Protect Your Marriage Against Online Infidelity

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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.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for another poignant article, Mark! Every caution & precaution you gave is spot on! My marriage has survived the gut-wrenching pain of pornography/infidelity. Next to the sudden death of our toddler daughter, it was the most intense pain of my life!!

    My encouragement to everyone is to heed the warnings that you’ve outlined and to have hope because change truly is possible if the unfaithful spouse has a repentant heart and is committed to doing the very arduous work of paying restitution! It’s anything but easy, but it is possible!

  • http://www.FamilyMinute.com/ Mark Merrill

    Momto5, it’s such an encouragement to hear that you persevered in your marriage! It’s not something that happens as often as it should. Thanks for sharing.

  • DougRC

    Momto5,

    Thanks for sharing your story and thank you for remaining committed to your marriage. My wife and I have experienced the same “gut-wrenching pain” due to my infidelity but we have made it through to the other side! Our marriage and partnership is now tremendously loving and respectful, the best it’s ever been – God’s grace is a wonderful and amazing thing.

    It takes a lot of work, commitment, communication and tears but it’s definitely worth it.

  • Iloveicbc

    These issues contributed to the breakdown of my marriage. My husband had a “friend” from work that he texted all day every day and had converstations with via phone and facebook. He also had a pornography addiction he struggled with off and on and he DID erase the history on his computer and set the network to not keep a log of activity. I denied these problems as being so serious for a long time. I would have done anything to save my marriage but he chose to leave.
    I have another divorcee friend (a male) whose wife did exactly this. Had contact with a friend from high school via facebook and text and eventually had an affair and left her husband for this other guy. She married him 3 days after their divorce was final and has since had a baby with the new guy. Now she is miserable, realizes the grass really isn’t greener on the other side, and wants her old life back. If only others could learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before them.

  • Peggy_moralez

    I thank you so very much for putting this kind of material for all to read, from a man’s point of view. Must I say anymore!!!

  • Mom4jads

    I had the same thing happen with me. I went on facebook, found an “old Flame” and started out just catching up, then flirting. But when my husband saw our messages to each other, it almost ended our marriage. Even though I never thought of cheating(in the physical sense) on my husband, what I took as harmless flirting, really hurt him.That is not what I ever wanted to do

  • Sad mom

    I’m so thankful that this subject has come up! My husband has indeed been contacted by ex’s and an old friend who had always had a crush and he’s even looked up ex’s himself. All of this was very painful for me to find out about. I am a stay at home mom of 5 and I have already had to deal with porn addiction, a few strip club visits, neglect and other emotional abuse. The bigger problem with my situation and the social networking site thing is that he doesn’t want to hear what I have to say, he turns to others who are also on those sites (in this case facebook) and looks to those who may be in touch with ex’s and who see it as no problem, to get validation and in turn, look at me as being insecure. But it’s SO much more than that. He simply belittles and ignores my point of view and my feelings and lets the validation of the masses on facebook win out. I’ve even told him about the fact that many marriages are ending because of facebook connections but he dismisses me as the nag and looks at it like I’m trying to hold him back from life. Now, he has simply locked up his profile and everything on there to where I can’t see anything. I think it’s really sad! And truth be told, it’s made me “almost” hate facebook and the other sites. Quite honestly I just see a lot of nonsense happening on them (and these sites become a serious time bandit); though don’t get me wrong, I know that there are many good things happening on there and some more serious and necessary reconnections. But the other stuff is simply unnecessary! I realize that it’s my husband who has the problem and who has not been able to take our marriage seriously enough or handle real committment but technology keeps making it harder and harder for us to keep our homes/ families together. At this point, I wish Family Minute and All Pro Dad both, would send out more messages about not following the masses ~ not doing what lots of other people are doing; about men finding really good mentors of their own (because it’s SO necessary) especially if their fathers weren’t a part of their lives coming up, and not taking advantage of women (as wives, friends, or mentors). Many men go through life looking for a woman’s love to appease themselves, not necessarily because they are healthy and feel like they have something special, love and protection and devotion, to offer. I really wish that you all would touch more on these issues on All Pro Dad! My husband gets this and although there are a nice amount of daily emails that come out about how to treat a wife, he ignores those and looks more at what it says about the children. And all the while he’s teaching them wrong. Anyway, my apologies for writing this mini-essay, that wasn’t my intention. But hopefully, my words will help someone else and perhaps those behind All Pro Dad will take note as well. Thanks for all you do and all you represent. And let me add; the upside to my situation is that after the facebook issues, it lead me to seeking and finding a relationship with GOD and that is very blessed! Thanks for the platform to express all this. Bless you all!

  • http://www.FamilyMinute.com/ Mark Merrill

    Lloveicbc, you’re right, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and you still have to mow it and weed it!

  • http://www.FamilyMinute.com/ Mark Merrill

    Doug…so good to hear you guys hung in there!

  • http://www.FamilyMinute.com/ Mark Merrill

    My pleasure to serve, momto5….

  • http://www.FamilyMinute.com/ Mark Merrill

    Sad Mom, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I also appreciate you giving us suggestions for our All Pro Dad and Family Minute teams. Your comments do not go unnoticed. I hope that one day your name will no longer be Sad Mom, but Joyful Mom!

  • http://twitter.com/ChatRussianGirl Heavenlyhearts

    This article will surely helpful for the married couples. sometimes it creates a big communication gap between them. joining on Facebook, chatting online with friends is not bad but when men or women get indulge into a new relation then it harm a successful marriage life. and people don’t understand this at the time of doing but when time goes it never comes. so be careful from this.

  • Jessvicsmith

    I am with you, I did the same thing and now my husband and I are in counseling working it out. My husband is the best out there and I am so glad that he did not give up on me and has/is forgiving me. Since I didn’t do anything in the physical sense, it still impacted my husband so much that I KNOW it will NEVER happen again.

  • house wife

    my husband hates FB and that I am on it. He occasionally makes comments about me contacting old boy friends. Both of our family’s are either in another city or in my case, other states. I don’t hide anything from him. Any old flame or people connected to them that I run across, I have blocked. I only communicate with my female friends but do have males as friends. I’m a house wife and feel that this is my contact with the outside world. He accuses me of changing the screen when he walks in the room. So I intentionally sit with my phone facing him so he can see what I’m doing. I show him pictures and comments that I think he would like to see. I play a words game with friends and I’ll have him help. i like to look at news websites. I don’t log out of anything so he can look at FB, texts, 2 email accounts, Twitter (that I don’t use but my kids are on) at any time. Yet, he texts with a female co worker often about things I feel are not necessary, and sometimes inappropriate, during off hours. and he’ll tell me what’s going on with her and her family. he works a lot and maybe i use FB more than i should, but i have no temptations to jeopardize my marriage.