Why Facebook Is a Slippery Slope to Infidelity

There’s a whole category on this blog devoted to cheating.

I’m far from an authority on the subject, but, since it is something that impacts around 25% of relationships, I have counseled a number of clients whose lives were turned upside down by infidelity. In today’s blog post, I want to refer you to check out this first-person article in Time magazine by a divorce lawyer who says Facebook is basically an incubator for dissatisfied couples who are looking for an excuse to cheat.

Facebook is basically an incubator for dissatisfied couples who are looking for an excuse to cheat.

Ten years ago, I actually wrote about Facebook as the primary source of infidelity and, not to toot my own horn, but it sounds remarkably prescient.

“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.”

Now, here’s what the divorce lawyer just wrote:

“Facebook is foreplay. Facebook facilitates adultery and infidelity generally. Facebook gives you the means, the excuse and the cover to communicate with people you have no reason, no business, to talk to. Their day-to-day life has nothing to do with yours — not anymore, anyway. In many cases, perhaps the majority of cases, you follow and chat with this individual because you remember him or her fondly, as he or she might remember you; the memories are from a simpler time in your lives, when you were in college, or high school, when maybe you had a lot more sex, and when nervous possibility was in the air.”

If you have a solid relationship, Facebook is merely a search engine to look up people you dated once upon a time. I just got a friend request from my prom date from 28 years ago – who, from her photos, appears to be happily married with 3 children. That’s benign.

The answer is to break up with that partner, not to engage in a long-distance affair with a blast from the past.

But if you’re in a shaky relationship, Facebook just invites too much temptation. Like an alcoholic who is forced to live in a bar, you step away from your toxic partnership and imagine a better life with a glorified version of a person you knew many years ago. So while you may, in fact, be happier without your current partner, the answer is to break up with that partner, not to engage in a long-distance affair with a blast from the past.

Your thoughts on Facebook, temptation and infidelity, are greatly appreciated, below.

Join our conversation (37 Comments).
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Comments:

  1. 1
    Clare

    I think Facebook certainly can be the means, the excuse and the cover to cheat. I remember clearly getting a message on Facebook from a guy I had dated a year previously asking if I would be willing to have sex with him on the side since he had a girlfriend and their sex life was not good, according to him. I was at work when I got this message and it took all my self-control not to burst out laughing in my office. Since I both found his request repulsive and he had the personality and passion of a cupboard door, it was not very likely that I was going to acquiesce to his request. I was stunned at the audacity of it.

    I think the author of the article may be giving Facebook too much credit, however. I think it’s got more to do with the character of the person on Facebook than with Facebook itself. Like with most other things, while Facebook may provide the means to cheat, it is also very easy to spot someone who is that way inclined on Facebook. Which brings me to an interesting point. I have been able to accurately predict the success or failure of all my friends’ (and my own) relationships based on their behaviour on Facebook. Facebook is just like anything else in life… people are sending signals all the time, and you can see them if you’re paying attention.

    For instance, my friend just broke things off with a guy she had been “seeing” for a month or two. When she first mentioned him to me, I went and checked him out on Facebook. One look at his FB page told me that he was totally inappropriate for her (she is looking for a relationship, commitment etc.). His profile communicated a bachelor / player type of persona, and I noticed that he didn’t interact with my friend’s posts at all. Turns out he had had a girlfriend the whole time he and my friend had been “seeing” each other.

    I can think of a hundred other examples from my own and my friends’ experiences like this. Facebook is like anything else – it tells you about who the person is if you’re paying attention.

    1. 1.1
      Nissa

      Ok, I admit it – I immediately went and checked out my own Facebook page after reading this. It’s full of posts from NPR, TED talks, and cat videos interspersed with political posts, links to new articles on metabolism and petitions to legalize marijuana. I may be single forever :-).

      1. 1.1.1
        Clare

        Nissa,

        Unless you’re trying to attract a man who likes all those things! 🙂

        1. Nissa

          True. I have a bit of a crush on CatManChris of Cole & Marmelade fame.

      2. 1.1.2
        Adrian

        Hi Nissa,

        I have almost zero knowledge about facebook so obviously Clare’s opinion trumps mine but from everything I’ve read about facebook (years ago when it first became popular… so my knowledge my no longer be valid); facebook is about pictures.

        Most research shows that both sexes care more about pictures than words so as long as guys find you attractive I don’t think it matters what you have on your profile.

        And I haven’t seen it but I am sure there is data to support my hypothesis that the more attractive you are the more irrelevant your words are, post, links, videos, etc are to your contact rate.

