Facebook – The Source of All Future Infidelity?

Facebook - The Source of All Future Infidelity?

I’m a newly and happily married man, but I’ve gotta say – I spend an inordinate amount of time peeking into the lives of others on Facebook. I’m sure I’m not alone. Strangers that I’ve met at parties for ten minutes, friends from summer camp in the 80’s, various high school acquaintances, and, of course, virtually every ex-girlfriend and hookup with whom I maintained warm feelings.

The new voyeurism extends beyond mere curiosity and nearly forces us to contemplate our own happiness by comparing ourselves to others.

Yes, there’s a basic voyeurism at play here – which is no surprise as the entire Internet seems to be built on it. But this voyeurism runs far deeper than your basic porn site, celebrity gossip site, or user-generated forum (like this one). The new voyeurism extends beyond mere curiosity and nearly forces us to contemplate our own happiness by comparing ourselves to others.

“Vantage Capital Partners” – wow, sounds like that guy probably makes more than I do.

“Cherry Hills, NJ” – wow, I guess he’s got a nicer house, too.

Then you click on the photos, and start browsing through – is he/she married? If so, is his/spouse attractive? Are their kids attractive? Do they look happy together? What’s their relationship status?

And while I’m not actively or passively looking for anyone, as an experienced online dater, I can see how very easy it is to tell yourself stories – pure fictional stories – based on what you can infer from a limited portrait of someone else’s life.

If you’re dissatisfied and lonely in your relationship, the pull of your high school crush – who appears to be newly divorced on Facebook – may be the very impetus you need to test the waters of infidelity.

You remember the connection you had, you write a few ambiguous, then flirtatious emails, then, the next thing you know, you’re embroiled in an emotional email affair based on projection, need and fantasy. Cue Mark Sanford’s music.

The problem, as I see it, is twofold.

First, there’s the immediate accessibility to everyone you’ve ever met. In the past, you had a thing for someone, they disappeared from your life forever. You might have a “what if” lingering in your mind, but it was impractical to act on it. These days, every “what if” can be answered with a “let’s see”. If I want to find my sixth grade girlfriend in Florida, I can do just that – and know a lot more about her than I know about some stranger on JDate.

The second problem is the falseness of the medium. We make two faulty assumptions on Facebook: that other people are happier than we are, and that if we only connected with those idealized people, we would be happy, too. Of course, reality tells us a different tale, but to someone who is dissatisfied in life and love, it seems like a dreamy goal.

We make two faulty assumptions on Facebook: that other people are happier than we are, and that if we only connected with those idealized people, we would be happy, too.

Finally, the acceptability of the medium makes it ubiquitous, and, therefore, dangerous. It’s not chat rooms, it’s not Ashley Madison, it’s not singles bars – it’s connecting with old friends! You can see what an alibi – and slippery slope – that can become.

I’m as addicted to Facebook as anyone, but I’ve gotta tell you, in five years, I think it’ll be the biggest source of infidelity that man has ever known.

Discuss.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    Piper

    First gf dumps my guy (pre me)for her drummer – he is devastated.
    He dates a few girls we meet get married
    5 or so yrs later pre-facebook She tries to hook up with him because drummer is alcoholic
    He says no I am married
    10 years pass – we divorce
    We re-hook up like 2 years later, semi dating again
    – FB appears – or we discover it (I liked mySpace)
    She contacts him again, they secretly hook up behind my back
    Now they are Married.
    Then my sister. She is getting divorced for her reconnect
    Sorry Nobody is safe… Or I and my bro-in-law  just suck
     

  2. 32
    fb hater

    I am with vino, darren, and piper. FB is an evil platform for fantasy and escape and LIES! I have been off it (yes its an addiction) for over a year and I don’t miss it. 

  3. 33
    JoJOe

    When the cats away the MOUSE will play.

    Temptation is as temptation does. The internet is like choosing shampoo these days. Mix a large amount of over choice with an instant medium and a few billion lizard brains and you get a recipe for illusion.
    It is interesting to know that while we’re all objectifying our lives to the world, while we’re all seeking out a self worth we’re oblivious to the wall just past the monitor.
    Seems the MOUSE is more curious than the cat. Has the internet become our alter ego? Have we stopped taking care of our realities to dwell in a quasi world of “he has, she has” “I have, you don’t” “I need, I want”
    Maybe we should sit for a while and spin our chairs around and look at what we have or need or didn’t get done.
    Are many of us walking where angles fear to tread?
    I love the internet, connection, education, travel, science, blogging.
    But for many (understatement) it’s envy, greed and sex.

    Some of us prefer the matrix some of us prefer reality. I guess we’ll have a future of dreamers and realitors.
    I’ve dated mostly dreamers and yes I found them online. No good.
    There is a limit to fantasy and that fantasy usually is the ruin of what could be a perfectly capable human being.
    If you’re not focused on becoming “someone” you’ll be looking for “someone”
    We’re all capable of debauchery, it’s a choice, like chocolates. Some hang tough by personal virtue. Some develop addictions to disaster.
    I had a boyfriend who’s preference was my photo’s rather than my face. Go figure is was a mystery. But I guess he was a dreamer and I was not interested in sleeping all day or for the rest of my physical life for that matter.
    I will say imagination is a wonderful thing but use it wisely.
    Lets all imagine we have “real” lives say. And make magic there.
    How many of us are ready to be told “YOU ARE THE ONE”

  4. 34
    laura

    Perhaps Facebook and other social media contribute to infidelity. But above all, infidelity is a choice. A choice made by someone to escape, or avoid, a larger emotional issue, or financial issue, or midlife issue, or self-esteem issue, etc. The research is pretty clear that affairs happen even in good marriages, so clearly the marriage is not at fault. And realizing that it’s not your fault, that it was someone’s choice, is one of the first steps toward personal recovery and healing…whether the marriage ends or mends.

     

  5. 35
    Kathy

    Agree! I think it already is this! I  personally know 4 people who have had affairs through Fb connections! 

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