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 (1,421 Responses)
  1. RV Roof Repair Service Near Me

    http://www.miosito.it/marco/gotourl.asp?url=https://ocrvcenter.com

    June 25, 2021 at 03:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Generator Repair Near Me

    https://www.shop-rank.com/01-09/rl_out.cgi?id=atorie&url=http://ocrvcenter.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 03:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Repair Shop Near Me

    http://www.tiantuo.net/inc/gosite.asp?id=198&url=ocrvcenter.com

    June 25, 2021 at 07:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. leather repair orange county

    http://ielts.org/api/sitecore/RecognisingOrganisations/RegisterGoalAndRedirect?ROId=F1FCFC07-CD4C-451E-9FB1-85D2EDF276BA&link=www.ocrvcenter.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 08:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Sung Boehmer

    Whenever I open firefox, it instantly crashes. I've tried opening it in safe mode and still it doesn't work. I even tried changing my homepage. When my friends give me a link in my msn messenger, it opens up firefox and it works fine, I'm able to browse the internet normally. What do I do? I already uninstalled and reinstalled it..

    https://www.facebook.com/KateKowalskyWebMarketing

    June 25, 2021 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Repair Near Me

    https://go.20script.ir/index.php?url=https://www.airconditionerinstallatio74104.losblogos.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 15:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Jannet Winkelbauer

    http://testphp.vulnweb.com/redir.php?r=http://ocrvmotorsports.net/

    June 25, 2021 at 17:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Service Repair Near Me

    http://onlinemanuals.txdot.gov/help/urlstatusgo.html?url=https://skincovershop.com/fr/skincoverblog/53_Ou-acheter-sticker-carte-bancaire.html

    June 25, 2021 at 17:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Air Conditioning Repair Near Me

    http://jyw4r4.yext-wrap.com/plclick?pid=4Diy12y2qo&ids=3397447&continue=http://neanarchist.net/event/how-you-can-pick-best-luxury-rv-collision-repairs-experts

    June 25, 2021 at 17:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Camper Repair Shops Near Me

    http://localbusiness.goupstate.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=rylan4q4f0.glifeblog.com/

    June 25, 2021 at 19:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RV Repair Shops Near My Location

    I really love your site.. Great colors & theme. Did you make this site yourself? Please reply back as Iím trying to create my very own website and would like to find out where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Appreciate it!

    https://community.nxp.com/external-link.jspa?url=https://us6.lee8.com

    June 25, 2021 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Chau Rollheiser

    How do I prevent Firefox from opening a site that has a virus?

    https://www.facebook.com/KateKowalskyWebMarketing

    June 26, 2021 at 00:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Hortencia Cassity

    This website really has all the information I wanted about this subject and didnít know who to ask.

    http://admsapi.businessweekly.com.tw/?w=408691ac-acd6-4c54-b973-1a0f3d8fcffb&c=a85512e7-29e2-4eb5-8744-1767c0122729&p=11FA92D8-D718-4768-8364-ED0F4EC976D1&a=a188cc7b-1ba1-41da-a070-4d25fc82a98a&po=e1c41fc0-17d2-4c56-b716-d4a2c579a64d&s=6ac78b7f-21a1-47bc-b320-65ad67f39446&m=5bf58492-6afe-42cf-bf12-c1c7cc29679b&u=https://www.spokanevalleyseo.com

    June 26, 2021 at 01:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Repairs Near My Location

    I couldnít refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

    http://wtk.db.com/777554543598768/optout?redirect=https://www.www.goldenlife.com.au

    June 26, 2021 at 07:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Camper Repairs Near Me

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't disappoint me just as much as this particular one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I genuinely believed you would probably have something useful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something that you can fix if you weren't too busy seeking attention.

    http://janeyleegrace.worldsecuresystems.com/redirect.aspx?destination=http://sublimedir.net/

    June 26, 2021 at 08:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RV Repair Centers Near Me

    /

    June 26, 2021 at 08:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Emergency RV Repair Near Me

