Should you accept every friend request? The internet is a great way to read the news, share ideas, and reconnect with friends. But, what happens when a friend request turns into an emotional or physical affair? Statistics show that infidelity in marriage via the internet is a common factor in divorce, with Facebook and other social media sites making an appearance in divorce filings.
There has never been an easier time to cheat on your spouse. Now you can reconnect with an old flame or use an app for a physical encounter from the comfort of your smartphone. With this temptation lurking around every social media app, how can you protect your marriage against internet infidelity?
Simple Strategies to Protect Your Marriage
Here are 8 ways to strengthen your marriage and avoid infidelity in marriage:
Don’t be Overconfident
There is an old saying that goes “Let he who thinks he is standing, beware that he does not fall.” Simply put, don’t be overconfident about your stance on fidelity.
Social media websites give you instant access to singles looking to mingle, exes, old crushes, and there are plenty of apps out there designed specifically for cheating or hooking up. The options are endless.
The internet has done an excellent job muddying the waters over what is considered cheating and what isn’t. Since affairs and infidelity can start subtly online, they can be more difficult to catch before they become a problem.
Be Open About Being Married
One piece of infidelity advice? When you sign up for a social media account, be open about the fact that you are married. When selecting “single,” “in a relationship,” or “married,” always pick the one that truthfully applies to you.
For websites that do not have this option, such as Instagram, add it to your profile anyway. Putting in a simple line about being “Happily married” will let everyone coming to your profile know that you aren’t looking for anything romantic.
That’s not to say temptations still won’t present themselves or that everyone is going to respect your marriage, but being open and honest about your spouse’s role in your life will help protect your marriage against internet infidelity.
Be an Open Book
One way to avoid internet infidelity in marriage is to be an open book to your spouse. Give your spouse your social media and email passwords, as well as open access to your smartphone and other devices.
Letting your spouse have an unedited look at your online social life will establish trust with your partner.
It also reminds you to exercise caution when you are texting, accepting certain friends, chatting, or when you like particular photos online. If you wouldn’t want your spouse to see your conversation or you would not be comfortable with your spouse having the same chat with someone else, don’t practice it yourself.
Avoid Sexually Explicit Content
Many couples consider pornography to be mental infidelity. Whatever your stance on pornography, know that it can be a gateway to questionable online behavior. Many sites offer “sexy chatrooms”.
Porn trains the mind not to be satisfied with a normal, healthy sex life, but to explore the wild side of sex. The more you look at sexually explicit content, the more you will desire it.
What may start out as watching pornography or reading erotica could turn into having sexually explicit chats with other people online or doing a photo exchange with someone via social media. You may even pursue someone via “hookup app.”
Would you be comfortable if someone else’s words or photos were responsible for your partner’s orgasm or sexual excitement? Likely not.
Don’t Emotionally Confide Online
You walk a dangerous line of online infidelity in marriage when you begin having a deep, emotional relationship with someone other than your spouse. The moment you give the role of your spouse to an outsider, you invite them into your mind and heart. Confiding in someone you are attracted to online, especially about your marriage, is like stepping one foot into disaster.
Be Choosy About Online Friends
Just because someone friend requested you doesn’t mean you have to accept. If you want some infidelity advice, it would be to be choosy about your online friends. Do not seek out your ex-partners, past flings, or old crushes. You might think it’s harmless to be in contact with these ones, but old feelings can soon pop up.
If you have been contacted by a past love or someone else with questionable intentions, decline the request or tell your partner and decide how to respond together.
Be Honest With Yourself
Have you crossed the line with someone online? Be honest in your own heart when considering whether your behavior needs adjusting and be mindful about excusing yourself from potentially dangerous situations.
For example, say you do photography and post your photos on your social media accounts. An attractive person of your preferred gender follows your account and compliments your photos. You say thank you and begin an innocent conversation about photography.
After talking back and forth for some time, you begin sharing more details about your lives, and there is some mild flirtation. This person asks if they can commission you to take photos of them. Perhaps revealing pictures. You could reason that it’s a job and you could use the money. It’s strictly professional. But, would this be a wise choice to make, given that you have now connected and “innocently” flirted with this person? The answer is no.
Make Time for Each Other
One way you can protect your marriage from infidelity is by making time for your spouse. Set aside time each week to “Date.” Choose fun or romantic activities and spend time together as a couple, not just parents or partners. Have fun together and communicate to ensure your bond is strong and can withstand temptations.
When it comes to infidelity advice, here’s one rule to live by: don’t be overconfident. People aren’t perfect, and sometimes even the strongest relationships fall victim to infidelity in marriage. Instead of hoping it never happens, follow our 8 steps for protecting your marriage against internet infidelity. You’ll be glad you did.
Rachael Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support, and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage.