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Facebook and Infidelity Behaviors Research Paper

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Updated: Jul 26th, 2021


Many studies have been undertaken on social network infidelity (Cravens & Whiting, 2014). Investigations have looked at how the use of chat rooms and pornography can harm marriages and relations between lovers. Current media attention has emphasized on Facebook as an essential medium, which can expedite internet infidelity behaviors.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that minimum explorations have been focused on the role of Facebook in promoting cheating. The prevailing literature proposes that the issue has considerable impacts. In the article below, issues concerning Facebook infidelity are highlighted.

Facebook is a leading social networking site, which enables people to interact. The website permits users to come up with profiles comprising of their self-description, interests, and relationship statuses. It lets members to interrelate through viewing profiles, commenting on posts, sharing images, and sending chats.

Since its establishment in the year 2004, the website has grown to be one of the greatest social networking sites (Helsper & Whitty, 2010). The site has over one billion active members. Because of this, it is alleged that one in every six people on the globe is an active member. In the last few years, an upsurge in online dating especially via Facebook has led to an increase in online infidelity.

Infidelity is described as a defilement of the marital contract, a disloyalty of one’s trust, and a risk of the matrimonial bond. Studies done on this topic have focused on three forms of unfaithfulness. They are sexual, emotional, and online infidelities. Facebook infidelity refers to a passionate relationship with somebody other than the partner that commences and is sustained through this website’s chats.

Because of the increase in the use of social networking sites, it would be helpful to comprehend how Facebook unfaithfulness is comparable or dissimilar to other infidelity conducts.

Some studies have explored the meaning of disloyalty, what manners establish infidelity, gender variances, upgrading relationships after infidelity, and motivational issues (Wysocki & Childers, 2011). Inquiries have proved that relationships undergo through analogous undesirable outcomes with Facebook infidelity as they do with offline unfaithfulness.

What constitutes Facebook infidelity?

Just like other forms of unfaithfulness, Facebook members differ in the manner through which they perceive cheating. It should be noted that people who are engaged in Facebook infidelity have difficulties in deciding if their behaviors are unsuitable or not (Wysocki & Childers, 2011).

Furthermore, these members recount a variety of dissimilar Facebook-specific manners that have occasionally been unfitting. They include befriending an ex-partner, sending friend requests to good-looking members, exchanging private posts to other users, remarking on pretty users depictions, and posting inappropriate relationship status.

Confidentiality is also a concern for Facebook unfaithfulness. Members are capable to customize their accounts with secret codes, which inhibit their spouses from accessing them.

The capability to chat with other members from an individual’s account has made it possible for users to engage in inappropriate conducts even while their spouses are within the same apartment. Furthermore, Facebook permits users to come up with phony accounts or many profiles. In this regard, when a lover has a profile that is kept undisclosed it encourages infidelity behaviors.

Facebook infidelity is comparable to other types of online unfaithfulness because it is problematic to define. Similarly, persons have contradictory views about what Facebook manners should be considered as infidelity. What is exclusive about Facebook unfaithfulness is the level of dealings that this social media offers its members.

As such, Facebook members can see profiles, surf through images, chat with other users in live time, and send secretive messages. Through this feature, Facebook offers members with many forms of interaction enabling them to unite with other online users. Likewise, some spouses may have a robust response to conducts that touches on Facebook friends.

For instance, a companion may be more distressed about an online communication with a close friend than one with a stranger on social media because the supposed infidelity may be sustained offline. Investigations indicate that Facebook users develop a stronger response to connections that have higher chances of being continued offline.

How Facebook facilitates affairs

There is less doubt that Facebook has the capability to promote cheating behaviors and affect offline relations because of the increase in the number of separations mentioning it as a causative feature.

Leckie & Whiting (2012) carried out investigations to determine the specific actions that encouraged Facebook infidelity and the actions considered cheating. In this study, participants indicated that the use of Facebook facilitated practices that encouraged infidelity. To some extent, 52% of the participants recognized their lovers’ behavior as infidelity.

One exceptional discovery of this investigation is associated with the precise functions of Facebook (Leckie & Whiting, 2012). For instance, members discussed the awkwardness and the disgrace they experienced when they found out that their lovers were engaged in online fidelity. Similarly, it was noted that many of those who were caught in the act claimed they were innocent. Such persons played the role of victims.

They stated that their privacy had been compromised (Leckie & Whiting, 2012). Equally, participants highlighted the features of retribution that were Facebook-related. The aspects noted were blocking, unfriending of a lover, communicating with a third party member, pestering of a third party, and posting comments that disclosed the disputes in their relationship.

