Cheating has become a prevalent thing in the world we live in today. The rate at which people indulge in affairs nowadays has increased, and it seems to still be on the rise. There are several different ways a spouse can cheat. However, once the infidelity is caught or exposed, there’s only one outcome: pain, hurt, and disappointment.
More and more people in relationships or marriages have had to deal with infidelity at one point or the other. According to several reports, about 12 percent of women and 23 percent of men have gotten involved in extramarital affairs with someone else. This alarmingly high rate has led several persons to try finding reasons why infidelity is so rampant nowadays. And one frequent reason in their findings is social media.
Since the creation of social media platforms, they have become excellent communication tools. Social media is usually the best way to contact friends, interact with new people, and communicate with family. It aids easier and faster communication, but it has made cheating easier too. With social media, you can reach out to that old flame, a new stunning girl at the office, or an attractive profile with just the click of a button.
Although the leading causes of infidelity may go deeper than the appeal of social media, these platforms have fueled cheating. In the words of a psychotherapist, “when former flames are just a click away, the boundaries of an appropriate relationship can become blurry.”
Social media offers a sort of freedom to allow partners to exhibit any behavior they want. This sort of freedom can eventually cause problems for people in romantic relationships. When your spouse is always chatting or busy online, spending quality time with them becomes more difficult. Not only can it take up your partner’s time, but it can also make it much easier for them to enter into an extramural relationship with another person online.
However, what does cheating on social media mean? Is your partner always posting suggestive comments on other people’s pages? Are you having hidden flirtatious conversations with someone else online? But that isn’t cheating, or is it?
In this article, we’ll tell you if flirting online is cheating and other essential things you should know about social media affairs.
Is Flirting on Social Media Cheating?
Sending a poolside photo of yourself to another man may seem like a harmless gesture, right? But does your partner think so too? Probably not!
Gone are the days when answering questions like “What counts as cheating?” was easy. In the digital age we live in now, the lines of what counts as cheating have become a bit unclear. It’s not unusual to find people who don’t think flirting online is cheating. A recent study showed that more than 75% of Americans agree that getting sexually intimate with someone else is cheating, but was confused about other forms of contact. Furthermore, only about half of these correspondents believed exchanging nude photos online – sexting – was cheating.
When it comes to social media, most people have to deal with what is termed “micro-cheating.” The flirting behavior online that borders between infidelity and faithfulness is known as micro-cheating. This type of cheating covers flirting online, passing yourself up as single, signing up for dating sites, looking for casual hookups, etc. There are several social media sites different people use to engage in micro-cheating, with some offering the ability to meet attractive people anytime. When a married person signs up on those sites to have online fun sexually or hookup, that person is guilty of micro-cheating.
Also, any other form of interaction online that involves getting intimate emotionally and spending long hours chatting with someone other than your partner is cheating.
Social Media Cheating Statistics
Global digitization has made social media cheating more rampant than most people know. Anyone can log on to Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, Snapchat, etc. from their homes’ comfort and get involved in online relationships. Seeking out a fling has never been easier. According to Facebook’s CEO, an average person spends about 50 minutes on the site every day. That’s way more time than most people spend doing most of the other leisure activities.
Unfortunately, what comes with such excessive social media platform use is a distortion of reality and an increased need for hidden communications. According to results from research carried out at the University of Indiana, people in relationships use Facebook to stay in contact with “back-burners regularly.” Back-burners are other people – platonic friends, old flames, or exes – kept as possible romantic partners. The results of this study also showed that most participants had already cheated on their partners.
Experts say that in ten adults, at least one hides their online posts and messages from their spouses. Also, up to 8% of people in serious relationships concede to having secret profiles. Based on findings in one study by law specialists, general social media cheating is one of the top causes of marital failure among divorcing couples. In the same vein, divorce courts in several countries report that Facebook and infidelity feature in as many as 75% of their proceedings.
One in every three divorce cases results from online infidelity. A study shows that more than 30% of Tinder users are married, with an even higher percentage in serious relationships.
Cheating in Social Networks
As we have established earlier, cheating and social media can work hand-in-hand. While these social network platforms open the window of infidelity, you can’t entirely blame them for your partner’s affair. Social networks only make cheating more comfortable to do. It can start with a simple “happy birthday” message on Facebook or a harmless comment on Twitter, then spiral into something else.
Cheating on social networks depends on a few factors. Firstly, several people cheat on social media because they’re not happy in their present relationships or lives. Maybe the other person online gives them the attention they seek or excitement they haven’t experienced before.
Some therapists believe that cheating can result from an identity crisis (of the cheating partner) with no real issues with the relationship itself. A recent publication on Ashley Madison – an online dating site – revealed that most of its members are there because “having affairs made them feel alive.”
Sometimes, people cheat online because of a breakdown of communication between them and their spouses. When they meet someone else that appreciates them, it quickly spins out of control. And since social networks are usually private, chatting and eventually cheating with an online friend is effortless.
However, all isn’t lost. If you’re worried that your partner is cheating online, you can do a few things. You don’t necessarily need to monitor their every move or hack into their social media. Luckily, there are some telltale signs that you’ll notice when your spouse is getting interested in someone else online. Here are a few of these signs:
- They are always chatting with “people” you don’t know.
- Your partner is still online but hardly engages you.
- They have different social media profiles.
- One name is getting regular in the chats.
- They barely let go of their devices all of a sudden.
- They’ve stopped posting couple pictures and now post flirty/charming images of themselves.
- Your partner is always talking to their ex.
How to Prevent Social Media Cheating in Your Relationship?
Now that we’ve established that social media usually starts as a means of diversion before becoming the main problem, let’s see how you can limit its effects.
It’s not feasible to say that your partner should stay off social media altogether. These interactive networks have so many other positive uses. However, what you can do is to work on your relationship with your spouse. With a more open relationship and less time spent on social media, you can significantly reduce infidelity in your relationship. One way to prevent social media infidelity in your relationship is to establish impeccable communication with your partner.
Establishing Great Communication in Your Relationship
Open communication is the key to everything. When you and your partner learn the habit of talking more about your relationship issues, you’ll have stability and intimacy. Talking about what you consider as potential issues, and establishing boundaries on excess interactions on social media. Define rules or guidelines for you and your partner spending quality time together than on social media. Discuss what you feel is okay and what’s not at the start of the relationship. This move can help prevent issues, and maybe even avoid cheating on social media too.
Moving on From Cheating in Social Networks
Nobody wants to experience being cheated on. But what happens if your partner cheats on you? Truthfully, there’s no magic way to get over infidelity and the pain that comes with it. There are only two options when that happens; either you end the relationship or try to make it work. Always remember that cheating on social media can be because there is a real problem in the relationship, not the social networking platform.