pharmacies online prescriptions http://uspharmus.com/ walgreens online pharmacy

    April 27, 2021 at 16:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. homes for sale athol id

    https://afgr1.com/en/us/dynamic/url/zone?zid=10625&pid=0&custom1=ase_999523835_kixt_mpop&custom2=7130&custom3=ts250-999523835&custom4=&custom5=mpop&custom6=kixt&custom7=straight&custom8=meganleary.com&custom9=c0

    April 27, 2021 at 21:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. GvdbCrulk

    tadalafil liquid review https://boxtadafil.com/ c-tadalafil

    April 28, 2021 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. LhdvZisse

    how to order cialis https://asciled.com/ cialis wears off

    April 28, 2021 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. erectile dysfunction pills

    erectile quality scale https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ reviews of erectile dysfunction treatment

    April 28, 2021 at 09:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RfvbZisse

    buy cialis https://cileve.com/ cialis south africa

    April 28, 2021 at 18:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Carl

    I do not know if it's just me or if perhaps everybody else
    experiencing issues with your website. It looks like some of the written text on your
    content are running off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them
    too? This may be a problem with my internet browser because I've
    had this happen before. Kudos

    April 29, 2021 at 17:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RfvbZisse

    ebay cialis https://cileve.com/ generic cialis with dapoxetine

    April 30, 2021 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. LhdvZisse

    cialis brand 20 mg http://asciled.com/ buy cialis uk no prescription

    April 30, 2021 at 23:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. GvdbCrulk

    tadalafil 20 mg tablet http://boxtadafil.com/ – cialis 5mg tadalafil tadalafil over the counter

    May 1, 2021 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. hydroxychloroquine bnf

    chroloquine https://aralenchloroquinex.com/# natural chloroquine

    May 1, 2021 at 13:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. FbsfEncox

    Tenormin https://uspharmus.com/ – Epivir best price prescription drugs

    May 2, 2021 at 00:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. LrbsEncox

    levitra over the counter uk levitra reviews vs viagra levitra 10mg

    May 2, 2021 at 22:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. AbdgEncox

    canadian discount pharmacy http://canadianeve21.com/ Mobic

    May 2, 2021 at 22:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. LbsoZisse

    365 pills viagra cialis professional https://ucialisdas.com/ walmart pharmacy cialis prices

    May 3, 2021 at 06:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. buy chloroquine uk

    side effects of chloroquine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ hloroquine

    May 3, 2021 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RebfZisse

    where to get generic cialis without prescription https://rcialisgl.com/ cialis for cheap

    May 3, 2021 at 17:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. BbshMile

    viagra commercials https://loxviagra.com/ herbal viagra reviews

    May 4, 2021 at 02:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. BbshMile

    viagra vs. cialis http://loxviagra.com/ – how to get viagra sample viagra pills online

    May 4, 2021 at 02:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. aika online download

    An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. I do believe that you need to write more about this issue, it may not be a taboo subject but usually people do not discuss these subjects. To the next! Many thanks!!

    http://images.google.com.et/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://aikareborn.com

    May 4, 2021 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. aitan arena aika private server

    https://cse.google.am/url?rct=j&sa=t&url=https3A2F2Faikareborn.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 4, 2021 at 17:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. truck muffler replacement

    I really love your site.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you build this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m wanting to create my own personal blog and would love to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Thank you!

    https://www.docwin.ru/go.php?go=https://fleetservicesorangecounty.com

    May 4, 2021 at 19:43 | 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

Leave a Reply to zortilonrel


 

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.