Archive for the ‘facebook’ Category

Facebook Infidelity

April 16, 2011

In my training as a therapist, I have noticed that almost all of our couples have one thing in common: Facebook.  Yes, these couples have issues outside of Facebook and their Facebook use is more likely a symptom of the problem than the problem itself. Yet, time and time again, couples come to therapy and talk about Facebook.  Maybe the wife found her husband’s chat conversation in which he tells another woman she’s beautiful, or a husband found out his wife has reconnected with her high school sweetheart. Maybe this “connection” occurred once, maybe it occurs often, and maybe it has even surpassed Facebook and now occurs on the phone or in person.  Sometimes it is friendly, sometimes it is sexual, and sometimes it is both.  The only thing I know for sure is that there is no one sure way to interpret these connections.  Researchers have found that a lot of confusion occurs around whether online relationships are considered infidelity, but cyber-affairs can have real impact on real life relationships.  While rules for face-to-face relationships are clear, rules for online relationships have not been established for many couples(Whitty and Carr, 2005).  Here are some tips for protecting your relationship from online infidelity.

–       Communicate— talk to your significant other about what “online infidelity” looks like to you. Defining what you consider cheating could help you both know what pitfalls to avoid.

–       Set clear boundaries—innocent friendship can unintentionally turn inappropriate. Know how much time, energy, and flirtation you can put into a relationship with another person before it crosses the line of emotional infidelity that you and your significant other have set.

–       Be open— keeping relationships public with wall posts instead of private messages helps keep you accountable to your spouse and social network. Some spouses even share an account or know each other’s passwords, increasing the transparency in their relationship.

Some couples may think that transparency means a lack of trust.  Be careful not to become obsessed with transparency because this can come off as controlling.  Rather, transparency should be a source of closeness.  It doesn’t mean you have to check in on your partner’s behaviors regularly.  Transparency means that you trust each other enough to share these things, while safeguarding your own vulnerabilities as an imperfect human being.  While you should not have to share with your spouse every time you talk with a friend, feeling as if you should hide your communication could be a personal sign that you’ve crossed a line in your relationship by which your spouse would be hurt.  If you have already experienced a Facebook related issue, consider seeking counseling by licensed Marriage and Family Therapists. As online communication becomes more prevalent, make sure you keep your Facebook fidelity strong!



Whitty and Carr, 2005 M.T. Whitty and A.N. Carr, Taking the good with the bad: Applying Klein’s work to further our understandings of cyber-cheating, Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy 4 (2/3) (2005), pp. 103–115.

Is it Facebook official?

December 10, 2009

Is it Facebook official?

I can’t begin to count the number of times I have heard someone ask some lucky person who has met that special someone, “Is it facebook official?”  In our society, communication is becoming more and more based on technology such as text, email, and even facebook.  A lack of face-to-face contact has allowed intimate relationships to become even more complicated than ever. It is extremely easy to misinterpret text messages, emails, and even lengthy facebook statuses/messages. Just because your relationship is “facebook official”, does not automatically mean that it is officially healthy. Whether you are married or not, the following are some fantastic ideas of how to keep that relationship healthy while being facebook official. During this Holiday season try to not only connect with people on facebook, but connect with the same people face-to-face.

Here’s some great do’s and don’ts from K. Jason and Kelli Krafsky:

What Every Facebooking Couple Should DO to Protect Their Marriage!

Create boundaries to protect yourself, your spouse and your marriage. Spend some time talking about what’s in bounds and out of bounds and as a couple, agree on what boundaries you’ll set as a couple.  A little bit of agreement on what is and is not acceptable can save a lot of pain and disagreement later.

Set your relationship status to Married and keep it that way. Facebook’s version of the  wedding band, your Relationship Status makes all the difference in how people interact with you. If you do happen to go through some marital troubles, don’t change to “it’s complicated” because you’ll only make things even more complicated…in a bad way.

Update each other on your FB Friends and Friend Requests. Friends range from past childhood pals and classmates to current connections from work, church and elsewhere. Many of your FB Friends have a story attached to them.  Don’t assume your spouse knows how you know them; spend time sharing their story with your mate.

Share your username and password with one another.
Transparency is crucial to ensure trust in a committed relationship.  Exchanging login information provides accountability and emotional security for both of you

Make your spouse the topic of your Status updates at least once a week.
Using Facebook to affirm and build up your spouse creates a deeper bond between the two of you, and a higher fence around the two of you.  (Just be careful not to overdo and become an annoying couple.)

Be prepared to talk offline about online issues.
What happens on Facebook doesn’t stay on Facebook.  Facebook can and will trigger issues and conversations between you and your spouse: a poorly worded joke, an awkward comment by a FB Friend, or an unexpected chat session. Deal with hurt feelings or concerns in the privacy of your own home. If handling conflict is difficult for you and your spouse, attend a Marriage Education class to acquire a shared set of communication/conflict resolution skills.

What Every Facebooking Couple Should NOT DO to Protect Their Marriage!

(DON’T) Write cutting remarks or negative statements about your spouse. Even though Facebook asks, “What’s on your mind,” it doesn’t mean everyone really wants to know the answer to that question.  If in doubt, think about how your comments will be read by others (think about your mother-in-law, your boss, your pastor) before pushing the Share/Comment button.

(DON’T) Friend exes, old flames, past flings, former crushes or anyone you’ve been intimate with in the past. What starts as an innocent, “I wonder whatever happened to so-and-so” can lead to “I never meant for this to happen.” Friending exes’ invites an unnecessary threat into your married life that can cause any or all of the following: anxiety and insecurity for your spouse, friction and isolation in your marriage, and unrealistic and senseless ideas in your head.  If staying FB Friends  is a bad idea for a broken up (dating) couple, then it’s a really, really bad idea for married couples.

(DON’T) Lose track of how much time you spend on Facebook. Everyone needs a little down time to unwind each day.  Facebook can be a great way to wind down (e.g. connect with FB Friends, play games, find Groups and Fan Pages, etc). On average, users spend 12-15 minutes a day on Facebook. That seems like a healthy dose of daily Facebook intake. If time on the online social community infringes on your real-time marriage relationship, make changes to reprioritize your time.  Set a timer for 15 minutes and then log off Facebook and turn off the computer.

(DON’T) Report that you or your spouse is out of town. This is more security than anything else.  Say your husband is on a business trip and you post an update that he is out of town. What you think is a harmless Status Update is an announcement to the bad guys that your home, possessions and family are vulnerable and a prime target for bad things to happen.  Do you really know all of your FB Friends?  How about their Friends?  A FB Friend’s comment to your Status Update can unknowingly broadcast your “my husband is gone” news to a bunch of people you really don’t know.

(DON’T) Have private Chat sessions with people of the opposite sex. Chats are a private, real time message exchange between two people.  Once a person logs off, Chat sessions are erased forever.  Emotional affairs have three main ingredients: secrecy, chemistry and intimacy.  Chatting provides a perfect environment for the three ingredients to mix together and create a situation that supposedly “just happened”.  Avoid the drama and turn off the Chat feature altogether.

(DON’T) Let Facebook be a distraction during your time with your mate. Not only can writing a Status Update steal time from your couple time, but reading someone’s bad news can steal your mind from your special time together.  Make date nights, special moments, and times of intimacy Facebook-free.  No laptops, no computers, no smart phones when it is time for you and your spouse.

These tips are provided by: For more helpful tips like these, visit this website.

Rachel Dawkins, Graduate Research Assistant

Alabama Community Healthy Marriage Initiative