        1. Nissa

          It’s not generally used for dating. I think because it’s a bit awkward because then you still see that person’s posts after they rejected you. Ouch. I agree that attractiveness is reason #1 both sexes investigate further. Clare is just saying it’s a good access point in trying to find out more about that person’s real likes & dislikes. For example, I love cats, but I almost never mention that on a date, because a lot of men have inaccurate perceptions about women with pets, especially cats. People in general can make invalid assumptions about all kinds of things. For that same reason, I keep my lips zipped in reference to my dietary habits. However, I often link articles about it on Facebook, so that would give a potential date of mine insight about my dialy life. Evan referenced it for dating because it really is easy to find people on it. 

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @Adrian

          Most research shows that both sexes care more about pictures than words so as long as guys find you attractive I don’t think it matters what you have on your profile.

          There was a point where I actually believed that women read profiles on a dating site.  However, I have conducted enough experiments to know that women are just like men in this regard.  If they like what they see, they ignore all of your preferences and any additional desired attributes listed in your profile.  I finally reached the point where I immediately blocked any woman who failed to read my profile before attempting to contact me.  I am absolutely convinced that women would engage in the same behaviors that infuriate them about men if they had to pursue because that is what they do when then decide to reach out.

        3. Adrian

          Hi Nissa and Yet Another Guy,

          Nissa said, “I agree that attractiveness is reason #1 both sexes investigate further.

          A lot of women accuse men of being shallow or only caring about looks, but then a lot of women scream that looks do matter to them as much as it matters to men. So I am always confused on that issue.

          A lot of relationship science based on research swears that women care more about status, wealthy, and character than looks and then you see some of the unattractive male celebrities girlfriends/wives and you think it has to be true.

          YAG said, ” women are just like men in this regard… I am absolutely convinced that women would engage in the same behaviors that infuriate them about men if they had to pursue because that is what they do when then decide to reach out.”

          I am currently reading Mating in Captivity and it is verifying a lot of what Jeremy constantly says on this site… that women say they want the good husband type but lust for the alpha type. The most interesting thing about the book is that it seems that women don’t even realize this.

          I also read in the book Predictably Irrational how it shows that both sexes NOT just men focus mostly on looks but the reality of their SMV forces many of them to say things like character matters more than how hot a person is.

          …   …   …

          As far as cheating I think that if a man or woman finds someone that they feel is more attractive than their current partner and they can lose that partner without a major decline in their current life then if they want the new person bad enough why not just breakup-I am assuming that this is someone who can get someone hotter not just someone who just lust for someone hotter.

          Be happy don’t force yourself to remain with someone just because the relationship is good. Breakup doesn’t always have to be because the relationship is bad or because you are unhappy-why not just because you found someone better. I think many of us are conditioned to believe that it is wrong to leave a good relationship or that if you are happy you won’t be more attracted to someone else, so they stay but cheat.

           

           

           

           

        4. GoWiththeFlow

          Adrian, YAG, Nissa,

          A year ago I went on a month long international trip. It was difficult if not impossible to access Facebook much of the time so I got used to not using it.  After I returned home, I’ve gone on Facebook maybe half a dozen to a dozen times, where before I compulsively checked it throughout the day.

          What I learned was that I’m just as happy, if not happier without it.  There are some positives, like being able to see pictures of my friends’ families who live out of the area, and I did get a lot of recipes off FB.  However, there are a lot of negatives.  Basically people doing a lot of $hit-stirring and intentionally being provocative.

          The last time I went on FB, my sister posted a picture of herself doing something immature and foolish.  Most commenters on her post said some version of “wow, that’s not good” including two of her daughters.  (Long story there, her kids have no respect for her because of decisions she has made the past few years.) Some random guy–have no idea why he has access to my sister’s posts–made a nasty comment directed at one of my nieces.  He clearly had no idea that she is her mom’s daughter.  My nieces then, um, pointed this out to him in flame-worthy style.  That made me laugh for a moment, but overall, I think the whole thing is a sad example of what is wrong with Facebook:  Oversharing, lack of privacy, and flame wars.

          From Nissa: “I agree that attractiveness is reason #1 both sexes investigate further.”

          I think physical attraction is the initial hook for both sexes.  But what leads to a person wanting to hang around longer or enter an exclusive committed relationship with someone is compatibility and character.  It’s all important in the big scheme of things.  Both chemistry and compatibility.

          Adrian said:  “I am currently reading Mating in Captivity and it is verifying a lot of what Jeremy constantly says on this site… that women say they want the good husband type but lust for the alpha type. The most interesting thing about the book is that it seems that women don’t even realize this.”

          I started reading MIC, but only got about 50-75 pages into it.  It just didn’t hold my attention.  For me a lot of the problem is the author’s binary thinking that’s expressed perfectly in the bold type above.  Who says a good husband doesn’t have any alpha qualities? Most men are a mixture of both and alpha and beta characteristics come out at different times in different situations.  The huge majority of women don’t marry men they aren’t attracted to/lust after.

