Social Media – It is a Relationship Revolution and it is Cheating!
By Guest Blogger Dr. Karen Ruskin, PsyD, LMFT
Thank you Dr. Veronica for having me on as your guest to share my insights live on air on 6/21/11. It is my opinion that we are currently living in a culture that is in the middle of a relationship revolution! As a society we are re-defining and re-evaluating what a relationship is with the advancement of social media, which leads us on a voyage of trying to figure out, determine, and define what is considered cheating.
Our leaders are simply symbolic for a sign of the times (e.g., Weiner) and unless we see what they are doing as inappropriate, unacceptable, unethical, and immoral, the future of our relationships is headed down the toilet. Sexual urges are healthy, normal and already there for the majority of the population, social media sites are simply another means/opportunity upon which to act on those urges. We all have urges and impulses. We have an opportunity every day to either act on them or not. The moment we stop considering how our choices are interconnected to our spouse is the moment we have become an animal.
I have had enough with the excuses of sex addiction, narcissism, or blaming because someone is in ‘power’ for the reasons as to why indiscretions occur. These reasons are only for the small minority of the population. Rather, our behavior has much to do with the choices we make. With one’s urges and the impulse to act on those urges, one must choose not to act with impulsivity! I created a sex survey for married couples where over 100 married men and women participated. The results of this survey is further discussed in; Dr. Karen’s Marriage Manual, to be released this summer. You are welcome to follow me on twitter to receive notice the moment this book is released or subscribe to my website tips and announcements list.
In this sex survey, 85% reported having sexual fantasies about someone other than their spouse. Social media offers another opportunity, an avenue upon which to act on one’s fantasies. Cyber relationships are being compared to what I refer to as; in-the-flesh relationships. Know this; they are both relational and interactional. If you never met the person live you communicate with on the other side of the screen, you do still feel emotions and or physical sensations even if it is not flesh ON flesh. Cyber relationships are another version of a relationship, yet still a relationship of differing degrees.
The further we as a culture stretch our opinion of what is considered cheating versus not, appropriate versus inappropriate, the more leniency we as a culture philosophically believe, the smaller our moral grounding becomes, and the less connected we are with those we yearn to connect with the most, the more the void within a lack of relational connection we feel. Thus, we must view much of the behaviors being talked about in the news these days as cheating if we are to save the marital relationship future. To think otherwise validates this type of behavior and adds to a cultural philosophy that continues to knife marriages and leads to the decline of the moral fiber of monogamy.
The more we as a culture become accepting as more people cross over the not yet determined line of accepted versus unaccepted, then, the cross over becomes the new norm. I urge couples to place their attention on the marriage rather than fulfillment of voids and or escapism through external means (i.e., social media). Otherwise, the future of marriages and thus families of the next generation is going to further be re-defined and we as a culture are not going to like what we see. For the first time in U.S. history the Census Bureau reported married couples are in the minority at 48%, this is the lowest in U.S. history. I leave you with this question; What choices can you make today to help your couple-hood be on your priority list and use social media for healthy purposes that strengthen your marital relationship rather than negatively impact it?
Dr. Karen Ruskin: Marriage/family therapist provides counseling in private practice. This relationship/human behavior expert is a psychotherapist, the go-to mental health contributor for FOX News Boston, on TV and radio with national coverage, and often quoted in print. This summer Dr. Karen’s Marriage Manual shall be released. Her first book was on parenting: The 9 Key Techniques.