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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Digital Age Worry

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here is something exhilarating, relaxing, and profoundly satisfying about trusting your partner. And yet, in these increasingly high-tech lives of ours, trust seems more elusive than ever.
How do you know he is not secretly sexting with someone he met online? Can you be sure she is not flirting with her high school sweetheart on Facebook chat?
Especially since the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal in June of 2011, a great deal of discussion has taken place, and a flurry of articles has been published about infidelity in the digital age.
According to research by Buss and Shackelford, 30 to 60% of married individuals in the U.S. will engage in infidelity during their marriage. Given the wide variety of relatively private modes of communication offered by digital devices today (texting, chatting, email...), a growing number of affairs are occurring or starting online. Are you worried that cyber-infidelity will wreck your relationship, too?
Learn to Trust Your Partner
Living with worry and mistrust is no way to live. Here are 5 things to consider that can help unlock your worries and create more trust in your relationship.
1. Control is not Trust. Know Rather Than Control.
Some couples attempt to resolve the issue of mistrust by controlling each other: "I want to have your password. I need to see your screen all the time. I must know who you are messaging. Then I can relax." Not really! You never ever relax that way. You worry, control, worry, control, worry, control... Real safety is born out of real trust. Control is not air-tight.
Control is very different from trust. Instead, knowledge of your partner can be helpful. When you know who they really are, and how they might act when nobody is looking, then you can truly relax. Because the truth is, there will always be times when nobody is looking.
Get to know your partner better. Discuss your values (e.g. commitment, monogamy). Review your vows. Ask each other question. Express your needs, boundaries, or concerns, e.g. how your partner's flirting might feel; how you define cheating, could you survive infidelity?
If you know your partner, and there is something to worry about, you need to address it soon. What do you not trust? Have they lied or cheated in the past? Are they acting in unusually secretive ways? Are they suddenly avoiding intimacy with you? Do relationship issues bring distrust? If there is nothing to worry about, then relax!
Rather than control, the antidote to infidelity concerns in a mature relationship is to strengthen your relationship and develop real trust. Spend quality time together, talk more, have fun!
2. Reject Secrecy.
Secrecy involves hiding or concealing. Unlike welcome surprise gifts or birthday parties, secrecy has a deceitful quality when a partner withholds information that is important for the other partner in order to take care of themselves. Secrecy then becomes a problem, and secretive behaviour breeds greater distrust and separation.
3. Trust and secrecy cannot co-exist
When people trust their partner and feel close to them, they tend to have a natural desire to share about their day and their contact with others. They choose to be less private. If your partner is sharing less than usual, or avoids certain topics, there may be a trust issue, a personal issue, or perhaps something to hide! Either way, it may be time to communicate with your partner or does a relationship check-up. Openness is an essential element of true intimacy.
4. Online Behaviour is Different from Offline Behaviour? Think Twice.
There is much talk these days about how people behave very differently online than they do offline due to increased privacy and anonymity. And in some ways, there is some truth to that. But only to a certain point. Sooner or later, the truth about someone's character or behaviour has a way of slipping through the cracks and shining through.
5."How you do one thing is how you do everything"
Angel online, monster offline? Angel by day, monster by night? Think twice. What you see offline is what you get online. So look closer for signs. You can get clues about your partner's online behaviour by noticing their offline personality. Is your partner impulsive, flirtatious with others offline, or attentive to you? See what is there, not what you want to see. Believe your observations. Trust your intuition. Get a reality check.
In a nutshell: Practice regular communication and nurture your relationship. A close, healthy relationship is a good protection against infidelity.

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