        5. Jeremy

          Adrian and GWTF,

           

          Adrian quoted me as repeatedly saying that women marry one type and lust after another.  That isn’t what I’ve said, though, that is a manospherian philosophy (though I have written that women who are lane-changers in this sense often change lanes once again once they’ve achieved their relationship goals).  I agree with GWTF about the problem with binary thinking, and about how most men have a mixture of arousal and comfort qualities – though a woman’s attraction to each of these will change several times in her life – and hence all sorts of problems for men and for women.

           

          Where I agree with Adrian is in the latter half of his comment, “The most interesting thing about the book is that it seems that women don’t even realize this.”  THAT is the fascinating part – the reason men shouldn’t take relationship advice from women –  the fact that many women don’t seem to have any conscious awareness of what they want or the reasons for their behavior patterns.  They invest in their own un-knowability, and substitute what they believe they should want for what they do want.  

        6. Jeremy

          @Adrian, one other thing.  You wrote, “I also read in the book Predictably Irrational how it shows that both sexes NOT just men focus mostly on looks but the reality of their SMV forces many of them to say things like character matters more than how hot a person is.”  Although I love Dan Ariely’s books, I disagree that this is the main reason women focus on character over hotness when it comes to LTRs.  Rather, it is a conflict between sexual goals and relationship goals.

           

          You know men’s sex drive, the set of desires that drives so much of our behavior?  You’ll notice that women’s sex drive is much, much lower.  This is not to say that women don’t have strong sex drives, but their sex drive is not main basis for their behavior.  Women (generally, with exceptions), prioritize their desire for children well above their sex drive as the basis for their behavior.  Women do insane things to further their desire for children.  This desire derails their careers, is the basis for many of their choices at a certain age, forms the basis for so much of their behavior.  EXACTLY AS MEN’S SEX DRIVE DOES, FOR MEN.  I’d say that men generally want children as much as women generally want sex – it’s on the radar, it’s of importance, but if it’s going to significantly throw a kink in your life, you could do without it.  I have no scientific evidence for this, but it is my lifelong observation.

           

          With this in mind, come back to the concept of women choosing character over hotness.  Hotness is a sexual attractant.  Character is a parental attractant.  Which do you think women of child-bearing age will prioritize?  She wants children like you want sex!  The desire for children derails the sexual goals in favour of parental goals.  The parental goals will eventually fade, though, and priorities will reshuffle.  But this is something that young men who are considering marriage need to understand – your wife’s priorities and yours are not the same.  The content of your pie-charts might match, but the relative weight of each factor will differ significantly.  Too many marital problems arise because spouses assume that each other’s pie charts should match their own.

        7. Yet Another Guy

          @Jeremy

          Your posts make my head want to explode. That being said, what is interesting about being an older man is experiencing what occurs when the parental goals fade. A lot of women who were previously in sexless marriages become sexually insatiable. Now, this transformation would not be so strange if it were not for the fact that more marriages become sexless due to the woman losing sexual interest than vice versa.

        8. Cathalei

          I have read this long, and IMO slightly tedious discussion as t goes in circles, but the most striking thing here is binary thinking. Just because people desire X doesn’t mean they don’t desire Y as well, and all they do is motivated by X. In reality, people’s attraction might very well be an indicator of what they find lacking as the OP suggests.

          Complaining about people caring about looks is hypocritical if you do it yourself as well. And caring about looks doesn’t necessarily mean some are totally excluded, obviously not. People, men and women, find it hard to explain why they’re attracted to what they’re attracted to, but that doesn’t indicate a lack of character in them. Attraction is not some mechanism that goes with analysis, it’s an amalgamation of appearance, behavior, conduct etc.

          The question about why women prioritize character over looks in LTR is self explanatory, and it isn’t exclusive to women either. STFs are more about glamor and shininess but both sexes consider something as fundamental as character in a LTR as it is usually the difference between having an amicable divorce and being taken to cleaners for the most basic example. It is not about “baby rabies” but about trustworthiness and a successful relationship. (Otherwise women who don’t want any more children would not care about character let alone men but they do.)

          One thing that is overlooked very often is that certain character traits may be attractive. It’s not solely about comfort but one can be drawn to certain characters, the reason why Audrey Hepburn is promoted as a role model to young women is not solely her appearance, but her character as well. It’s likely that from what we gather from the comments about her from men around her that they were drawn to her character as well. Not to mention that it’s quite useful, since appearance might be seriously altered by an accident, disease etc.

