You’ve heard the stories. A wife was contacted on Facebook by an old flame and ended up leaving her husband. Another couple is in trouble because the husband has been chatting in adult forums. Friendly emails exchanged between friends of the opposite sex started out innocently, but developed into something that is now threatening their marriages.
It’s happening more and more. Technology continues to open the door to online infidelity. But technology isn’t the ultimate culprit; the user of the technology determines whether they will walk through the door.
Here are a few steps you can take to safeguard your marriage against the potential threat of online infidelity.
1. Beware of old flames. You may think it’s harmless to talk to an old girlfriend or boyfriend, but talking to your old flame is just like playing with fire. Those feelings of nostalgia and “first love” are the right kind of kindling that can easily ignite into a full blown fire. So if an old flame contacts you via Facebook, Twitter or email, make sure you tell your spouse and then decide together how to respond.
2. Flee from pornography. 40 million adults regularly look at pornography on the Internet, and 72% of them are male. Sure, this issue mostly involves men, but a large number of women view pornographic material online. On July 11, 2010, The Washington Times reported that “A 2006 Internet Filter Review poll found that 9.4 million women access adult websites each month, and 13 percent of women admit to accessing pornography at work.” So stay away from websites or chat rooms that offer erotic conversation. If you feel the need to minimize or close the screen when your spouse comes into the room, you are probably looking at something that’s inappropriate.
3. Don’t keep secrets. If you feel the need to keep your passwords and online activities hidden from your spouse, you may need to examine your motives. Your relationship with your spouse should be the most important earthly relationship you have and, as such, you should be able to share all your conversations and activities with your spouse. Also, don’t erase the history of your searches or sites you’ve visited. Allow your spouse to see everything you’ve done and everywhere you’ve gone on the Internet.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: Anything you say or see online should be able to take place in the presence of your spouse.