It Isn't Facebook's Fault If You're Fantasizing About Cheating

woman looking at phone on bed husband sleepingIt's so easy to blame Facebook for -- well, pretty much anything, but definitely an uptick in infidelity. How else would someone end up reconnecting with the first guy they ever slept with? Pre–social media, you wouldn't even know he was still alive. But cheating is one thing you CAN'T blame on social media. Turns out, it's your memory that may make you unfaithful.

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A recent study out of Indiana University examined whether or not Facebook really did prime the pump for cheating -- 371 unmarried college students looked through pictures of attractive people on FB, then filled out a survey designed to figure out if spending their time that way had a negative effect on their relationship.

What they found? That although being on FB did remind people of other sexual alternatives, it's really the memories they had of past crushes/loves/one-night-stands/the one who got away that posed the biggest threat to their relationship.

In fact, just thinking about that other person was enough to make participants feel a little less thrilled about their current partner. Which is kind of a bummer. How can you compete with a freaking memory?

Tina B. Tessina, PhD, a licensed psychotherapist in Southern California and CRO (chief romance officer) for relationship website LoveForever.com, doesn't find the results of the study all that shocking.

"Facebook shows real people with their opinions, attitudes, and real-life issues," Tessina explains. "Fantasy ... paints a rosy picture of someone who represents total gratification."

So, what can married couples do with these study results? "Understand that your fantasies of the coworker or neighbor are not based in reality," Tessina advises. "You've taken an idea of a person you've encountered and imbued it with all kinds of qualities that are not really present. If you did the same with your partner, you'd have the same fantasies about your spouse."

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Comparing your current partner to a memory is also kinda unfair. Says Tessina, "It's like comparing your partner to a supermodel." And no need to ask how we'd feel being compared to, say, Gigi Hadid.

That said, what can you do to prevent those memories/fantasies from wreaking havoc?

"Focus on growing the satisfaction rate in your marriage," Tessina advises. A few ideas as to how:

Know the signs of a happy relationship. "Cooperation and partnership, mutuality, laughter, and affection," Tessina says.

Keep an eye on your sex life. "Problems with sex often indicate problems with other kinds of communication," notes Tessina.

Understand what you need to be happy. "Don't expect your partner to make you happy -- that's your job!" Tessina says. "You can help each other, but you can't do it for each other. Figure out what you need, then talk to your partner about how to get it."

Listen, listen, listen. The three most important words in a relationship, Tessina says, are -- drumroll, please -- "Tell me more."

And NO memory, no matter how sweepingly romantic, can do any of these things. Bottom line: Live the dream with the human being you got by your side.

 

 Image via SolStock/iStock

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