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Cheating in the Age of Technology

Here’s an interesting article on HuffPo this morning by Natalie Gregg, a family law attorney, on how cheating has grown exponentially thanks to social media.

She points out that in olden times, people had to work a lot harder to hook up with former flames or total strangers, but now there are dating sites for married people, and Facebook hook ups and the utterly depraved “back page.” (Infamous for child prostitution, among other things.)

As a lawyer, she said online media gives her a surfeit of evidence when it comes to divorce. She subpoenas sexts! How delightful she must be to have as your attorney!

I posted the comment that while old school cheating probably did require a lot more reconnaissance, you still have to have the ability to compartmentalize, to disengage from your spouse and children to act out your fantasy life. And there is no ap for lack of empathy.

Which makes me wonder, do you think the information age is contributing to us being a less empathetic society? Which is ironic, considering that the information age is supposed to make us a more connected society. I guess it all depends on what you want to connect for. Freaky sex with strangers appears to be high on the list for many.

What do you think?



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  • I think modern communication in general makes cheating easier. In the old days there was the home phone and the office phone and that was pretty much it, unless you wanted to dash out to the corner pay phone. So you couldn’t sit there, right in front of your unwitting spouse, and text your lover. You couldn’t sit on FB or twitter or any other social networking site, with your kids at your feet and your spouse close by, talking dirty or making plans for hookups. Even at work you can now carry on a full fledged affair via your computer and phone and have it completely secret, where as before there would be hurried whispers by the copy machine to hook up later.

    So yes, it’s make it easier and more gross (because it really sucks to realise that your spouse was texting their AP right in your face) but I don’t think it makes it happen more, it just changes the game.

  • Oh, and it makes it easier to get caught. Years ago I had a friend married to a cheater and she had to basically stalk him and catch him in bars. Now it’s as simple as grabbing the phone and checking the texts.

  • Well, my husband didn’t find it hard to cheat in “olden times”. It wasn’t hard at all hooking up with women. He had a very trusting wife and he knew it! I think if your spouse is going to cheat, it doesn’t matter how hard, or easy (online media). When there’s a will, there’s a way! Like you said “compartmentalize, disengage from your spouse and children to act out your fantasy life” is there no matter the age of time… And also, the lack of empathy that it takes to be able to cheat is timeless.

    The lawyer is right with cheating in that this age of technology makes it easier to catch them, or get the evidence you need!

  • Cheating was always there. If not for technology they would just cheat closer to home. Technology just makes it more transparent to the BS and to the world, because now everyone who is betrayed can go online to find support. In fact cheaters find support online too, look at the other person forums.

    Technology has simply lifted the veil of secrecy.

  • My stbxh would have cheated in any era. What is different now is how much easier it is to catch the cheaters. Had mine not been so cavalier as to have pages of texts on his phone from his girlfriend and then handed me his phone to play Angry Birds – I would still be thinking we were a happily married couple…

  • I have to agree with the others. There aren’t really any new human behaviors under the sun. Cheaters have always existed. They have been around since the first lie. All tech has done is made it harder for cheaters to lie effectively. It’s pretty hard to keep a mistress secret when she keeps insisting on posting your half naked rollabouts on Facebook.

    I think all this technology has been a benefit to betrayed spouses everywhere. Instead of all the doubt, lies, and crazy-making, the undeniable hard truth is now a click or a private eye away.

  • I’m going to add a wrinkle and say I think my spouse’s affair, not totally caused by FB, was certainly aided and abetted by it in a big way. His AP (a friend of a friend) thought his comments were funny, his pictures were cute, and she friended him, then began stalking him, then IM’d him and proposed that maybe it would be fun to do a little dirty emailing/FBing/IMing. No one would have to find out or get hurt. He was married, he said. No big deal, so was she. This was a little harmless fun, no feelings involved. My husband, who was feeling pretty shitty at the time, unbeknownst to me, finally said OK. Next thing you know, there was a full-blown EA going on with plenty of cybersex to boot. By the way, I found out by opening his email instead of mine on accident, so I’ll agree that it’s easier to get caught, too.

    • Kelly, where is your husband’s responsibility in this? The OW is at fault because she was a predator. FB is a problem because it gave that predator access. But bottom line, doesn’t he have the responsibility to say, “no”? Of course, he was feeling shitty and was temporarily broken, yes? So it is not REALLY his fault.

      What I think Kelly highlights here is that FB has expanded the opportunity to cheat but it also proves that people who are prone to use cheating as a coping mechanism to deal with feeling shitty will take the opportunity where they can find it.

  • Kristine, I don’t deny for one SECOND he had the responsibility to say no. HE knows it. I KNOW IT. I AM saying that FB opened a door he probably would not have opened for himself. He would’ve found another self-destructive way to handle his feelings, perhaps. You know, I was just trying to add an interesting wrinkle to this discussion to demonstrate how easy technology makes things, not be psychoanalyzed or judged.

  • My xH found his exGF on FB and made her his current GF! Bing-bang-boom, done! He, too, was feeling shitty about himself, and exGF came along at just the right time. FB did assist, but an affair was inevitable. He’d been in love with various women throughout the marriage (and before) but none of the women he admired would return his admiration–at least none that I know of.

    Well, FB finally delivered him a soul-mate, the woman he “was meant to be with” and delivered me an out of a crappy marriage.

    Finally, xH dove far enough into the barrel to scrape the bottom and he came up with an interested (desperate) BPD female. Good for him!

    If it hadn’t been her, it would have been some other whore, but these two really are meant to be together.

    FB or no, this was going to happen.

  • Personal technology, especially a smartphone, allows people the check out of life easier. My wife got a smartphone first. It was weird to see her use it at the dinner table. Then again, she also read and has a copy of “Alone Together,” a book about how we check out due to being online.

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