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. Fish

    I recently had a co-worker confide in me that he and his wife were having problems because of this exact topic... It doesn't have to be FB though... CNN blog, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, and there are many other on-line ways to reach other people. Um Face to Face even. It's all in your commitment to the relationship you are in to not do anything stupid.

    March 3, 2011 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Monblaze

    Lmao! @ comments
    Some of you take this too serious
    Some have good points
    Some don't know what this is about
    Hype or no hype; it doesn't hurt.
    No need for conspiracy theories
    Facebook,technology just like everything in life
    Has advantages n disadvantages
    Work out your lives yourself, don't pass on the blame

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

      Opinion read and stored

      March 3, 2011 at 13:05 | Report abuse |
    • Genmark

      Soooo true...

      March 4, 2011 at 10:25 | Report abuse |
  3. cynical

    Wow Ian you are so good about not cheating on your wife!

    Do you really have something to hide from her and that's why you wrote this article? Because then it's a great "cover up"! Real smooth!

    March 3, 2011 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. mojoman

    Interesting article. However, I guess I won't ever have this problem. All my ex-girlfriends turned out to be losers, had 10 kids, and gained 150 lbs.! It's funny how often this is the case.

    March 3, 2011 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • firestar

      A lot of respect you have for women, there, mojo.

      March 3, 2011 at 14:09 | Report abuse |
    • Peewee

      Did you grow up in New Hampshire?

      April 7, 2011 at 19:26 | Report abuse |
  5. Whatthef

    If you're going to cheat, you'll cheat whether or not you're on FB. If you're going to be disconnected from your family, that will also take place whether or not you're on FB.

    It may facilitate a weak relationship but I find it hard to believe it can cause a weak relationship.

    March 3, 2011 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Social Psychologist

      With that kind of skepticism - and lack of imagination - we could have gone another year or two before we noticed millions of vanishing Jews from Germany.

      It's a slow process. You get sucked in. It's like gaining 20 pounds over 4 months from eating a small pint of Ben and Jerry's after every meal. You get sucked in. Things escalate slowly. The slow transfer of value from the spouse to an ex or even complete stranger. The author does a good job of depicting the insidiousness of the problem - how gradually and imperceptibly someone can get their hooks in you or your spouse. This transfer of value is expedited on days when you and your spouse have an argument - maybe not even an argument over something characterological - maybe just a disagreement on how to cope/deal with a real life stress affecting the both of you (i.e., money, boss, apartment manager raises the rent). But the Facebook friend is insulated from all this. All your conversations with that person are pleasant because they are either all about some other fantasy life or when they do touch on THIS WORLD they are restricted to those things on which you too agree. So suddenly, the other person "appears" to support and understand you better than your spouse. And this other person may not even supplant the spouse, because he or she may not be local or attractive enough, but your interaction with the person still raises doubts about whether your spouse and your marriage is all it could or should be. And that opens doors to other people. Every once in a while everyone is capable of the following thought: "as great as I have everything, I wonder WHAT ELSE is out there. WHAT am I missing?" FB provides the impetus for that thought and the tools to take that thought to action.

      March 3, 2011 at 13:27 | Report abuse |
    • Whatthef

      Nope, don't buy it, Social.
      You didn't even disprove my point. If you're so feeble that you're going to be sucked into FB, then you're also feeble enough to get sucked into any other dilemma. Its like saying its impossible for an occasional drinker to not get sucked into deep alcoholism. That's just not true. Millions of people participate in evil things such as FB and never get sucked into this dark, consuming, fantasy world of which you speak.

      Stop making excuses and enabling the weak. Set the friggin Ben and Jerry's down. Everybody knows it is unhealthy and so do you. Maybe even go for a walk. That evil 20 lbs will never haunt you.

      I just didn't get the whole Jews in Germany thing. Please explain how being a loser on the computer is related.

      March 3, 2011 at 13:53 | Report abuse |
    • Exactly

      Social hit the nail on the head if you ask me. Very well thought out response concerning how relationships are formed and lived. Social isn't blaming facebook if you read it closely, but rather human behavior and how it is and can be affected by social networking sites. I think many people immediately take the defense if they are using facebook because they are hooked and cannot see the forest for the trees.