    /

    June 26, 2021 at 09:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. RV Repair Near My Location

    http://click.payserve.com/signup?link=https://game-mun.com

    June 26, 2021 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Buffy Gotthelf

    I was able to find good advice from your articles.

    http://balder.messe.de/werbung/www/delivery/ck.php?ct=1&oaparams=2__bannerid=1512__zoneid=697__cb=18dc65fbad__oadest=https://searchinteraction.com

    June 26, 2021 at 12:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Repair Huntington Beach

    Everyone loves it whenever people come together and share views. Great site, continue the good work!

    http://c.ypcdn.com/2/c/rtd?rid=ffc1d0d8-e593-4a8d-9f40-aecd5a203a43&ptid=cf4fk84vhr&vrid=CYYhIBp8X1ApLY/ei7cwIaLspaY=&lid=1000535171273&tl=6&lsrc=IY&ypid=21930972&ptsid=Motels&dest=https://fernando8i66a.p2blogs.com/

    June 26, 2021 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Gertrudis Freeze

    You made some really good points there. I looked on the web to learn more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.

    http://register.scotland.org/Subscribe/WidgetSignup?url=https://newportcatalina.com/

    June 26, 2021 at 14:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RV Repair Shops Near Me

    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been doing a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me dinner simply because I found it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this matter here on your website.

    http://www.draugiem.lv/special/link.php?key=special_liberimamma_about&url=https://commercialtrucksreikeru.blogspot.com

    June 26, 2021 at 14:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Leadership Alliance

    http://czech-guide.aspone.cz/language.aspx?culture=cs-CZ&ReturnUrl=http://backboneleaders.com

    June 26, 2021 at 17:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. popular podcast

    http://clicktrack.pubmatic.com/AdServer/AdDisplayTrackerServlet?clickData=JnB1YklkPTE1NjMxMyZzaXRlSWQ9MTk5MDE3JmFkSWQ9MTA5NjQ2NyZrYWRzaXplaWQ9OSZ0bGRJZD00OTc2OTA4OCZjYW1wYWlnbklkPTEyNjcxJmNyZWF0aXZlSWQ9MCZ1Y3JpZD0xOTAzODY0ODc3ODU2NDc1OTgwJmFkU2VydmVySWQ9MjQzJmltcGlkPTU0MjgyODhFLTYwRjktNDhDMC1BRDZELTJFRjM0M0E0RjI3NCZtb2JmbGFnPTImbW9kZWxpZD0yODY2Jm9zaWQ9MTIyJmNhcnJpZXJpZD0xMDQmcGFzc2JhY2s9MA==_url=https://backbonehunters.com

    June 26, 2021 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Leadership In The Workplace

    http://www.sivo.com.tn/lang/chglang.asp?lang=en&url=https://backboneleaders.com

    June 26, 2021 at 20:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and the rest of the website is extremely good.

    https://www.usdf.org/e-trak/asp/forward.asp?id=354&FPath=https://backboneleaders.com/

    June 26, 2021 at 22:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Joe Rogan Podcast Leadership

    Iím amazed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog thatís both equally educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is an issue that too few folks are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I came across this during my hunt for something relating to this.

    http://de.reasonable.shop/SetCurrency.aspx?currency=CNY&returnurl=http://backboneleaders.com/

    June 27, 2021 at 01:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Dr Henry Cloud Leadership U Podcast

    I'm extremely pleased to find this great site. I wanted to thank you for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every bit of it and I have you book-marked to check out new stuff on your website.

    http://southampton.ac.uk/~drn1e09/foaf/visualizer.php?url=http://backboneleaders.com

    June 27, 2021 at 01:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Leadership Models

    After I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I recieve four emails with the exact same comment. Is there a means you are able to remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

    http://howard.edu/asp/linkcounter/resourcesondemand.asp?url=http://backboneleaders.com

