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 (1,423 Responses)
  1. RebfZisse

    cialis price canada https://rcialisgl.com/ cialis&dapoxetine

    May 5, 2021 at 00:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. FmrfEncox

    dgeneric cialis http://cialisee.com/ cialis professional

    May 5, 2021 at 01:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. international durastar

    bookmarked!!, I like your blog!

    http://alternativeconsumer.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvfleetservices.com

    May 5, 2021 at 01:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. financial memberships

    I'm extremely pleased to find this web site. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every part of it and i also have you book-marked to look at new stuff on your blog.

    https://clients1.google.cd/url?rct=t&sa=t&url=https://mastermindofmen.com

    May 5, 2021 at 04:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. LbsoZisse

    cialis a domicilio new jersey http://ucialisdas.com/ cialis stores

    May 5, 2021 at 04:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. isuzu nqr

    I really like reading through a post that can make people think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

    https://image.google.ps/url?sa=i&url=https://fleetautorepairshop.com

    May 5, 2021 at 06:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. avana

    avanafil 100 avana

    May 5, 2021 at 08:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Eyewear Near Me

    I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this blog. I really hope to check out the same high-grade blog posts from you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own, personal site now 😉

    https://the-emissary.me/lscookie/lscookie-redirect-php.php?lscookie=1&url=http3A2F2Fbettersightovernight.com

    May 5, 2021 at 08:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Generator Near Me

    https://map.google.cg/url?sa=t&rct=j&url=https://ocrv.guru

    May 5, 2021 at 10:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. truck maintenance near me

    I was extremely pleased to discover this page. I want to to thank you for ones time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely loved every part of it and i also have you book marked to check out new things in your blog.

    http://www.evertkok.nl/informatica/PHP/test2.php?a%5B%5D=Minecraft+Gratuit+(<a+href=https://boxtruckrepairshop.com

    May 5, 2021 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. volvo semi truck repair near me

    I really love your website.. Great colors & theme. Did you make this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m hoping to create my own site and want to find out where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Kudos!

    http://ricsajok.hu/?wptouch_switch=desktop&redirect=http3A2F2Fcommercialvanrepairshop.com

    May 5, 2021 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. AnooEncox

    videos efectos viagra http://llviagra.com/ viagra a los 80

    May 5, 2021 at 23:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. marketing training near me

    https://image.google.sk/url?q=j&source=web&rct=j&url=https://realchrisburns.com

    May 6, 2021 at 01:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Contact Lenses Near Me

    https://map.google.to/url?sa=t&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Fbettersightovernight.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 6, 2021 at 04:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. fast food open near me

    http://salesandcoupons.com/LinkTrack/Click.ashx?ID=7&url=https://promotionalproductsforless.com

    May 6, 2021 at 05:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Vsp Providers For Glasses

    https://map.google.com.bo/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https3A2F2Fsunglasseseyedoctorsoptometristphoenixaz.com&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNGaY_nlK9ozc51fqwjiVdMaYZL7rg

    May 6, 2021 at 05:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Orthokeratology Near Me

    http://www.dau.cc/redir.php?url=https://bettersightovernight.com

    May 6, 2021 at 08:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. LebnEncox

    best online pharmacy stores http://xlnpharmacy.com/ medical pharmacies

    May 6, 2021 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Frame Orange County

    Great post. I will be dealing with many of these issues as well..

    http://www.kaigono-tsudoi.jp/jump.php?to=https://ocrvcenter.net

    May 6, 2021 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. furniture repair shop near me

    An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. There's no doubt that that you need to write more about this subject, it might not be a taboo subject but usually folks don't speak about these issues. To the next! All the best!!