        9. Jeremy

          Cathalei, you wrote, ” the most striking thing here is binary thinking. Just because people desire X doesn’t mean they don’t desire Y as well, and all they do is motivated by X.”  Who was suggesting otherwise?  The logic of what you wrote is inescapable.  But I was not suggesting that men (or women who don’t want children) don’t value character in LTR partners.  I was suggesting that character is a larger section of women’s pie-chart than it is for men’s, especially during child-bearing years, as evidenced by the different ways men and women tend to “settle” – women settle more on arousal in favor of character over arousal.  Men, the reverse.  You don’t tend to find articles about men settling to marry women they find less attractive than those they’ve dated in the past, and those men that do so are the exceptions.  You do find such sentiments among women.  I gave my hypothesis as to why.  

        10. Cathalei

          Jeremy,

          Thanks for the answer. My point was basically about the fact that character can be a source of attraction as well, and not just an ordinary factor but a fundamental one.

          Yes, we hear women “settling for” men whom they are not attracted to yet they think they would make good parents, good marriage prospects etc. Child bearing is an obvious factor in that, another thing is that showing to other women that they’re wanted by someone, and often themselves in case they have low self esteem. As for the same behavior in men, I think Evan mentioned that the feelings he had for his wife before they got married was different than those he had for his exes and that got him thinking. But character is not limited to making a good marriage prospect or good parent on paper, both men and women can be attracted to certain characteristics and on the contrary, some character traits can kill attraction as well. It’s not solely about looks.

          I suggest you watch famous Bollywood movie KANK by Karan Johar, he made a stellar job of drawing attraction vs comfort lines with two marriages. It gives one much of food for thought when it comes to right reasons for LTRs.

    2. 1.2
      Adrian

      Hi Clare,

      I don’t use facebook or any kind of social media so comments like yours always fascinated me.

      What about a person’s profile exactly help you predict if the relationship will work? Fun pictures instead of pictures of them going to church? (^_^)

      …   …   …

      As far as cheating why do you think that people are okay with being bold online with someone they know but if you the same guy would have saw you at the grocery store I doubt he would have been so audacious…

      Keyboard warriors fascinate me.

      1. 1.2.1
        Clare

        Adrian,

        I’ll answer your second question first because the answer is simple: “As far as cheating why do you think that people are okay with being bold online with someone they know but if you the same guy would have saw you at the grocery store I doubt he would have been so audacious…” Because there are very few consequences for doing so, especially if you don’t see each other in real life. People are able to take a gamble at seeing whether their attention will be returned with very little risk. The guy with the girlfriend who propositioned me could do so very easily, and didn’t have to deal with the physical recoiling which he would have seen from me if he had approached me in person.

        As to your second question: “What about a person’s profile exactly help you predict if the relationship will work?” I’m so glad you asked. There are so many signals which people send through social media like Facebook, some obvious, some more subtle. For argument’s sake, let’s suppose a guy and a girl are in a relationship, and we want to see how strong the relationship is and how long it will last. Some of the obvious signs on Facebook are:

        * Relationship status. Are they in a relationship with each other on FB? If yes, good sign. If one or both list their relationship status as single, this is not such a great sign.

        * Profile picture. Is their profile picture of them as a couple? At the very least, is the profile picture of them engaging in something harmless and wholesome (eg. a family pic, or a pic of them doing their hobby)? These are good signs. If the person’s profile pic is of them on their own looking decidedly, well, single (for example, a guy showing off his gym muscles or a girl in a low cut top), these are not such great signs.

        * How open is their profile? I tend to think that unless a person is very introverted and private, the more open a person’s profile is, the better that is for their budding relationship. If most sections of a person’s profile are hidden, this is not a great sign.

        * Photos. If a person’s photos are mostly of them with their family, with their significant other and doing harmless activities like playing sport, this is a good sign. If a person’s photos are mostly of them with their single friends, or of them partying and drinking, this is not a good sign.

         

        Some of the less obvious signs are:

        * How much do they interact with the person they’re in a relationship with? This is a HUGE one, in my experience. As a general rule, the more they interact on Facebook with the person they’re in a relationship with, the better. Liking, commenting, tagging… these all equal attention in the social media world, and it means the person is into you. This is not an absolute – some people don’t interact much with anyone on Facebook. But if the person is interacting with other people and posting other things and ignoring the person they’re in a relationship with, this is definitely not a good sign.

        * If the person is constantly “friending” people of the opposite sex – single people – this is not a good sign.

        * If there is literally no sign of the person they are supposed to be in a relationship with on their Facebook page, this is not a good sign.

        * If the person randomly decided to “take a Facebook break” and delete their account partway through the relationship, usually not a good sign.

        None of these signs taken on its own mean anything necessarily, but when you put a few of them together, a picture starts to emerge, either of a person who is relationship-oriented and into the other person, or of someone who is trying to give off a “single vibe” even while they are supposedly in a relationship.

        (Adrian, I realise much of this will not make much sense to you if you are not familiar with Facebook, but someone who is should be able to explain it to you.)