      March 3, 2011 at 14:17 | Report abuse |
    • Lori Slenker

      Social is right on the money with this one. Currently struggling to come to terms with how my otherwise happy 24 year marriage was torn apart by a family "friend" who seduced my husband on facebook. He did get sucked in, luckily he realized his error and we are working very hard to repair the damage. It is not an easy thing. Anyone who doesn;t think it can happen to the is a fool!

      August 28, 2011 at 13:47 | Report abuse |
  6. Kate

    I think this is a gernerational problem. I'm in my mid 20s and have had Facebook for over 5 years. The majority of my relationships began and ended while I owned a Facebook. I've remained "friends" with my exes on Facebook while I don't actually talk to them in real life.

    While reminaing Facebook friends after a break up can make it harder to move on because you can follow their every move, after awhile you get used to seeing posts about significant others, marraiges, successful careers etc. I don't see those of us who grow up having access to our exs on Facebook falling into this trap.

    There's no mystery or charm to an ex when their day-to-day life has been showing up on your Facebook newsfeed for years.

    March 3, 2011 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Valerie

      That's right folks. We need someone in their mid 20's to explain life and relationships to us. Come back in about 15 years when you actually have something intelligent to add, the grown ups are talking.........

      March 3, 2011 at 15:02 | Report abuse |
    • Crystal

      Valerie, yes people in their mid 20's are not old, but some are exceptionally mature and have a well rounded understanding of life and people. Alot of old people are stubborn and refuse to try and see the world outside of their one track mind. Your response itself was pretty immature and unintelligent, great job. Young and old shouldn't matter, we all have different experiences and opinions, we should listen and learn no matter how old the speaker or listener.

      April 7, 2011 at 13:04 | Report abuse |
    • Tiffany

      No facebook isn't to blame but it is part of the equation. A relationship like this split up my parents the past few months and my mom wasn't strong enough to say no. She blamed my dad for things that were not his fault and damaged the marriage all because she found her ex. Now in the past 3 months she divorced my dad and married this guy from her past. I have had many exes come and try to use facebook as an in to hang out or have inappropriate conversations with me. I am happy in my marriage and do not want anyone else and once it gets to that point I delete them. All relationships are hard work, sacrifices and knowing when to tell the difference between a friendship and when it's getting out of hand. Oh and Valerie I'm in my 20's and am obviously way more mature than ur old wise self. Why bash people for making comments are you guilty of something. Every point of view helps people who are in this situation and struggling with it. Grow up.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:58 | Report abuse |
  7. Blizzie

    I don't think Facebook leads to infidelity or destroys relationships.... people do! I canceled my account a couple months ago (after three years using it) because too much gossip and drama went on there and I decided that I don't need people lurking around what goes on in my life, specially after the breaking up with my boyfriend..... whom by the way, decided that the best way to end our four-year-long relationship (and engagement) was changing his status on Facebook (...and no, he's not a teenager)

    I repeat, the site doesn't destroy relationships, people do! Stop blaming it on Zuckerberg.

    March 3, 2011 at 13:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Peewee

      Blizzie, I was going to ask you out, but now that you are not on FB, I cannot see your face...

      April 7, 2011 at 19:29 | Report abuse |
  8. CDMH

    I we'll have this problem. My husband keeps 'poking' me online!

    March 3, 2011 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. sockpuppet

    this is ridiculous-Facebook doesn't lead to infidelity–a bad marriage does.... Funny, if you don't want to cheat, you won't. I have former flames on FB–we reconnected, said Hi, sorry for mistakes in the past, and then we stopped interacting (as it would be inappropriate and we both know it). If you are happy in your marriage, you will have no desire to cheat on your spouse, period. It doesn't matter if you meet up with an ex or meet a new person. People need to take responsibility for their own actions-treating a social network as a cause-and -effect is missing the point.

    March 3, 2011 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Easy argument

      Guns don't kill people, people kill people...it's the same lame argument that has no weight or substance. Facebook is very much a large part of many people's lives. Are you saying Facebook doesn't affect people in any way? If it didn't, people wouldn't be using it, period. It does affect people and many people are so out of touch with themselves and others they do not even realize it. Sure in the end the person is the one that makes the decision. However, drugs, fetishes, lazy habits, uncleanliness...etc all of these things affect people and will affter their judments and choices in life. Why would FaceBook be any different...especially if people spend all day on it and use it as their primary means to communicate with others.

