Infidelity used to be so clear-cut. If you were physically intimate with someone outside of your relationship, you were cheating. But now, amidst the age of social media, infidelity can have a whole new meaning.
Social media has become an insanely powerful actor in our everyday lives. According to new research released by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange, Americans aged 18-34 who use social networks are spending an average of 3.8 hours per day doing so, and the average person has five social media accounts. Social media is quite literally taking over our lives. So is it really so shocking that social media can lead to infidelity? Social media is making it easier to engage in emotional/mental cheating in a variety of ways.
First off, social media makes it way easier to connect with other individuals. No need to charm them in a coffee shop, or even be in the same state as them. Connecting with a new person is only one click away. But more prominent than that is the ability social media has to create a fantasy. Most people who cheat in relationships are unhappy, and social media is Queen at making people look happy, beautiful and dazzling, and better than your current significant other—even if they aren’t.
Along with all of this, social media has created an entirely new form of cheating. Your boyfriend could slide into another girl’s DMs, or even just "like" all of her bikini pictures, and you might feel betrayed. And don’t even get me started on dating apps such as Bumble and Tinder. I can’t even count on both hands the number of boys with significant others I’ve seen with active accounts. It’s simply too easy. Back in the day, if someone wanted to cheat, they had to sneak off with their secret lover in the middle of the night. Now, all that your boyfriend has to do is sext some new girl from Bumble or DM that hot girl in his Econ class, and all of his wildest taboo fantasies can come true.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that everyone with social media will cheat or that you should have all of the passwords to your boyfriend’s social media accounts. All I’m saying is that we need to be more aware of how easy social media is making infidelity—and maybe focus more on discussing boundaries and building trust with our significant others than gluing ourselves to our cellphone screens.