        1. Adrian

          Hi Clare,

          Thanks! For the longest I was so confused to why many people made such a big deal about a partner not posting their relationship status. All your points about facebook makes sense. So I wonder what are your thoughts on a person who doesn’t do any social media?

          I just found out this past week about something I never knew existed… They are called instagram models. Here in the states I guess they are like supermodels for social media; I am not sure if you have them in your country…

          As a side note: Is Charlize Theron a big celebrity in your country like she is here? I ask because I think you both are from the same country.

          Anyway apparently Instagram models are easier to contact than the models you see on runways or in magazines and a lot of celebrities have cheated with these online models. When I see these models compared to these men’s girlfriends or wives I think “yeah I see why he did it, she is so much hotter than his girlfriend/wife.” I didn’t say it was right, I just said I understand; personally I think they should just dump the girlfriend and go after the girl he wants instead of cheating.

          I think men with a lot of options shouldn’t get into long-term relationships until they are older and maybe have played the field and experienced enough to learn that just because he could have more or better looking women than the one he has doesn’t men he should.

          What are your thoughts on men with lots of options entering into relationships? And do view stories of men leaving their girlfriends/wives for women that are extremely gorgeous the same as you view stories of men leaving their partners for women who are not as attractive as their current partner?

          I think publicly most people say there is no difference but privately..?

          …   …   …

          As far as the guy being bolder online than in person; again I agree with you. I was just talking to a woman yesterday about value and sex.

          Clare do you think there is any correlation between what and how a guy asks a woman certain questions about sex and his perceived value of her?

          Since we are mostly talking about strangers or people who have only been on a few dates does her value means her level of attractiveness more so than her character or accomplishments?

          I mean what causes a guy (or girl as Yet Another Guy reminds us) to ask one stranger for sex within the first message but try to court another… when his goal is sex with them both? It has to be his perceived value of the woman.

          I am asking you because this is not the first time you said a guy has been so bold and upfront about just wanting sex from you… So I wonder how do they see your value and approachability.

        2. Clare

          Hi Adrian,

          I’ll answer your question about Charlize Theron first. Yes, we are both from South Africa! She comes from Benoni (which is a suburb of Johannesburg). Yes, she is a big celebrity here, and we were proud of her especially when she won the oscar for Monster. In the USA she is considered absolutely gorgeous – and she is – but honestly, every second girl in Benoni looks like her. A little bit of an exaggeration, but not much. Afrikaans girls are known for those kinds of looks here, so I guess we’re not as awed by her beauty.

          My thoughts on someone who doesn’t do any social media – I think this is a great thing if you can get away with it, and I think it will save you a lot of unnecessary tension and arguments in your relationship.

          My thoughts on men (or women) with lots of options entering into relationships… Honestly this is so subjective that I’m surprised it is such a big topic of conversation here on this blog. Surely the much more important question, rather than how many options the guy has, is how relationship-oriented he is? Honestly I have known guys who were not that hot who were still players. And I have known gorgeous guys who were very devoted. Personally, I stay away from any guy with a hint of unfaithfulness around him like the plague, and I advise other women to do the same. If a guy wants to cheat, he will cheat. Some guys find it easier than others, but I don’t think their looks have that much of a bearing on their character. Then again, it might be different here in SA – men tend to be more traditional on the whole. Can’t say I can comment too much on the hook-up culture in the States because it’s not as much of a thing here.

          As for the perception of men who leave their girlfriends or wives for women who are very gorgeous versus not as gorgeous… Again, I think you may be too hung up on looks. I have seen both – sometimes men will leave their girlfriends or wives for a woman who is significantly less gorgeous, and the conclusion I draw is that she must make him happier. Honestly, in my experience, although looks will get you in the door with a man, men are not nearly as looks-driven as all that. Good quality men, anyway.

          As far as your question about a guy being bold about asking for sex being correlated with how he sees her – I’d love to say I thought they were closely correlated, but honestly I think it’s just the way these guys are. I have mentioned two instances of men being quite open about wanting sex with me. I could have mentioned half a dozen more stories. I’ve dated a lot. But I’d say I have far more stories of men who behaved like complete gentlemen towards me. Like Evan says, men do what they want. And some men just want sex, and very little else. I get along well with men and I’ve been told I’m approachable, so maybe they felt comfortable asking me. I don’t know. I wasn’t offended by their requests, and they didn’t succeed, so where’s the harm, really?

          The man I’m with now who I’ve been dating for a few weeks and with whom things are going very well is a man who made it clear from the beginning that he was interested in much more than sex. Not just with his words, but with his actions. These are the only guys who get anywhere with me. So I figure if I have this approach, why waste time and energy worrying about how the other guys perceive me?