      Come on now...face it...facebook is the culprit because many people are weak, ignorant and not headstrong. FaceBook is not good for these people just as drugs are not good for people with addictive personalities.

      I see no difference.

      March 3, 2011 at 15:28 | Report abuse |
    • Valerie

      I agree with easy argument. 100% agreed!

      March 3, 2011 at 16:46 | Report abuse |
  10. Taneisha Jackson

    i like this it is educational

    March 3, 2011 at 15:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Peewee

      do not worry, it will eventually bite you in the back-side

      April 7, 2011 at 19:31 | Report abuse |
  11. Taneisha Jackson

    i love facebook more than anything

    March 3, 2011 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. LadyRoche

    Through life you meet plenty of people you have feelings for some good some bad. Many people love or are attracted to more then one person in their life. No one can be expected to provide everything their spouse, lover, boyfriend, etc. needs. FB just proves this. It's up to each person to determine how far they are willing to carry a friendship, whether it is real or a FB friend

    March 3, 2011 at 15:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Bill

    Totally true. How many married people say so on FB? That tells the whole story. Seeing old high school friends you don't really care about their kids and spouses - you want to go back. But FB is one of life's little pleasures, so who cares?

    March 3, 2011 at 15:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. APINGA

    I don't believe married people have a reason to be on facebook. I tried in vein to keep my wife off the social network, to no avail! Now after 17 years of marriage, we are divorced because she cheated on me with a facebook hook-up. I guess if that venue wasn't available she might have found a different way to cheat. I will never know. The sad truth is the real Facebook victims are our four children!!

    March 3, 2011 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Adam

    Everyone panic! If your spouse uses Facebook there's a 100% chance they're cheating on you! OMG! Everyone panic!

    March 3, 2011 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • APINGA

      Grow-up!!! I never said there was 100% chance, but rather why play with temptation. If your 300 pounds, keep your ass out of the candy store...get it!!

      March 3, 2011 at 16:44 | Report abuse |
  16. Rachael

    My thought on this article is – Why are people being encouraged to be so insecure that they even care about their spouses Facebook usage. My husband would never grill me on my FB posts or read my messages, and would not have married him if he did. The secret to a good marriage is trust and honesty whether you use FB or not! FB is a service and it will not cause you to cheat unless you would anyways. However, the spouse that looks at their partners FB and gets jealous over posts is just as scary as cheating spouse to me. That's how domestic violence starts. Get real people and don't get married or have kids until you are mature enough to be in a relationship.

    March 3, 2011 at 16:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Amy

      I did trust my spouse, and was burned badly. It is goodt that you have a great relationship and can trust your spouse.

      March 3, 2011 at 19:10 | Report abuse |
  17. Chachi25


    March 3, 2011 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. DBCooper

    I completely agree with the points in this article. I too couldn't resist looking up my old high school sweetheart. After contacting her and having an ongoing time chatting, catching up... I developed tunnel vision in regards to our friendship. I didn't want to think of her as the married mother with three kids, but as my old high school girlfriend again. We connected like we did in the past and it was almost a high to do so. Reality set in and I had to put the brakes on what was happening. I couldn't continue going to direction we were and in the end, I had to draw a line as to our "friendship". It's so easy to fan those flames of old with a past love.. If things were different, it would of been great to take our friendship to another level. But, I am too respectful to want to break up her marriage or take what we had to that direction. I feel many people have been in the same position and ultimately the decision they made where to take it, leads to cheating, divorce...etc..

    March 3, 2011 at 17:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. FacebookBad News

    II have been telling people for the past 2 or 3 years that social media is going to cause our generations divorce rate to skyrocket...and, although i have yet to personally see it actually destroy a marriage, i have seen PLENTY of relationships end because of it (I am 25). Thanks for this article.

    March 3, 2011 at 17:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RJ

    "People communicating can't be a bad thing, even if they are not face to face. Its good to share information and ideas, you tube videos, etc. and yes its ok not to be friends with old flames, bad memories, old lovers, etc. unless there is a mutual respect for where one is at now in their life. Its about respect, love, and understanding. Easy, Simple. Very good article to address this modern day important social issue!"

