lundi 10 mai 2010

Facebook and infidelity

Relationship advice from a single psychologist: Take it or leave it!

As a clinical psychologist, I have realised that in the past few years a greater number of my clients are consulting me because they are seeking advise on how to deal with their own, or their partner’s infidelity. While for most psychotherapists, counselling on the issue of infidelity is by no means new, it is how Facebook seems to have played a role in these infidelities that never ceases to surprise me. More specifically, several clients report having had an affair with someone they met (or reconnected with) on Facebook. It seems that Facebook, like other online dating sites like ‘E-harmony’ or ‘Match’ or ‘Beautifulpeople’, is indeed being used more and more by adults seeking to meet a new partner. The main difference being that other dating sites are actually transparent about their ‘raison d’être’. Facebook, on the other hand, seems to have led many to confuse the limits between friendships and initimacy.

With busy schedules and a harder time to balance work-life demands, it seems that North-American adults continue to opt for a more ‘business-like’ approach to dating. With the ability to connect with millions of other adults, going online and ‘poking’/emailing someone in order to get to know them better and/or to invite them for a drink or a movie is definitely becoming the preferred dating approach for most adults.

While the online world has definitely facilitated dating for single adults, it has also led many ‘married’ adults to develop close relationships or connect with hundreds of other adults. These online friendships have initially led several married adults to explore/test their ability to attract others. Such seemingly innocent flirtatious acts unfortunately, more often than we would like to admit, lead towards infidelity.

While these are my thoughts and are based solely on my clinical experiences as a psychologist, I cannot unfortunately confirm the generalisation of the observed tendency discussed above. I am asking, as such, for your opinions/experiences with Facebook and infidelity.

I am waiting for your thoughts and comments. Let’s get the discussion going!

Yaniv M. Benzimra, Ph.D.
Consulting Psychologist
Y2 Consulting Psychologists

You liked this article? Here's some more on the same subject:

Fearing commitment? I don't blame you!

What's love got to do with it? How online flirting destroys relationships. [Version française]

1 commentaire :

Ciaran, PsychBook a dit...

I noticed your recent paper on Scribd, and yes, as a research psychologist, I can see it is a growing problem. There are, to my mind, two inter-related problems:
- one, Facebook usage between couples can lead to Facebook-specific jealousy (I've blogged about this before: I'm not sure how good it is, but they seem like genuine folk, but a Seattle couple have written a book on Facebook in the marriage context (
- two, hyperpersonal communication probably fuels online infidelity to a large degree. (See Walther, J. B. (1996). Computer-mediated communication: Impersonal, interpersonal, and hyperpersonal interaction. Communication Research, 23, 3-43.)

Hope this helps!

- Ciaran, PsychBook