    June 27, 2021 at 01:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. google podcast app

    https://www.go.20script.ir/index.php?url=https://backbonehunters.com

    June 27, 2021 at 06:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. pharmacepticacom

    hydroxichloraquin https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 27, 2021 at 06:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. glass cannon podcast

    http://truehits.net/webout.php?url=https://www.backbonehunters.com/

    June 27, 2021 at 07:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. African Leadership Academy

    https://stats.newswire.com/x/im?act=eyIxYzAyNmciOiIxYzAxbGYifQ&final=https://backboneleaders.com/

    June 27, 2021 at 07:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. fifth column podcast

    Hello there! This blog post couldnít be written any better! Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I will send this article to him. Pretty sure he'll have a good read. I appreciate you for sharing!

    https://community.acer.com/en/home/leaving/www.backbonehunters.com

    June 27, 2021 at 07:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. 15 Commitments Of Conscious Leadership

    http://iacconline.org/Redirect.aspx?destination=backboneleaders.com/

    June 27, 2021 at 09:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. American Leadership Academy

    Itís hard to come by well-informed people about this subject, however, you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks

    http://www.navi-ohaka.com/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=1&url=https://backboneleaders.com

    June 27, 2021 at 10:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. juicy scoop podcast

    Having read this I believed it was very informative. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this information together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    http://em.starz.com/rbc40/c2.php?STAZ/34987929/197338/H/N/V/https://backbonehunters.com

    June 27, 2021 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Leadership Principles Amazon

    A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. There's no doubt that that you ought to publish more on this subject, it might not be a taboo matter but generally folks don't talk about these subjects. To the next! Kind regards!!

    http://yadkinvalleywinecountry.com/north-carolina/netRedirect.asp?ID=424&url=https://backboneleaders.com

    June 27, 2021 at 11:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast Free Download

    http://clevacances032.clevacances.com/stat.php?langue=fr&id_location=HLOMIP032MS00786&agrement=32MS00786&type_location=meuble&id_departement=032&acces_site=1&url=https://www.backboneleaders.com

    June 27, 2021 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Nearest RV Repair

    http://iezup.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrv.rocks

    June 27, 2021 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Repair Shop Near Me

    https://glowing.com/external/link?next_url=https://www.ocrvmotorsports.us

    June 27, 2021 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Sprinter Van Repair Shops Near Me

    https://www.xclusivetravel.com/iframe?url=https://campervanrepairshop.com

    June 27, 2021 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Sprinter Fuel Filler Pipe Repair

    After I initially commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there an easy method you can remove me from that service? Cheers!

    http://start.midnitemusic.ch/index.php?url=https://www.sprintervanrepairnearme.com

    June 27, 2021 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Repair Fountain Valley

    http://engineeringcellbiology.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=rvmarketingexperts.com

    June 27, 2021 at 21:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Repair Nearby

    I couldnít resist commenting. Well written!

    http://neurostar.com/en/redirect.php?url=https://www.ocrv.us

    June 28, 2021 at 02:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Repair Fountain Valley

    Your style is unique in comparison to other folks I have read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just bookmark this page.

    http://www.xlnt.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrv.guru

    June 28, 2021 at 05:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Sprinter Van Upholstery Shop Near Me

    This site definitely has all of the information I needed concerning this subject and didnít know who to ask.

    http://rating.t30p.ru/?www.ocrvcenter.com

    June 28, 2021 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV Repair Shop Near My Location

    I was able to find good advice from your articles.

    https://yubnub.org/example/split?type=t&urls=http://ocrvcenter.com

    June 28, 2021 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Repair Orange County California

    http://content.xyou.com/click.php?aid=88&url=https://ocrvcenter.com/

    June 28, 2021 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Camper Repairs Near Me

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always helpful to read articles from other authors and practice a little something from other websites.

    https://www.graphic.com.gh/adsonline/www/delivery/ck.php?oaparams=2__bannerid=136__zoneid=6__cb=03832209cd__oadest=https://www.ocrvcenter.com

    June 28, 2021 at 12:55 | 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 Van Rust Repair


 

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.