Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Infidelity 2.0

Pre-internet, finding ways to cheat on your spouse were limited--you either worked with the person, lived near the person, or were already in some way connected to the person (à la your husband's best friend or something along those lines). Then came the internet--suddenly the pool of potential cheating partners got a lot larger. It didn't matter where they lived; as long as they had an internet connection and a desire to meet someone (or many someones),the sky was the limit. Forget having to sneak around or worrying about hitting on someone who would be shocked to be approached by a married person; there are dozens of sites devoted exclusively to married dating so thousands of willing partners are only a click away.

The thing about internet dating is that it's pretty pre-meditated. It's one thing to just "accidentally" fall in love with your secretary or the tennis pro; after all, you never intended for it to happen. But online dating--it's pretty hard to plead innocence when the monthly charge for Ashley Madison shows up on your credit card statement.

But cheating 2.0? Think about it--social media creates a perfect storm as far as infidelity goes. The ease of the internet combined with the familiarity of old-school hook-ups with people you interact with in the course of your daily life. And it's free so no pesky credit card statements to give you away.

Pre-social media, how could people, over the course of maybe an hour, connect with grade school friends, college roommates, long-lost friends or family members, celebrities, and who knows who else? It just wasn't possible. Now you can log on to Facebook and right off the bat be matched up with anyone you went to grade school, high school or college with...and then from there, the sky's the limit. Suddenly you are only a few clicks removed from any of the 175 million people on Facebook. Some of whom you inevitably either dated or wanted to date at some point in your life.

Don't tell me you haven't heard this same story from at least one friend: they either saw their high school or college boy/girlfriend on Facebook and debated "friending" him or her, or received a friend request from said ex. In the end, curiosity won and the friend invite was either extended or accepted. First there was casual catch-up banter--how've you been, how many kids do you have, what ever happened to so-and-so, etc. Then there's either the part where the guilty party's husband or wife finds out about the exchange and that's the end of that--or, the opposite: full-on midlife crisis kicks in and the person decides that his/her whole adult life has sucked and this newly re-kindled relationship is just the thing to get it back on track. Come on--don't say you don't know what I'm talking about; even if you've not heard it first-hand from a friend, surely you've read about it.

I'm just sayin'--there's nothing new under the sun; social media just makes cheating easier.

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