by Seth Eisenberg
NPR asks if social media can break up a marriage. In a report this week, Jennifer Ludden says that while “texting doesn’t break up a marriage, people do,” technology is increasing opportunities for infidelity.
Mike Green said he didn’t think much about it when his wife suggested adding text messaging to their cell phone account in 2005. Soon after, he noticed she was texting all the time, when he’d come home from his evening shift for dinner, when they were cruising the shopping mall.
At the time, Green told a buddy his wife’s texting wasn’t a concern. “I said ‘No, I trust her, so why would I even worry?’”
Later, he realized there was one person she was texting more than all the others. That person turned out to be one of his wife’s colleagues with whom she had started an affair.
Green’s wife eventually left him for the colleague.
“Because I was gone at nights, she used him as her support system,” Green realized. “She would talk to him about things.”
Confiding is the lifeblood of intimacy, the emotional openness part of bonding that is vital to strong, healthy love relationships. When couples stop being emotionally open and physically close, relationships become vulnerable.
While Ludden’s conclusion that people break-up marriages, not technology, is true, couples are well advised to talk together about connecting with old flames, friends, colleagues and others online, by phone, or otherwise.
Agreeing that infidelity is doing anything you wouldn’t do in your partner’s presence is a good first step. That includes conversations, messages or expressions of affection that wouldn’t be perfectly acceptable in front of your partner.
For couples concerned their relationships may be vulnerable, technology such as PAIRS DTR, a free iPhone App, is helping many confide more often, even when schedules leave them too little time together.
Seth Eisenberg is President of the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation, an industry leader in relationship and marriage education.
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