Ahhh… Infidelity. It’s not a four letter word and it’s a whole five syllables long, but even the not-so-bright are capable of it. Equally ironic is the fact that the smartest among us sometimes fail to notice when we are being played.
Social media and technology have come in and shaken up the rules of relationships over the past decade or so, which has left many of us floundering. Is it okay for him to follow his ex on Snapchat? If she sends a guy a provocative picture of herself via WhatsApp, is she cheating? What if he won’t update his Facebook relationship status to make it clear you are an item?
My not-so-distant relationship history gave me some valuable insight into cheating in the digital age, and I thought I’d share it with you.
First of all, the story:
So I met this guy… He was very popular; the athletic, silver-tongued type who knows everyone and whose name is bandied about by people who’ve only met him once. He wasn’t very tech-savvy though, so he rarely updated his Facebook status and wasn’t on Instagram. No problem, because at the time I was exactly the same.
Fast-forward two months and he’s worn me down to the point of agreeing to be his girlfriend. Trust me, it wasn’t my first inclination. He was fun, but I didn’t see things going anywhere. But he would refer to himself as my ‘boyfriend’ and seemed keen on meeting my friends and family and spending as much time with me as possible. So on Christmas day, I said ‘Okay’. Silly me… I blame the holiday spirit.
Two months later and I’ve noticed something strange; he has no Facebook relationship status. There are no cheesy, new-relationship pictures of us online. He regularly introduces me as his ‘friend’. He’s uncomfortable about PDA… so much so that he rarely even holds my hand in public. I know what you’re thinking; “How did you not see the signs???”
The thing is, I DID see the signs, and I confronted him about his behaviour… He made good use of the aforementioned silver tongue and reassured me that he was fully committed to our relationship and I had nothing to worry about.
Then it happened; on a random social outing, someone snapped a picture of us and then posted it to Facebook. We weren’t touching or even standing close to each other in the picture. A couple days later, his Facebook page disappeared. I kid you not, he deleted it.
Since then, I’ve had a few friends come to me with concerns about their significant others’ behaviour. “He won’t update his relationship status. What does that mean?” or “I messaged her on WhatsApp yesterday and I can see she’s read it but she hasn’t responded. Should I message her again?” or maybe “He keeps liking random girls’ pictures on Instagram, do you think he’s cheating?“
I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I’ve figured out a couple sure signs that you have cause for concern about the fidelity of your main squeeze.
Ask yourself the following questions;
1. Are there photos of you on his social media? Photos of him on yours? How does he feel about this? Even if the person you’re seeing isn’t into social media, there’s rarely a good reason for them to be reticent about YOU posting a picture of the two of you together. I don’t mean a picture of the two of you kissing or in some sort of compromising position. Sitting next to each other… hanging out with friends… it’s usually harmless and unless he’s a presidential candidate or your superior at work, there’s no reason he should object to it. If he is strongly opposed to it, then it’s safe to say he’s hiding something.
2. Are you privy to his calls and messages? I’m not asking if you’ve tried to read his texts and eavesdrop on his calls. Don’t do that, it’s creepy. But does he walk away when his phone rings? Does he carry on conversations in hushed tones? Does he position himself so you can’t read his messages? If this seems to be an ingrained habit, then there’s probably something he doesn’t want you to know…
3. Does he chat up random women ALL THE TIME? If he’s a frequent social media user, but interacts mostly with beautiful strangers of the opposite sex, you should be concerned. If you’re faithful, think about how YOU use the internet. How often do you contact attractive strangers? Anything more than your average is weird.
There’s nothing ‘virtual’ about our digital behaviour. Yes, people can be entirely different on Social Media than they are in real life… but what a person does online is a shadow of their real personality – albeit the most narcissistic side. Still, although a person’s internet activity reflects their true thoughts, don’t forget to look at the REAL LIFE version of your partner. How do they act in person? Remember; my Silver-tongued sweetheart was as shady in the real world as he was on Facebook.
I should say, do not freak out if the person you’re into ‘likes’ a pretty picture on Instagram. Liking a pretty picture isn’t dangerous; it’s HUMAN. What you need to look out for is excessive social interaction targeting strangers of the opposite sex.
Lastly – and this isn’t digital at all – what do his friends say? Part of the reason I was reticent to date Mr. Silver-Tongue from the start was because mutual friends had warned me against him. Even when we got together, some of his closest friends warned me to guard my heart…
As it turns out, Silver-Tongue wasn’t cheating on me at all! He was cheating on someone else WITH me. No matter, he was instrumental in helping me meet my husband, so all is forgiven… Well… mostly! lol
Good luck in love guys, as in all things…