Technology and Cheating: Opportunity

Research suggests that 21 % of men and 11% of women will be sexually unfaithful in their lifetime. In fact, these percentages are quickly rising and the gender gap is getting smaller.

As mentioned in a previous post, social media sites such as Facebook are quickly becoming a catalyst for betrayal.

One factor that contributes to infidelity is opportunity. Having an opportunity to cheat with someone who is emotionally or sexually available, is a major predictor of cheating.

Technology, including texting and social media, substantially increase a person’s opportunity to cheat. Texting and emails allow for covert, private communication, while social media sites allow a person to reach out to an old flame instantaneously.

This topic is explored in a 4 minute clip on NPR. You can listen to the brief segment here.

Although there are a plethora of factors that contribute to cheating, opportunity is a poignant one to be considered.


Facebook and Old Boyfriends: To Friend or Not to Friend?

In 2004 Facebook was launched, revolutionizing how we communicate and keep in touch with one another. While it’s fun to reconnect with our friends from the past, getting back in touch with old flames sometimes carries an additional layer of complexity. In fact, Facebook has been cited as an emerging catalyst for infidelity and divorce. While most intentions are innocent, it’s a slippery slope when you’re sharing personal stories with someone you cared about, and they happen to be emotionally available too.

A question that I often hear is whether or not to friend request old boyfriends. The answer depends on several factors that should be considered prior to sending that friend request:

  • What are your motives for reaching out? Are they strictly platonic or do you have an underlying goal?
  • How did the relationship end?
  • Do you need closure?
  • Was this the “love of your life” or a more casual relationship?
  • Are you able to be respectful of your old flame in their current relationship (including their partner and children) if you do reconnect?
  • If you reconnect, will you be able to respect the boundaries of your own relationship?
  • Do you feel the need to hide or minimize your intentions from your current partner?

And the last and more important questions:

  • Are you satisfied with your current relationship?
  • Are your emotional needs being met within your current relationship?

If you answer no or sometimes to either of these questions, you should redirect your energy into improving your current relationship rather than reaching out to that old boyfriend. Although your intentions are innocent, getting your emotional needs met from conversing with your old flame on Facebook, rather than your current partner, indicates there might be some deficiencies in your relationship.

So, your old flame has popped up in your potential friend list for a while, but they haven’t initiated contact with you.

What should you do? I would love to hear your opinion, so please leave a comment below!

Millie Cordaro, PhD, LPC

What Parents Should Know About Risky Teen Behaviors

Last week, I talked about the spike in conflict that typically occurs between parents and teens. This increased conflict is a characteristic of the Storm and Stress of adolescence. You can read that post here.

Another hallmark characteristic of teenage Storm and Stress includes participating in risky behaviors. According to US News, there are several risky behaviors teens are engaging in, and parents should be on the lookout for.

  • Abusing ADHD drugs such as Adderal
  • Abusing the pain relief drug OxyContin
  • Alcohol and illicit drug use
  • Riding in a car with intoxicated driver

Parents can curb these through open communication, monitoring, and supervising their teenager’s activities. Monitoring equates to “keeping tabs.” How do you monitor? By asking these kinds of questions:

  • Who are you hanging out with/ meeting up with later?
  • Where are you going?

On the other hand, supervision is the direct observation of your teen. Some ideas to create supervised activities include:

  • Setting up a game room or TV room for your teen to invite friends over
  • Create a profile on Facebook so you can observe online interactions

Teenagers are susceptible to thinking they are invincible. As a parent, you need to set rules and limits to protect your teen’s health and well-being.