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What is digital infidelity?
Before the internet was invented, defining what is unfaithful in a relationship was difficult enough. Is it only an affair if there is sexual intercourse, for example, or is just going out for a drink over-stepping the line? These days, with social media, facetime, apps and chatrooms available 24 hours a day, does someone even have to physically meet another to cheat? Where does ‘keeping in contact’ with a person cross the boundary and become digital infidelity? The boundaries are fuzzy, but the consequences are very real. Partnerships can end bitterly if one side feels the other is engaging in online affairs, even if the other doesn’t agree.
Digital infidelity occurs when a person gets, or remains, in touch with someone via technology, and engages in activity they would not want their current partner witnessing. It could be simply keeping tabs on an old flame, or flirtatious exchanges, or sexting and intimate photographs, but carrying out this kind of relationship in secret makes it potentially damaging. To many people, contacting another via email or Facebook isn’t ‘real life’ as the person could be in any part of the world and separated by a computer or phone screen. They do not think that they are being unfaithful and would never agree that they have online affairs, but their partner would not see it the same way. They would be traumatized if they discovered what is going on and be very emotional. From the point of discovery, it is likely that the injured partner feels betrayed and loses all their trust in the other. Once trust is lost, it is very difficult to regain and can often lead to a break up.
Do not think that digital infidelity will go unnoticed. There are classic signs that give someone away such as spending time online in private, smiling about messages received without elaborating on them, and deleting messages or search history as a matter of course. Usually behavior changes as things are kept secret and there is a need to tell small lies. Withdrawal from home life can also occur, as does going to bed later than normal, or getting up in the night. If you suspect your partner is engaging in online affairs, look out for some of these common traits. The majority of people will give themselves away at some point if you look for the signs. If you suspect digital infidelity is taking place, discuss it openly so you can tackle the issue. You never know, there could be other reasons for the odd behavior such as stress at work or money problems.
With so much at stake, it is important to establish what exactly is inappropriate behavior online when you’re in a relationship. As people have different feelings about what is unfaithful and what isn’t, the best thing to do is to speak with your partner about the issues. Some people are happy with some online activity but would be upset for partners to remain in contact with exes. If you understand your what your other half would consider online affairs, it will help you to avoid the situation. A good rule of thumb to follow, if you are considering your own life online, is that anything you do that you would not wish your partner to know about is potentially damaging. If you act in secret, especially if it is on a regular basis, you need to question your motives. Once you are found out, your partner could feel you have been utterly disloyal which could ruin your relationship forever.
If you suspect your spouse or partner of digital infidelity then take a look at the unfaithful partner signs to look out for or call our team of digital infidelity experts today on 0800 019942 and see how we can help you find out the truth.