One huge problem that I address with my clients is the idea of boundaries in relationships. That means addressing your limitations, the things you feel unsafe with, etc. One area that has become extremely blurred as technology has advanced is what constitutes as cheating. Each couple has their own limitations, their own ideas about cheating and infidelity, and each relationship falls somewhere on the spectrum of open relationships to monogamous relationships. I work with couples that are monogamous and the idea of social media has been one area where contention can arise if not addressed.
In this day and age, nearly everyone has a smartphone, a laptop, a computer, or a tablet. These devices that we use on a daily basis can enhance your life in many ways, like working with people across the world or quickly looking up an old email with a client. But what happens when technology is so ever-present that it starts invading your marriage? At first, it could be small, like a somewhat flirty message from a co-worker, and the next thing you know it’s a one night stand with your co-worker. Technology presents a new challenge for couples to be faithful.
Today, couples -from the first date all the way to marriage- find that technology has blurred the lines of fidelity. Communication about expectations within relationships has never been more important than it is in today’s society. Truly, take a moment, and ask yourself what you consider is crossing a line? Is it a flirty text thread between your partner and a co-worker, friend, or ex? Is it finding out they never deleted their dating profiles and have been just messaging people on them? Is it using pornography? Is it VR porn? Is it using cam-chat girls? Is it messaging people on a secret app? There are so many ways that technology has made being faithful evermore challenging. Technology has brought us this grey area where we have to actually talk about what we expect in our relationship.
In this article, apparently, 1 in 4 Americans don’t think one night stands count as cheating. I was shocked to read that because most everyone I’ve talked to would consider that cheating. In the article, this paragraph stood out to me:
“The survey also found a deep gender divide on what constitutes adultery, with women more likely than men to define 11 behaviors on the survey as cheating. The gap was especially large on activities enabled by the internet, such as maintaining an online dating profile, which 70 percent of women but only 55 percent of men say is always cheating.”
Given that some men and women have different views of what constitutes as cheating, we need to “wake up” and realize that there needs to be more communication happening when entering a relationship. The “traditional” definition of cheating is having physical contact with someone else, but there are so many ways to be unfaithful, especially with technology. There are apps on the apple or android stores that can be a secret file to hide pornography, and apps that are actually browsers that might look like a kids game. Why does technology present such a problem? Simple, easy access, affordability, and anonymity.
Technology seems to be shoving this idea that secrecy is good. Sure, everyone has a right to privacy, but encouraging secrecy and infidelity in relationships is the downside to technology these days for couples. In the end, of course, the responsibility falls upon the individual if they choose to cheat. So whether you’re just starting to date, or have been married for a while, having a conversation about expectations is important, especially with how fast technology is changing.