Does Social Media Cause Infidelity?
It’s no longer a secret. Digital avenues are now leading to infidelity.
Dating sites have always been the culprit. But now, social networks have also entered the fray. Cases of infidelity are going up thanks to social media’s ever increasing presence.
At a deeper level everyone craves for love, attention and companionship. Love, trust and mutual respect are essential requirements to form and sustain a relationship. When these requirements are not met, people look elsewhere. Adultery or cheating in a committed relationship is nothing new. It’s always been there. What’s new is the intensity with which it is growing, and social media is among the factors contributing to its rise.
Infidelity is a serious issue and to understand it in a context where gender dynamics are constantly changing, we need help of data.
Take a look at the two infographics below:
Here are the takeaways we can derive:
- Men cheat more than women in relationships. Although the gender gap seems to be closing.
- More than 75% people who cheated in a relationship, cheated more than once.
- The more power an individual gets in their professional lives, the higher are their odds of cheating.
As the takeaways suggest, cheating is gender-agnostic so it is pointless to blame an entire gender for the actions of one of its members. Career advancement and high-stress jobs increase the odds of cheating and being cheated on. Where does social media fit into this mix? Social media doesn’t make one infidel, it brings the inner cheater out. In other words, it makes it easy to cheat for people who have a propensity to cheat.
I mentioned in a previous article that human attention span is now shorter than goldfish’s. People are squeamish about everything – be it job or relationship. So instead of understanding their partner or accepting their imperfections, they find someone who can easily fill the void created by their existing partners. Social media is encouraging these people to search for potential partners out there.
There are other ways social media is giving rise to cheating. Infidelity is not always intentional. As the quote goes “everyone behaves nicely on a coffee table” but beyond the coffee table they may not be so nice and romantically pursue the other despite knowing they are married or have a partner.
Then there are individuals who are frustrated in their relationship, seek the attention of others and use social media as an excuse to play the blame game.
Hence, social media is not the direct cause of infidelity. People always cheated in relationship – long before the advent of social media. But it definitely increases infidelity. It can be a reason for infidelity by adding fuel to the fire.
In which ways social media destroys relationships?
We ourselves have given social media enough friction to be able to destroy even long-term relationships in following ways.
- Easy connectivity – It is really easy for us to connect with others on social. Even with individuals that we met years ago and lost contact afterwards. A new acquaintance is just a click away. Social media is making cheaters connecting to people they desire, sometimes even with different identity insisting them to lose their existing relationships for the sake of a better one.
- Emotional cheating – People sometimes connect with others for emotional pleasure. They don’t have any intention of continuing that in the future. Some interactions are merely online and don’t ever progress to the physical front at all. These are called virtual relationships as they exist only in the virtual world. Such relationships could cause emotional damage and sometimes it could be worse than physical damage.
- Fantasy interactions – Anyone can formulate ideas about what you like or dislike by merely looking at your profile on social media. From this information, anyone intended with the idea of cheating or using you in some of the other ways can pretend to be your ideal partner by setting up a false profile on the site. These relationships are addictive in nature and don’t occur in reality. This kind of fraud is even done sometimes for just time pass.
You can take preventive measures to avoid social media causing disturbance in your relationship and protect yourself from these reel relationships. They are:
- Discuss with your partner if there is something in their profile that is bothering you.
- Sometimes checking on their profile is normal, doesn’t necessarily suggest doubt so don’t feel guilty if you did that.
- Try acknowledging their intentions, watch out for even small gestures on social media.
- Give them their personal space. Stay aware but don’t try to control them.
- Have a healthy discussion on how social media should be used.
Understanding the ways social media creates troubles for relationships can lower infidelity.
Use social media, but make sure it is not causing infidelity in your relationship. Have a healthy relationship with your spouse or partner and make sure they share similar views on social media. This mutual argument and perception on social media will prevent both of you from crossing boundaries.