    March 3, 2011 at 18:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Amy

    This article is dead on. My husband got in touch with an old flame and as soon as he could he ran off to go see her under the lie he was visiting family, but she chickened out and wouldn't answer her phone and meet him.

    March 3, 2011 at 19:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • gina

      I had this same experience with my husband. He thinks its ok but 300 calls later I have a different feeling thats its more. IT HURTS SO MUCH.

      March 9, 2011 at 08:13 | Report abuse |
  22. Dan

    It seems increasingly difficult for our society to admit , the stats of staying with the original partner, are not good. They way we set up the guidelines, over time, are very restrictive. Usually one person cannot keep it going.Then we try and wander all over the spectrum for the reason.

    March 3, 2011 at 19:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. John

    I don't understand why people in relationships keep in touch with ex's either through facebook or other means. Is it a safety net in case things don't work in the current relationship? Why be friends with someone you shouldn't be spending time with in person?

    March 3, 2011 at 21:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Jim

    I lost my wife of 10 years, thanks to FB. Now, after 3 years of being apart, I'm thankful, but at the time, it was devastating. I introduced her to FB. I noticed one day what I thought were an abnormal amount of comments from a particular 'friend'. I mentioned it, nicely. "oh, no she said, we're just friends". Anyhow, the woman I'm with now, we met on FB.
    We both still use it. And yet I suffer with my own trust issues regarding it. I'm sure that is my problem and not FB's. But, FB does destroy relationships. Oh, and I'm 49.

    March 3, 2011 at 22:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Justina

    Thanks to obesity American infidelity rate is not that bad.

    March 3, 2011 at 22:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Adalyn

    ...do not get a joint facebook account. It's obnoxious and ridiculous. Your SO is allowed to have their own life and friends, you don't have to STALK them. That's probably responsible for more breakups than them talking to other people on facebook. O_o

    March 4, 2011 at 01:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. John

    I'm not sure why this is so complicated. If you're in a grown-up relationship, there shouldn't be any secrets. If you have secrets from your partner, this creates mistrust. I think you should be open with your passwords on facebook and there will be very few problems caused by facebook. If you want a private chat with your friend, just call them. If you can't call them then they aren't really your friend. Having secret passwords etc. Is like having a locked box in your house that your partner can't open. Just be open and honest and you won't have a problem. If you can't do this, you really should be single.

    March 4, 2011 at 13:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Rhaj

    Met my current fiance on FB, I should say "reconnected"... she shared this article with me the other day... yet another rocky hill we are to climb to ensure the integrity of our relationship. I'm sure my love for her is reality, but she needs reassurance that I am not fantasizing about how our past has influenced my intimate intentions with her for the rest of our lives.

    March 5, 2011 at 10:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RMN

    My fiance we broke up, because of FB.

    March 8, 2011 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Bill

    My wife was always unhappy and insisted on marriage counseling. She would provoke arguments and be difficult. You never knew what would set her off. She was heavy into alcohol and attended AA and was in rehab and jail for DWI on one occasion. When her complaints in counseling made no sense I finally checked out her Facebook account and she had been having a fantasy relationship with one of her exes. She divorced me and moved off to his state to start over. Bottom line is to not get involved with anyone with alcohol issues. They will blame you for them and practice guilt, shame and psychological abuse. Then when they bottom out and clean themselves up they will leave you for someone else to start a new relationship. The new person is clueless of the past. Facebook didn't cause the infidelity it facilitated it.

    April 7, 2011 at 15:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Elle

    Too many people have an invested interest in what everyone else does on a daily basis. Chatting to people they had a crush one at one time or someone they use to date strikes up old feelings. Chatting about relationship problems or how rubbish our lives are makes us feel like someone cares or needed. It makes us feel like a giddy schoolkid or teenager again. Chatting online for hours and having a drunken chat with them whilst your spouse is out or in bed is playing with fire. Its common knowledge that most affairs start online. Facebook is another way to make it look all innocent. We live in a world where the internet is king. People use the " just friends" thing so it doesn't look like something is going on. That is how it starts. It will never work. Its a short term fix that has no happy ending. Just a lot of pain for the people that are left feeling hurt by it all.

