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Acknowledging that the data from an Internet-based study has its obvious limitations, Cravens and her fellow researchers believe that the results have important clinical implications.
Perhaps it’s time for couples therapists to expand their understanding of marital infidelity to this new variant on an old theme.
We already saw that at least one participant set up tracking software to monitor the spouse’s communications.
Shock and anger were two additional emotional reactions, again, similar to the way a cheated-on spouse would feel after discovering a consummated affair.
One advantage of using the website material as data is that the researchers were learning about real-life experiences from people’s actual lives.
So many times we see studies on relationships, including those that investigate the delicate issue of betrayal, that are based on the responses of undergraduate psychology students to fabricated scenarios (e.g.
From these stories, Cravens and her fellow researchers identified these 5 steps in reactions to Facebook cheating from discovery of the partner’s infidelity to the decision about whether to stay in or leave the relationship: Whatever the outcome, no one who was a victim of Facebook cheating felt good, a reaction much like that of any victim of infidelity.
Feeling hurt was one of the most common reactions (as one individual said so poignantly, “my heart exploded”).
That is why therapists often hear the wounded partner asking "Do you love this person?
“Rate how violated you would feel if your partner cheated on you on Facebook”).
Of course, people can be untruthful on the Internet as well as in the psychology lab, but by investigating this relatively large number of examples, the researchers had a better chance of tapping into the truth.
The differences, and similarities, with other forms of cheating need to be understood and perhaps new models even created to understand this technological variant on a universal human theme.
If you’ve been a victim of Facebook cheating, this research has important implications for you. "Facebook infidelity: When poking becomes problematic." Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal 35(1): 74-90. Seems like more women looking to brand themselves as victims, demanding that they control everything...now, they control who you can email or whose page you can look at on FACebook?