Are you sure your partner would be okay with that text you just sent?
Today, it is more likely than ever before that infidelity will be based in technology. According to licensed marriage and family therapist Dr. Lori Cluff Schade in her Ensign article “Marriage, Technology, and Emotional Infidelity,” “texting, email, games, chat rooms, and social media offer an array of new ways for individuals to connect outside of marriage, and the result is an enormous increase in technology-assisted infidelity.”
This nonphysical, technology-assisted infidelity might not seem like cheating, but many victims of such infidelity report that the emotional connections their partners formed outside their relationship were more difficult to forgive than even physical infidelity.
Everyone is capable of emotional infidelity, and one of the best ways to ensure fidelity is to actively monitor “communications boundaries” around the relationship. To maintain these boundaries, we must ask ourselves, “Would I be comfortable if my partner were watching over my shoulder?” and change any behaviors we aren’t comfortable sharing with our partner.
Another way to increase transparency in a relationship is by sharing access to phones, social media, and even finances between partners, though such sharing is best reserved for committed couples. Additionally, consider terminating friendships with previous partners because the strong emotions associated with previous relationships can make emotional infidelity more likely.
Bad habits formed while dating as young adults can make future emotional infidelity more likely. Though it is possible to repair a marriage damaged by emotional infidelity, it is better to form good habits while dating and during early marriage to avoid damaging our relationships in the first place. Consistently removing emotional temptations helps us remain faithful to our partner, not only physically but emotionally as well.
Read more of what Dr. Lori Cluff Schade has to say in her full article “Marriage, Technology, and Emotional Infidelity.”
—W. Nathan Miller, Mormon Insights
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Find more insights
Read another article by Dr. Lori Cluff Schade: “Have I Gone Too Far?”
Read the First Presidency’s guidelines for media use in For the Strength of Youth.
Read the First Presidency’s guidelines for the family in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
I think this article is great and very informative! Usually when people think of infidelity, they think of physical infidelity. But, emotional infidelity can be as harmful or even more harmful than physical infidelity and many people can forget this. Most of the time I think that technology is useful, but some of the things that are accessible online can be harmful to our spiritual, emotional, or physical well-being. I love the advice of asking ourselves, “Would I be comfortable if my partner were watching over my shoulder?” I think that this is a good question to always keep in mind, because if the answer is “no” then we can change our behavior and keep our relationship intact.
Thank you for highlighting this article. It is so important to remember that our marriages are the most important things we have and that nothing is worth risking them. They deserve our constant care and dedication.
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