  2. 2
    k_dub

    This post is very timely.  Someone I dated about 5 years ago – and haven’t heard from since – sent me a message on Facebook recently; however, we were never connected as friends on fb.  Our relationship was basically what I’d consider NSA.  We had good chemistry and a large part of our relationship was keeping it fun with flirty & sexy texts & messages.  We ended it after about 4 mos when I realized I wanted more, so I was surprised to hear from him after all this time.  Unbeknownst to him, I’m now in a committed 5-yr LTR and living in another state.

    I was hesitant to respond to his message, but I asked him about being on fb b/c he had told me when we were together that he had closed his profile; he only recently got active on it again.  He said he was going through old messages and reliving our “fun memories” and “naughty times.”  After a couple of short, meaningless, and mundane exchanges, he then sent me a link to connect with him off of fb.  I immediately got the impression that he wanted to engage with me in more than just casual messages, so I didn’t respond any further and deleted the conversation.

    Even though I’m happy in my current relationship, it was at this point that I realized that it would be so easy to engage in infidelity on fb.  Like the article says, connecting with people in your past can take you to a simpler or possibly more exciting time in your life.  In this example, I was single after a divorce, going out and meeting new people and having fun, and dating to discover what I am looking for in a new relationship.  He & I did have fun but it wasn’t meant to last.  I feel very strongly about how much you should communicate with an ex-partner (ex-bf, spouse, etc.) if at all.  Unless there are children involved or there are some loose ends following a divorce, which are the only reasons I can think of, your daily life has nothing to do with them anymore, so there’s no reason to ever contact them again.

    1. 2.1
      Adrian

      Hello K_dub,

      You said, “ I immediately got the impression that he wanted to engage with me in more than just casual messages, so I didn’t respond any further and deleted the conversation.

      I don’t understand your actions. Why not just tell him you have someone? Why run away and ghost on him?

      1. 2.1.1
        AD83

        Because she’s interested in starting something again.

        1. Adrian

          Hello AD83,

          I agree I guess I just didn’t understand not telling him she has a happy long-term boyfriend.

          I mean it is almost as if she wants to leave that door open for the future with him… That is what she needs to admit to herself.

          She admits that this guys gives her something that (I’m assuming) her boyfriend can’t or at least not the same level of and that is lust.

          We focus so hard on marriage that I think we only see it as a destination not as a starting line. She left hot sex for stability… now she has the stable guy but after months/years stable becomes predictable which equals boring.

          I think all the marriage and dating counseling should have a section where it teaches people how to keep the passion high or at least honestly prepare people for the decline of the novelty after getting the same thing from the same person for years and ask people are you sure that a long-term relationship or marriage is what you really want?… then here is what it means.

  3. 3
    KC

    This happened to me. It was two guys, one of which was a high school buddy of my then husband’s. I wish it had never happened and after almost 10 years I am trying to resign myself to the real possibility that I will never be in a truly committed caring relationship with a man again.

  4. 4
    AdaGrace

    There are local people I used to consider “friends” who I never see anymore because they spend a disproportionate amount of time on Facebook.  These folks never accept or initiate in-person invitations anymore despite having done so in the past, but still “like” the occasional posts I make.  My impression is that Facebook is addressing their social needs in a way that leaves them dissatisfied but insufficiently motivated to seek out other people as frequently as they once did.
    Based on this, I have a sneaking suspicion that there hasn’t been an increase in the amount of cheating, that it’s just more likely that a person inclined to cheat is going to meet or reunite with a paramour using Facebook instead of picking someone they met at work or while out and about.   (they’re presumably socializing with coworkers or friends after work less often thanks to Facebook.)
    I’ve always felt that someone without integrity will use whatever tools are at their disposal to cheat and that the best idea is to reject a prospective partner who shows that they lack integrity — rather than wasting time and energy worrying about whether and how they’re is being exposed to temptation.  Someone like that will figure out how to avoid cheating, whether that means avoiding Facebook as needed, communicating with me if they’re unhappy with our relationship, actually breaking up with me if they truly feel we’re incompatible, etc.

  5. 5
    dawn

    I have two comments to make about this facebook issue.

    FIrst, it happened to my sister. Shes a bit naive, lucky wnough to never have dating drama. Married to her husband 20 years. Out of te blue her high school bf contacts her on fb. I told my sister he was up to no good: men dont contact women to say “hi” or bc they were reminecing: men contact women with a purpose. ANd sure enough, he was having problems in his marriage and started getting flirty eith her and want to meet to “catch up”. I told her to shut that sh@! down. WIsely she did.

