Have I Gone Too Far? Technology and Infidelity

From an article by Lori Cluff Schade

“The Family: A Proclamation to the World” talks about mothers and fathers “who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.”

Emotional infidelity is usually a much less obvious threat to marriage than physical infidelity, especially when a relationship is developed using various forms of technology. After all, those are only texts/emails/Facebook messages you’re sending, right? But using technology to create emotional connections with someone who isn’t your spouse is by no means less dangerous. In fact, when there isn’t any face-to-face communication, people are often more open about sharing intimate feelings.

In comparison to what an online relationship offers, the more practical tasks of marriage—like bill paying, childcare, and chores—may seem mundane. Don’t be fooled. A healthy marriage offers a capacity for quality and depth with which emotional infidelity, when looked at honestly, simply can’t ultimately compete.

The following steps can help prevent technology-assisted emotional infidelity and help you build stronger marriages.

  1. Realize that you are not immune to the possibility of infidelity. Love and conviction alone aren’t enough to steer us clear of making inappropriate attachments. In fact, people involved in infidelity often love their spouses and believe that infidelity is wrong.
  2. Actively monitor communication boundaries within and around the sacred marital relationship. Never discuss marital problems with another person where there is any potential for infidelity, especially if that person is a former love interest.
  3. Remain transparent with your spouse. A wife locked her phone so that her husband couldn’t see her text messages. He found out later that this was the point at which she and the man she was involved with online had started sharing deep feelings—which eventually lead to physical infidelity.
  4. Watch carefully and correct often. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, said that “the difference between happiness and misery in individuals, in marriages, and families often comes down to a few degrees.”

It may be tempting to believe you can enjoy emotional infidelity online with one person while enjoying the stability of marriage in real life with another. This plan never works. Infidelity in any of its forms will undermine marriages spiritually, structurally, and sometimes irreparably.

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