Infidelity occurring through social media - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Infidelity occurring through social media

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Now, it is becoming easier for a spouse to cheat through social media sites such as Facebook or through texting. (AP Graphic) Now, it is becoming easier for a spouse to cheat through social media sites such as Facebook or through texting. (AP Graphic)

Infidelity in a marriage can happen at any time.

Now, it is becoming easier for a spouse to cheat through social media sites or through texting.  In fact, more than half of married men and women who admit to cheating use social media sites and online chat rooms in their affair.

A person may start confiding to someone other than a spouse, which can and often does lead to more.

Social media sites make it easier for those relationships to be establish. But, when connections go too far, it can cause a marriage to end.

52-year-old Kathy is going through a divorce and did not want to reveal her last name. She had been married for ten years.

"(My husband and I) had open Facebook accounts. We had a agreement that we would always have everything open," she explains. "I was suspicious (at the time), of he and this woman. (She) was having problems with her husband."

Several months later. Her suspicions were confirmed.

"I found out on Facebook that they had been having lots of conversations, lots of things were deleted. I had checked the texting and he was texting her a lot, calling her a lot," Kathy recalls. "I was devastated. I wanted to try to work through it, but it was just the lies. More lies and more lies. I never got the truth."

Kathy, is sharing her story to let other couples know about the damage social media can cause in a marriage.

"(Facebook) is good to reconnect with friends, it's good to have relationships. I think the men or the women who have bad intentions are going to do it anyway,' she says. "I would say if a spouse is too into social media, if they have their face in the phone all the time, if they're constantly on Facebook, be suspicious."

52-year-old, Scott tells a similar story of infidelity.

"All of a sudden my access was not granted to a lot of (my wife's) life," he said.

Scott and his now ex-wife had been married 21 years.

"Her phone was on silent all the time, things started having to be coded to get into, like the phone or the internet or Facebook, which were never like that before," explains Scott.

Eventually, Scott discovered what his wife had been trying to hide.

"Conversations with her and other men, that were pretty explicit, texting and on Facebook," he says.

Joan Leary, a marriage counselor has worked with hundreds of couples in the Birmingham area.
Leary says, social media sites have changed the landscape of infidelity.

"Social media has enabled people to connect with old friends, old boyfriends and old relationships more easily," says Leary. "It has created more difficulty and problems with monogamous relationships, at least that's been my experience."

Leary warns, if communication in a relationship doesn't feel right, that is a good indication something is wrong.

"Most often when I get clients in here have been 'caught'. They've been caught texting, or Facebooking, or someone's intuition has kicked in where things just don't add up," Leary says.

Ultimately, Leary says it is possible for couples to reconcile.

"Forgiveness is not an easy thing to achieve, it is a process of forgiveness, and it takes a lot of time," she says.

Leary encourages anyone to seek counseling or help, to bring the issues to the forefront sooner rather than later. Because as time goes by things get more serious.

Some other tips include:

--Keep the person you talk to online at a distance emotionally.
--Don't have secrets with your spouse.
--Don't overstep boundaries.
--Ultimately, if you feel like it's becoming too much, remove yourself from the social media world.

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