Facebook cheating: is it still going strong?

As technology has progressed, it has allowed for new, sneakier methods of fooling an important person. First cell phones with cameras. As these became less expensive and more common, infidelity became easier to start and then discover: One couple noticed an excessive number of calls to the same number, dialed it, and stumbled upon their partner’s affair. The email then provided a newer route to cheat. Inevitably, a suspicious couple would discover evidence of an affair after logging into their spouse’s email account.

Today, the use of Facebook can offer a whole new mode of infidelity.

Facebook cheating often starts innocently enough. Often these are not physical but emotional issues that hover on the periphery of fidelity. Now, opportunities to cheat aren’t sitting on a nearby bar stool, they’re right in your own home at the press of a key. The definition of cheating can differ from person to person. Some feel that a physical relationship is required, while for others, cheating exists when emotions are involved, even without a physical relationship. When internet connections go from hours of chatting every day to a real-life meeting, there’s no doubt that cheating is taking place. If one of the partners is online all the time and disregarding the other, they can damage their relationship even without physical contact.

A relationship can start out as a harmless “friendship.” A partner begins to reconnect with dozens of people from his past. After watching your loved one spend countless hours on Facebook, suspicions may arise: Who are these “friends”? Where do you know them from? Who befriended whom first? Too often, people post things in their status updates that they never said, or would do say, your partners.

Sometimes all this reconnection becomes, if not a physical thing, then an emotional one. If a partner starts posting things to a “friend” that they wouldn’t share with their spouse or things they wouldn’t be willing to tell that friend face-to-face, things may be headed in the wrong direction. Emotional issues can be just as damaging as sexual issues, if not worse.

There are three types of Facebook users:

  1. The ones who would cheat anyway
  2. Those who would never cheat, regardless of the situation.
  3. Those who may or may not cheat, depending on the circumstances, these are the most at risk. Facebook is to these wavers what dessert is to dieters: hard to resist!

A recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers indicates that 81 percent of divorce lawyers have seen an increase in the number of cases using social media evidence over the past five years. A survey by states that Facebook is cited in approximately 20 percent of cases.

Yes, social networks like Facebook have helped reconnect former lovers. Facebook can even create a fantasy world for a potentially cheating spouse. But the cheating can’t be blamed on Facebook alone. It is simply a tool. If there are already problems in a relationship, infidelity will happen regardless of how Facebook makes it easier. The problem is not Facebook; Ultimately, it’s a lack of connection and communication within a relationship.

Part of the attraction on Facebook involves reconnection. The other part is the syndrome of long lost love. The old feelings invade you again and you feel young again. This rejuvenation can make people do things they normally wouldn’t.

While it’s common for people to want to connect with others, communication with your partner is essential to keeping Facebook a networking, not a cheating site. Couples should discuss social media with each other and set ground rules that both of you are comfortable with. If you think that an Internet relationship would harm your partner if found out, it should be disregarded from the start.

Networking can be a fun way to catch up with old friends, make new ones, and even build and maintain business contacts. However, if it turns into something you don’t want your spouse to know about, don’t do it or end it before it goes too far.