    July 16, 2011 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sue

      Elle, I must agree with you. It's far too easy to use the "just friends" excuse when you have the curtain of private messages. I've found myself in this exact predicament with my own boyfriend. Even lied boldly to my face after I asked the nature of their relationship when I saw a message he'd sent to her when I wasn't home. (One night after he'd been drinking heavily, He'd left his fb open and the drop down msg menu open as well.) Turns out, they had been messaging back and forth for several months. Who knows, maybe he even msg'd her when I was in bed asleep? And yes, she knew he was in a relationship with me. The point is, while FB is a great tool to find old friends, TRUE friends, it also has it's drawbacks and makes it too easy for affairs begin, physical or emotional. In the end, I was the one who was left hurt and betrayed.

      January 11, 2012 at 01:44 | Report abuse |
  32. tryecrot

    Yes there should realize the opportunity to RSS commentary, quite simply, CMS is another on the blog.

    August 27, 2011 at 11:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ricky

      that, permit me tell you exctlay what did deliver the results. Your article (parts of it) is actually rather persuasive and this is most likely why I am taking the effort to comment. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Second, although I can certainly see the jumps in reason you come up with, I am not certain of exctlay how you seem to connect the ideas that make the final result. For the moment I will yield to your point but wish in the foreseeable future you link your facts better.

      June 30, 2012 at 23:19 | Report abuse |
  33. Arman

    Dears, the social network websites changes our life, but we shoud lead not be leaded.
    I red some interesting writing at http://www.anti-socnet.com – Social Networks 'may be changing brains', Facebook and Twitter are creating a vain generation etc it's amazing.

    February 4, 2012 at 02:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Misty Maid

    Well my old flame – first boyfriend and me are in touch most day on facebook through PM. I'm married but don't care a hoot as the marriage is dead. Greatest thing out and I'm no spring chicken!

    February 22, 2012 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. lightgal

    When my husband and I joined FB 4 yrs ago, we both agreed that we would not accept friend requests from anyone that we had dated. I thought that this would prevent any problems . Well, I was certainly wrong. My husband went on there and friended hundreds of people within a few months. Many from the FB game Mafia Wars and also from school K- college, family (close and distant), work, and actual "real" friends. At first, our marriage felt fine and he even would put stauses up complimenting me, etc. Then he got the idea (which i now see though) to organize casual get togethers at local bars for ppl from his high school. In doing this a click formed on FB of H.S. "friends" (many of whom he had not even actually known in school). The first get together was for a guy who was coming to town that wk end. A group of ppl (approx. 15) showed up. I went too and it seemed fine. Then this progressed to women coming to town,one gave him her cell # and told him to keep in touch with her the wk end she would be in town so they could arrange a "get together". He told me about her coming to town and that he wanted "us" to go to it but because he never even knew this girl in school. This is when my radar went up. I looked at his fb messages and saw that she gave him her # ending the message with " ;)...Big Hugs ". I confronted him abt this because he and I always agreed that married ppl shouold not text the opposite sex unless work related, etc. I could not believe how badly he wanted to text her and even after we fought abt it he still text her did saying that it was nothing etc. Well, we did NOT go and meet her that wk end and she texted him back 2 days later saying she was sorry he wasn't there and asked how his Memorial Day was. He instantly showed me her text and deleted it. I now feel that he was using theses get togethers as a way to make contact with women and as an avenue to possibly stray?. My point is that it is not just old flames on fb that lead to problems. FB gives avenues for behavior that would be impossible to take place otherwise.Now after this happened, I have looked at his messages and he was contacting tons of women inviting them to these get togethers and some were messaging back and forth. It seemed innocent at the time but I now see how it was just the ground work which could have led to relationships, etc. There were a few other situations on there afterwards that made me uncomfortable and after months of fights and stress in our previously peaceful maariage of 20 yrs, we both left Facebook. That was 7 months ago and we have had many discussions about his actions, my feelings,etc. and have not fought since. If you are married, be very careful with Facebook. It makes it Way too easy for relationships to form even among strangers and IMO, it is the Home Page feature on fb that sets it apart from Myspace,etc. Commenting on status updates is a very easy first step in getting to know someone. Things can then progress from there.

