IntroductionWith more than 2.5 billion Internet users worldwide, and more than half of those users having memberships on social networking sites, it is obvious that the Internet provides us with endless opportunities and possibilities for connecting with others.
The good news is that smartphones offer us an extremely portable, convenient way to stay connected 24/7. We can text, Skype, Facetime, and instant message.
So whether we are living in Boca Raton, Fla., or Beijing, China, we can always feel close to our loved ones.
When anonymity and the perception of secrecy are added to the mix, the not-so-good news is that some couples are finding that one or the other may be crossing the line and engaging in behaviors that are potentially dangerous to their relationship.
In a recent study, marriage and family therapists reported that Internet-related issues are commonplace and that Internet infidelity, infidelity that is initiated or maintained online, is often implicated in marital discord and relationship dissatisfaction.
These problems range from spending too much time engaging in online activities to spending too much time engaging with one particular person.
At the very least, spending too much time with our devices instead of our partners can rob the relationship of trust and intimacy (Richter, 2014).
The best way to prevent these devices from coming between you and your loved one is to talk about it.
Each couple should decide for themselves what is appropriate and what is not. Learn to turn the phones off and set limits on the amount of time you spend online.
Leave plenty of time for one-on-one interaction.
As with so many things, it's all about balance and transparency. If you are using your device to avoid or distract yourself from your relationships, then you probably need to talk with a professional counselor or therapist.
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.