Today’s couples face many new challenges, with the distractions of the internet being one of them. The internet not only provides us with endless sources of information, right at our fingertips, but it also gives us the ability to communicate with people all over the world. The promise of anonymity and the ease of communication have opened the door for online infidelity.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can protect your relationship from online infidelity, including:
Discuss Expectations Before There is a Problem
The definition of what is and is not considered infidelity is not always clear with online communication. One spouse might believe that it is entirely harmless to communicate with another person on the other side of the world, regardless of what they talk about. Another spouse, however, might believe that the intimate details discussed are a form of infidelity.
The internet isn’t going anywhere and will only become more prominent in our lives over the next couple of years. It can be helpful to discuss internet use expectations and set boundaries before there is a problem. Determine together what is appropriate and inappropriate ahead of time. You and your spouse will likely have to revisit this conversation frequently as new programs develop, and new concerns arise.
Keep In Mind That Each Relationship is Unique
You and your spouse must determine what works for your relationship and leave comparisons of friends or past relationships out of the decision. Just because your friend isn’t comfortable with their spouse on social media doesn’t mean that social media is inappropriate for you and your spouse. Just because you have an ex-partner who committed online infidelity doesn’t mean you can’t trust your new partner on social media. Instead of just creating a generic set of guidelines and boundaries, consider each of your thoughts behind the rules.
Establish Family Rules
It can also be helpful to establish family and marital rules regarding the use of the internet. For example, some couples might choose to move the family computer into the living room. Others might limit phone time.
Just a few rules that you might set together include:
- Limit phone use during dinner and other family time
- Allow each spouse to have the other’s login information and password
- Notify the other spouse if an ex reaches out and you choose to talk
- Both partners will avoid dating apps
To ensure that both partners are on board, it is important to set these guidelines regarding internet use together. This collaborative effort ensures that both partners’ needs are being heard and met.
Know When to Ask for Help
Some couples might find that their beliefs of what is considered online infidelity differ. If you find that your beliefs are just too different and you are having a hard time coming to an agreement, it might be useful to turn to an outside resource. A marriage counselor can help couples establish useful boundaries and guidelines regarding internet usage. They can also help couples navigate the consequences of life after online infidelity.
Be Aware of the Risks
Most individuals do not turn to the internet to be unfaithful. Online infidelity often arises out of an otherwise harmful relationship that gets more intimate over time. Being aware of the risks present can help you avoid being put in a tempting situation. Consider the topics that are safe to discuss and understand the intentions of everyone involved.
Protect your relationship by avoiding the following:
- Be open and up-front that you’re married or in a committed relationship when talking with someone new online
- Avoid dating or singles websites, even out of curiosity
- Be open with your spouse if an ex reaches out to you
- Only engage in conversations that you’d be comfortable sharing with your spouse/partner
It is also a good idea to avoid giving out personal information online. Discussing details about your life can lead to a bond that is considered intimate, rather than a friendship.
Continue Working On Your Relationship
Many couples who have dealt with online infidelity report that they were seeking intimacy and connection, because they felt disconnected from their partner. Life can get busy, especially when you add in children and careers. Some spouses might turn to the intimacy of an online partnership to de-stress or to feel connected. Make it a point to reconnect and give each other the time that you deserve.
A few ideas to reconnect:
- Plan a date night, just the two of you, either weekly or monthly
- Spend a few minutes each day catching up, technology-free
- Learn a new hobby or activity together
- Find a new TV show to watch together
The more time that you spend with your significant other, the more likely you are to feel connected to one another. This bond is important and can remove the temptation of going online for that connection.
Deal With Any Problems In Your Relationship
Unresolved problems in the relationship can lead unhappy partners to seek help, or comfort, in an online setting. An innocent conversation in which one spouse confides in a stranger online can quickly escalate the relationship. Always avoid discussing your partner or any problems in the relationship with an online source.
Instead, turn to your trusted friends or a psychological professional if you need advice. If there is anything in the relationship that you’re unhappy about, openness and communication with your partner are important.
Know When to Draw The Line
Online communication removes many important social cues, like nonverbal behaviors and tone of voice, which could lead to a misunderstanding of intentions. If an innocent online relationship seems to be crossing boundaries, it is best to end the conversation immediately. It is important to recognize certain behaviors and know when to draw the line.
This might include the following:
- An online friend asking about your happiness in your relationship
- The desire to turn to an online friend, instead of your partner
- An online friend asking to hang out in person
- Sending and receiving photographs
When you can to recognize these signs, you can avoid crossing the line into a relationship of online infidelity. Drawing the line and taking necessary actions to improve your relationship is easier to manage than if you had already crossed that line.
With thousands of online apps and programs that allow individuals to chat with anyone, at any time, relationships are more at risk of online infidelity than ever before. By setting clear guidelines and knowing when to ask for help, you and your partner can navigate the temptations of the internet and avoid online infidelity.
And whenever you talk to any stranger online, it’s important to know vital information about who they are. There are tools out there that help track down their social media/email information. Use tools like Instant Social Report help track down their social media/email information.
And whenever you talk to any stranger online, it’s important to know vital information about who they are. There are tools out there that help track down their social media/email information.
Instant Social Support is a website that searches any email account. Plug in the email, hit search, and the site displays information about that person’s account. Instant Social Report backtracks emails to their social media accounts, tracking down important information about people who may know you. And it’s completely free. Try it out at https://instantsocialreport.com/landing/home