IntroductionInternet technology offers wonderful ways to enrich and enhance a relationship and stay connected to loved ones.
Whether you are across the street or on the other side of the world, devices like smartphones, Androids, notebooks and laptops assist couples in maintaining a close bond. At the same time, Internet technology offers unprecedented opportunities and temptations to stray.
Today, couples experience togetherness and separateness in ways that were never available before.
For example, each partner may have his or her own membership in various social networking sites, maintain separate e-mail accounts, and have their own cell phones.
As a result, more and more partners who never intended to be unfaithful are crossing the line and engaging in behaviors that may be devastating to their primary relationship. The major difference between traditional infidelity and Internet infidelity is the issue of real versus virtual -- if it doesn't happen face-to-face, should it be considered cheating?
Some would argue, no.
Yet, research shows that the discovery of an on-line affair can be just as devastating as a face-to-face one. In fact many relationships that begin on line, transition to face-to-face encounters.
So how can you prevent this from happening to you?
Talking about it is extremely important. Implicit in every committed relationship is the expectation of sexual and emotional exclusivity. What that is in your relationship may be different from someone else and that's okay, as long as you both agree. It's important to clearly define what works within your relationship.
Those who share online activities are more likely to be insulated from any kind of seduction on line. If your partner keeps all of his or her technology password protected, that may be a sign something is wrong.
If you don't agree on what is acceptable online behavior and what is not, seek the advice of a professional to help you gain some perspective.
If you find that one of you may have crossed the line, get help early. Infidelity does not necessarily mean the end of your relationship. It may very well be the beginning of a more open, honest, fulfilling one.
Dr. Laura Richter is a licensed Marriage and Family therapist who works with individuals, couples, and families. Her specialties include: surviving infidelity, improving communication, beginning again after divorce and effective co-parenting after divorce. She is also a trained mediator, qualified parenting coordinator and collaborative law mental health professional. For more information, please call or text us today at 561-715-6404 to schedule a consultation to see how we can help.