Infidelity in marriage used to have a simple easy definition: a sexual relationship with someone other than your spouse. While this definition is still quite true, other situations now make this definition a little archaic. Infidelity can no longer be confined to evenings spent in a hotel room.
The age of social media has redefined what infidelity in marriage looks like. Social media includes the likes of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs. Likewise, email and texting makes communication so easy that they both aid in the lure of engaging in an inappropriate relationship.
Social media allows for people to be whomever they want to be. They can be rich, beautiful, athletic, a doctor, a lawyer, or an actor. They can create any persona they like. A picture can be posted that is not even them. With a click of the button, a new person is born and so is a secret life. This secret life breeds the temptation to seek out a relationship with anyone who will buy into all the lies.
In this secret life, conversations begin, pictures (fake or real) are exchanged and a relationship is made, usually with someone of the opposite sex. This relationship may be innocent at first with no intention of becoming physical. Eventually, the casual conversations include expressions of affection for the other person. Now, a seemingly innocent relationship has turned into an emotional relationship.
This is where infidelity takes on a different form. The emotional relationship is now considered an emotional affair with the word “affair” taking on an obvious negative connotation. They share personal thoughts with this person instead of sharing them with their spouse. A person’s emotional needs are now being filled by someone who has no right to the emotions. As emotional needs are being met, the relationship is in danger of becoming sexual if both people want to break out of cyber space and meet.
People seek out these relationships to give themselves an escape from the everyday routine of their average and less than exciting lives. Spouses are part of the everyday boring routine: the kids, the bills, and the housework that is piling up. A woman, for instance, may look forward to talking to her emotional affair partner more than her spouse. Something private is enjoyed between them that is not cluttered with the mundane world of marriage.
Social media and constant access to the Internet make emotional affairs easy to find and easy to hide. People in these affairs are not sneaking into hotel rooms or meeting at a table in the dark corner of a restaurant. They are conducting an affair in cyber space where someone often needs a username and password to enter. Any and all conversations can be deleted with the click of button from a cell phone while waiting in line at the grocery store. Thus, getting caught is highly unlikely but not necessarily impossible. The face of affairs may have changed, but, unfortunately, affairs are affairs. They are addicting and difficult to end whether the people are standing face to face or staring at screen and typing away at a keyboard.
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