Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are just some mediums for keeping in touch and reconnecting, but what happens when the connection is a little too friendly?
Social media is a fantastic modern tool for keeping in touch with family and friends.You can meet new friends through common ‘likes’ and interests, you can touch base with old contacts and you can keep extended family up to speed with the happenings of your lives.
However, a staggering number of couples in Australia are ending their relationships due to ‘cheating’ on social media, with Facebook being the main forum for these indiscretions. Regardless of one’s personal opinion of what online cheating entails, internet infidelity has increased with the introduction of such personal social media sites, letting people see into the lives of others at a level that is only controlled by the user’s security settings.
The main issue lies with Facebook being so open, relaying real-life timelines of a person’s interests, likes and pastimes. Internet dating sites and other meeting forums can usually be tainted with lies and made up profiles and Facebook typically removes this label.
What does cheating on social media involve?
Regardless of whether it’s ‘only online’, cheating is still cheating. Anything you wouldn’t want your partner to know you were saying or doing is considered cheating in most people’s opinion and sending sexually explicit photos, raunchy private messages and arranging to meet topping the list. Divulging details of relationship problems, your sex life or personal feelings are also considered to be a `no-go territory. You and your partner know your limits when it comes to interacting with the opposite sex and boundaries on what is considered cheating, both online and in the real world, should be established early in a relationship.
Did you know? There is now an Australian website that does background checks for Online Dates!
Why does it happen?
People looking for stimulation via digital technology are usually under the impression that because it is not ‘reality’ it does not really count as cheating. Most who are caught out maintain that it not technically cheating because they were never physically intimate with someone else. Whatever the justification, the underlying issues that cause the person to ‘cheat’ online are usually the same for those who cheat offline.
What are the things to look out for?
Apparently, this form of infidelity is so prevalent that there needs to be instructions on how to execute it properly! But if you suspect that someone close to you is maybe getting a little too Facebook friendly, here are some signs to look out for:
- Increased time spent on computer, particularly on social media sites, bordering on excessive, and using the computer at odd times of the day and night.
- Hiding the screen, minimising the page or turning off the computer when you enter the room.
- ‘Unfriending’ or ‘unfollowing’ you alarm bells should ring with this one!
- Passwords suddenly added to phones and computers.
- Deleting browser history
- Lack of spare time people conducting both online and physical affairs tend to have little time.
- Obsession with immediately responding to texts and messages.
- Change in behaviour through feelings of guilt or resentment. Defensive and/or nervous outbursts.
- Your own gut instinct.
Each relationship has its own boundaries and lines that should not be crossed. Ask anyone what their interpretation of what constitutes cheating and you are sure to get a variety of answers. Bottom line is, if you are participating in something you wouldn’t want your significant other to see, then it’s probably not a good idea to continue it. Evaluate why this ‘relationship’ is happening and take steps to avoid anyone’s feelings getting hurt.