    https://vine-vine.tk/video/t0giPblv7dk

    May 7, 2021 at 00:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. LebnEncox

    online pharmacy discount code 2018 https://xlnpharmacy.com/ Aldactone

    May 7, 2021 at 01:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Forklift Repair Near Me

    http://video.abdouexpress.com/watch?v=PgO6MrX7rSc

    May 7, 2021 at 02:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Steam Beer

    https://image.google.com.na/url?sa=t&url=https://craftbrewersofboise.com

    May 7, 2021 at 02:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. AnooEncox

    viagra jaka dawka http://llviagra.com/ – is buying viagra from canada safe diferentes clases de viagra

    May 7, 2021 at 05:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Forklift Dealer California

    https://map.google.cz/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://forkliftrepairorangecounty.com

    May 7, 2021 at 06:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. self storage near me

    You are so interesting! I don't think I've read through something like that before. So good to discover someone with genuine thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

    https://www.raiffeisenmarkt.de/ClickInfo?URL=https://eyedoctorphoenixaz.com

    May 7, 2021 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. vinyl wrap for rv

    https://www.musiclessons.com/youtube/watch?v=wLWhHnFu2PA

    May 7, 2021 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Forklift Rental Orange County

    http://contacts.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://forkliftdealernearme.com

    May 7, 2021 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Forklift Tires Los Angeles

    This is a really good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate information… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

    http://fooyoh.com/nowwatch/watch/UVAfKfhBrXE

    May 7, 2021 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Bitter Beer

    https://www.machineriesforest.com/mark.php?url=https://craftbrewersofboise.com

    May 7, 2021 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. JebgEncox

    online pharmacy no rx https://pharmacylo.com/ pharmacy rx one reviews

    May 7, 2021 at 18:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. diners near me

    After going over a handful of the articles on your site, I truly like your technique of writing a blog. I book marked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Please visit my website too and tell me your opinion.

    https://enersoft.ru/go?http://forkliftsforsalenearme.com

    May 7, 2021 at 20:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. JebgEncox

    Zestril https://pharmacylo.com/ rxpharmacycoupons

    May 7, 2021 at 20:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. GtnbCrulk

    how often can i take viagra https://jokviagra.com/ non prescription viagra

    May 8, 2021 at 00:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Content Marketing Companies

    http://fortunasport.it/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 01:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Google Marketing Agencies

    This is a really good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate information… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!

    http://doxadaily.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 06:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Social Media Marketing Specialists

    I could not refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!

    https://www.enu.kz/go.php?url=https://affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 06:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Seo Marketing Quotes

    http://www.ontest.wao.ne.jp/n/miyagi/access.cgi?url=http://affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 07:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. window blinds repair san diego

    http://ideamine.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.com

    May 8, 2021 at 07:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Google Marketing Contractor

    https://www.summitlumber.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 07:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Internet Marketing Programs

    After exploring a few of the blog posts on your website, I honestly appreciate your technique of blogging. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my web site too and let me know what you think.

    https://www.conexco.ir/redirect/redirect.php?url=https://www.affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 09:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Digital Marketing Agencies

    http://marketingnewsbox.com/view.php?u=http://affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. FmrfEncox

    cialis tablets australia https://cialisee.com/ how can i cialis without custom delayed in canada

    May 8, 2021 at 18:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Internet Marketing Job

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this article and also the rest of the site is really good.

    http://qinxue.com/index.php?r=jump/index&pos=10&go=http://affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 21:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Bedroom Riverside

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Thank you for providing these details.

    https://aii.sh/CBPQc

    May 8, 2021 at 22:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Maintenance Riverside

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful post. Many thanks for providing this info.

    https://b.link/v9kdxu

    May 9, 2021 at 02:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Social Media Marketing Masters

    https://test.www.feizan.com/link.php?url=https://affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 07:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Content Marketing Ideas

    I really like reading an article that can make men and women think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

    http://www.gicse.in/r?url=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Internet Marketing Store

    http://www.jakadi.net/atc/out.cgi?s=60&l=topgallery&c=1&u=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Content Marketing Association

    Very nice post. I absolutely love this website. Stick with it!

    https://www.libertyphotos.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 18:16 | 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 Content Marketing Ideas


 

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.