     

    SEcond it is true: if you read through fb, people post what they want you to see, not what real life is with trials and tribulations. My ex ghosted me. Through his fb page I saw he got a new job, saw him celebrate holidays wetc etc. WHen he contacted me a few weeks ago, turns out his “former” wife wants to move 1200 miles away with his kids, he was laid off shortly after he ghosted me, lost all his friends, death of a friend, and bascially was going thru a mental breakdown.. I call this karma, and I call Evan a genius.

  6. 6
    Theodora

    When we talk about “cheaters”, we talk about something so abstract and distant from us, like “those villains from Mars” or “those war criminals”. It is implied that we are people of flawless integrity and those “cheaters” might as well belong to a different species.

     

    I think most people are prone to cheating and most have already cheated at some point in their life. Some are better at rationalizing it than others (“my life was a mess at that time”, “I was in an abusive relationship and I needed affection”), some limit the definition of cheating (you can only cheat on a spouse, not on an unmarried partner, it was not cheating because we only had oral sex) and a lot just didn’t have the opportunity or didn’t meet somebody exciting enough to cheat.

     

    Ironically, sometimes the people who virtue-signal the most about the evil cheaters are the ones who are the weakest when the opportunity and temptation arise. In the same vein forners alcoholics and smokers are the most fanatical preachers against the evils of their former vices because they know how weak they are.

     

    I didn’t choose randomly the sinilarities between how we speak about cheaters and how we speak about war criminals. We all like to believe that we are fundamentally kind, decent and compassionate human beings. However, as the Stanford experiment shows, we don’t know how we will behave when we have absolute power and control over other people. When put in the role of prison guards with no penalties or consequences for their cruelty, a lot of people, the most even, will behave like sadistic prison guards. If you add in the mix a political or religious ideology that dehumanizes other human groups, the mask of decency and normalcy might slip off anytime.

     

    This is not to say that some people don’t have more integrity and moral compass than others. It’s just that those “cheaters” don’t belong to a different species and can be any of us. Facebook is not a tool for cheating, but it has the potential, like all social media, to reveal human nature in all its naked “glory”.

  7. 7
    loubelle

    my ex of 5 years, when we first started going out he was still private messaging women on fb he knew fancied him, i was not happy. I should have got out then and there. He was an attention seeker needing validation from any woman at any time, even when with me for 5 years. Little boys looking for mummy to tell them everything good about themselves ( no negatives allowed). These people do not like rejection, therefore are desperate to at least get ‘something’ (other womens attention) to dismiss that rejection, it is a slippery slope. It starts off with emotional cheating which my ex did on fb (and in person)and also kept in touch with his exes, not as friends, but because it was good for his ego if any present relationship didnt work. He wasnt even that hot and he had a fat head lol. You see it now from the outside. What did i see in him. lovebombed, future faked, typical example of a non committal man with self esteem bigger than his manhood  (had minimal self esteem). never again, i see any guy im dating conversing in this manner with other women (he has just met) im off. I am now engaged to a man who doesnt even have social media and doesnt need the attention from other women because he has enough self esteem to just want attention from me. He does not care about ‘likes’. The sex is better, the communication is amazing, no arguments just diagreements then sorted. complete opposite to the little boy i dated for 5 years. Youd think it would be good looking buff men who acted like this but it isnt , my ex wasnt either of those, just talked the talk and did not walk the walk. a lazy dater. lazy at everything. fb pming is lazy dating, so is over texting, if they cant ring get rid. beware of fb and social media it can be a relationship killer and, alot of women even if they know he is attached will still go to get him through competition. women can be as bad if not worse than the man

    1. 7.1
      Adrian

      Hello Loubelle,

      As a random stranger from the internet you can take my words with a grain of salt. However I would suggest that you hold off on marrying your fiance. It appears that you still have a lot of issues or maybe even desire for your ex; the fact that you decided to post a comment about someone who you haven’t been with in years when there are so many other post by Evan on love, marriage and happiness is very telling-at the very least something is keeping you from letting go of the ex.

      But like I said I am a stranger so you don’t have to pay my advice any of your mind.

      1. 7.1.1
        Loubelle

        @ adrian. Im not marrying yet but we will be. Youre wrong however.yes he hurt me a lot and I was very wary of men in general. I have no issues with my ex and I would never give him time of day…but I am putting it on here so if other women have a man who does this to run or end it quicker than I did. I want them to know their fellas arent all that and better is out there if treated same way as I was. Btw my now fiance is someone I was with for 15 years…years ago. Hes grown up…we talked about previous issues and gave it another go. Im glad we did. I will always warn other women about the habits of men who arent invested to save them time and heartbreak. I wish I had read up on narcissists before I fell head in years ago.

  8. 8
    Selena

    I’ve looked up old friends and lovers on FB out of curiosity at times, something sparks a memory and I wonder where they are now, what they look like. I’ve never been curious enough to contact them though – what is there to say after so many years? Romantic relationships ended for a reason.