    March 22, 2012 at 13:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sawal

      Superb blog! Do you have any recommendations for asipnirg writers? I'm planning to start my own site soon but I'm a little lost on everything. Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I'm completely confused .. Any recommendations? Bless you!

      July 3, 2012 at 03:28 | Report abuse |
  36. john

    So-True! No-Such "thing as Innocence when it comes to FB affairs". Both-Parties "Are-Guilty and They Know What They Are Doing".

    March 27, 2012 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • lightgal

      Yep...and those first seemingly "innocent" interactions can easily lead to something else if both ppl want it to. Especially if they are appealing to the masses as i now know my husband was. Someone is bound to catch the bait.

      April 1, 2012 at 14:29 | Report abuse |
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  38. Jay

    Cool comments. Looks like everything was covered.
    My own experience was filled with a lot of hurt because I found out the person I married was not the same person she portrayed herself to be. This is called SHOCK. Especially when it happens after 10+ years.
    All it took was 1 person she wanted to hook up with in HS (& vice-versa), but for whatever reason they didn't. So, FB will promote the completion of unfinished business!!! Without it, no one would have time to stalk a person from the past. Now there is great excitement in an otherwise boring life. Could happen to any of us, except it's probably more typical of the jock-cheerleader-popular types.
    I say allow it all to occur and if there is a divorce, then apparently it was bound to happen anyway sometime in the future. With FB, it now allows these weaker people to take the bait earlier thus saving the other spouse from more wasted years in an unsatisfactory relationship. And good riddens to them...

    May 9, 2012 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
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  45. Rhonda Wilson

    My boyfriend and I had been together for 15 yrs. He is from back east and has lived out here for over 20 years. We broke up at the 12th year because he got too close to a couple of women that I did not find out about until later. During that time, our relationship suffered. Even though he did not have sex with them, they flirted and were "best friends" and I got pushed into the back seat. Well, we broke up over it. I couldn't take anymore. We got back together two years ago and he states he wants to open a Facebook acct. to keep up with his family back home. No problem. He has a big family but speaks to only about 20 of them so I figured that would be all he had on his Facebook account. Lo and behold, just recently it came about that he had been adding about 20 or more old high school female friends and old flames and didn't even tell me! I found out by default one day when he opened his profile up to show me something funny on News Feed. When I started in inquire about who these women were and why he had kept me in the dark about them, he got angry with me and told me he was never going to show me Facebook again (I don't have an acct.). Then he made up the excuse that most of them were cousins. Riiiiight! Then he came up with, "Oh, they're just old friends." Funny enough how since he opened his account, he has become more and more distant to me, we fight more and just recently he gave me an ultimatum. He told me straight up that they were going to stay on his friends list and if I wanted to break up with him I could. That told me he was willing to throw away all of our years together because he once again, showed no signs of self control–even after we got back together and he promised he would not get tangled up with anymore women. Well, guess what? Today I told him that if he was willing to throw away our relationship for his imaginary world of the past, so be it. He must have had some pretty good memories of those women if he is willing to throw us away for them. So, today we broke up. I left. Under no uncertain terms am I going to be a doormat for any man. He can have all of those girls if that is what is important to him. I will never get a Facebook account. Do I think something is going on with them? Oh yeah! He is dangling a line out to see who takes a bite. I mean, why else would he want to hang on to them all so tightly? And why so many? There are about 20 something on there and only four can be traced back to his family. He refuses to tell me one thing about them and brushes me off about it so today I brushed him off and said goodbye.

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  47. Michael Neilsen

    You are right on. My wife found an old flame from 26 years ago through Facebook. Long story short they ended up having an affair that lasted 7 months. The affair ended when late one night, while she was asleep, I noticed her phone lit up with a text message that read I love you. My wife has since disconnected her Facebook account. Guys, my wife was the last person on earth I thought would ever do this and her friends are dumbfounded. You would have to know her to appreciate that comment. I'm not Dr. Phil, but I can tell you Facebook is a haven for affairs. I am in therapy trying to get through this and the Dr. said 30% of the couples he sees had affairs that started with Facebook or some type of social medium. 58% of affairs start at work. I am not saying you should disconnect your Facebook accounts, but 30% is a huge number so watch your back; I mean your spouse.

    August 10, 2012 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
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