    I can see how it could be a slippery slope for some. Curiosity leads to friending/following, which leads to innocent messaging, which leads to sharing more than one probably should and creating a sense of intimacy that wouldn’t otherwise exist. What starts out as harmless attention builds into a *relationship* worth pursuing?

    1. 8.1
      loubelle

      i agree, romantic relationships end for a reason, i don’t think there anything wrong with looking up old exes just being inquisitive but i wouldn’t go as far to add them or message them, just curiosity. i looked up my ex when (relationship when was younger) on fb and was pleased the photo seemed he was married and had 3 kids. He was a good bloke but we both were at the wrong time. I’m happy for him. He is the only ex i’ve looked up because he was a nice man, the others i wouldn’t, they’re not worth my searching time tbh. i didn’t message him it is disrespectful to his partner and to him. I have had it where an ex has talked to women on fb (new friend women, if was women he knew years then fair enough) and in private message knowing they fancied him, a red flag of many. emotional cheating to me is worse than physical cheating just for sex, because the man has to invest emotionally before they have sex not just want sex. That hurts and that’s where any woman who’s man is doing this should get rid asap. i didn’t and regret that i didn’t now. If a man tells or shows you who he is believe him (covert or not covert).

  9. 9
    LindseyG

    This is in reply to the comment about women wanting children vs. men wanting sex…
    I feel like a lot of women want just as much sex as men want and some women don’t even want children at all. I often feel like I want more sex than any one man could possibly give me. Most men can go maybe twice a night tops. I think maybe women’s libidos increase as they age and men do the opposite? Idk.. 31f …. last year, broke up with my ex of 2 years and he was 23yo.. 7 years my junior.. I loved this man like nothing else.. but I know I was naïve to think I could settle down with a younger dude like that but can’t help it, young guys are like.. energizer bunnies in the bedroom.. However, I will say some 38 yo men can go 8x a night, all night.. but these kind of guys are less commitment oriented than a 23 yo! Anyway… none of these guys are hubby material.. but women sleep with men based off of physical attraction just like men.. and some men require qualities in a woman other than just a pretty face/body.. my point is, women and men have many similarities…. we tend to lump genders together in ways that aren’t fair or true…

    1. 9.1
      Yet Another Guy

      @LindseyG

      young guys are like.. energizer bunnies in the bedroom

      Refractory period does increase with age, but can a 23-year-old maintain an erection and go for an hour straight while switching positions without orgasming?  I know that I could not do that at age 23, but I can do it today.  A short refractory period does not make up for orgasming in five minutes or less.

      but women sleep with men based off of physical attraction just like men

      However, from what I have experienced, there is a difference in how men and women approach casual sex.  Women tend to look for physical chemistry because they control access to sex.  That is why it is easier for an older woman to have sex with a hot younger man than vice versa.  Men do not need physical chemistry to have sex.  They do not even need to like or be attracted to a woman to have sex with her.  While it was not originally coined to refer to being non-selective with women, there is a reason why guys tell each other to go ugly early.  Most straight, sexually-functional men will have sex with just about any willing woman.

       

       

      1. 9.1.1
        LindseyG

        No, you’re right. Younger men generally can’t maintain an erection as long but can go more rounds. Either way is fine in my opinion. I just think some people are more insatiable than others (male/female). I’ve never heard of “go ugly early” LOL, how unfortunate. I think physical attraction varies and maybe women are more discerning.. IDK. I’ve tried dating so many different kinds of men in an attempt to cultivate that chemistry… I’m still learning and hope that I find it again..
         
        In re-reading my earlier comment, I feel it sounds a bit tasteless.. Reducing anyone to sex is pretty shallow…. I think that our opinions of the opposite sex and our sexual preferences evolve with age…. maturity and life experience affects how we view potential partners as well..

        1. Yet Another Guy

          @LindseyG

          Women are a lot more discerning than men. Women are afforded that privilege because they control access to sex and men are easy.  Men will absolutely date down for sex.  Women are a lot more accommodating when they date a man who is a big step up in looks and social status than the guys they usually date.  A man with even a modicum of social intelligence know hows to exploit this hypergamy-driven behavior.

          The thing about age to me is that while a younger woman may offer more in the way of eye candy, she offers much less in the areas that truly count.  I could not imagine dating a twenty or thirty-something woman. They still have miles to put behind their rear view mirror.  Twenty to thirty years of living makes a difference in a woman.  Older women have raised children.  Nothing teaches one patience and how to make sacrifices like children.  Older women do not sweat the small stuff.  Things are more relaxed.  Love making is more intimate, and neither partner takes it for granted.  Plus, older women are better lovers.  They have had years of practice, and are not shy about telling a man what they like in the bedroom.  They are also usually more open to new things.  At least, that has been my experience.

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