Motivating factors for Facebook infidelity

Many prototypes have been designed to describe how Facebook infidelity varies from offline cheating (Raguram & Mao, 2009). Similar models have been established to show why Facebook is an addicting medium for starting relations, how it contributes to the growth of relationships, and how it adds to relationship difficulties. One of the pioneer prototypes to be produced was Cooper’s triple “A.” The prototype illustrated three features that made Facebook infidelity dissimilar from offline cheating.

The aspects identified were accessibility, affordability, and anonymity. The model as later redesigned to accommodate an additional “A.” The letter represented the approximation. Approximation referred to the regions of experimentation, which Facebook and other social networks offer their members. As such, Facebook enables users to try out with their erotic fantasies or new manners that might not be comfortable being explored offline.

Other researchers that have contributed to the understanding of these factors are Young, Leiblum, and Doring (Raguram & Mao, 2009). The three scholars came up with models, which emulated Cooper’s triple “A” model. Young designed a prototype called the ACE model. The letters represented anonymity, convenience, and escape.

The above prototype was developed with the aim of clarifying how Facebook and other online users develop addictive behaviors. On the contrary, Leiblum and Doring created a model referred as the triple C engine (Raguram & Mao, 2009). The prototype highlighted the collaborative constituents of the Internet. They included communication, collaboration, and communities. The above models focus on the importance of interpersonal and collaborative aspects, which influences Facebook infidelity.

Raguram & Mao (2009) conducted similar investigations. Their studies were focused on the extensive appraisal of printed empirical studies, which inspected causative features of online-related relationship difficulties. Together, the two scholars came up with five “As” model.

The letters represented anonymity, affordability, approximation, acceptability, and, accessibility. Later, two “As” were added. They represented ambiguity and accommodation. Through this model, they argued that when a spouse feels controlled in the relations or marriage, Facebook and other social networking sites offer them with a platform to chase their perfect visualization of self.

The impact of Facebook infidelity

An investigation on the effects of Facebook cheating proposes that these spouses are influenced in comparable ways as offline infidelity. Fundamental emotional responses to Facebook betrayal were hurt, loss of faith, tremor, suspicion, shame, and annoyance. Similarly, such situations force companions to settle on difficult choices about whether to stay or terminate their relationship.

Such, circumstances are also experienced in offline infidelity. Cravens and Whiting also established that in reaction to an imaginary situation about Facebook disloyalty, 64% of the members suggested that their relationship terminated (Raguram & Mao, 2009). Other undesirable effects encompassed loss of faith, quarreling, reprisal, and adverse emotions.

The number of persons who will notice Facebook unfaithfulness of their friends is higher compared to offline infidelity. The above is true because of Facebook’s popularity among close friends. Usually, when a spouse is caught engaging in disloyal acts offline persons who become informed of it may be restricted to associates or kinfolks.

With Facebook and other social networks, when unfair behaviors are displayed on an individual’s profile the disloyalty will be recognized by most of his or her friends. The above situations might result in more levels of humiliation or annoyance.

Clinical implications

Clinicians working with partners who have been victims of Facebook disloyalty should emphasize in numerous areas during treatment (Whitty, 2003). They are an evaluation, boundary, rule setting, and dispensation of sentiments related to the unfaithfulness. Evaluation of Facebook unfaithfulness should emphasize on numerous factors. Such features might include reconnoitering the involved partners, discovering how spouses perceive these conducts and the motivational elements in existence.

Cravens & Whiting (2014) categorized many of areas, which can be evaluated when addressing Facebook infidelity manners to differentiate if they are online betrayal or a habitual conduct. The first two areas of evaluation comprised of involved spouses and their perception of the problem. Clinicians were encouraged to explore the whereabouts of the third parties when trying to diagnose the impacts and cause of Facebook infidelity.

Through this, the physician can seek to establish the third party’s physical location and his or her relations with the client. Similarly, the clinician should identify if an offline relationship exists between the two individuals. Based on the above illustrations, it is apparent that collecting facts about the third party is the surest approach to evaluating the harshness of the disloyalty.

Another means to evaluate for severity is inquiring both spouses’ perception of the problem (Wysocki & Childers, 2011). Based on the varied available descriptions of Facebook and online infidelity, clinicians ought to seek from both couples their understanding of conduct that establish infidelity and if both spouses come to an agreement on the issue. It is likely that the partner caught in the act will disagree with the behavior being termed infidelity. Similarly, the non-participating partner will most probably recognize the conduct as cheating.

After the clinician and the spouses have understood the behaviors they believe to be unsuitable, they should emphasis on interactive guidelines and boundaries for using Facebook (Wysocki & Childers, 2011). Therapists ought to encourage the couples to debate how these rules and limitations will be implemented. They should analyze some of the following questions:

  • Will they share PINs of their Facebook accounts?
  • Will they permit one another to log into their Facebook accounts?
  • What type of relationship status is to be posted on their account?
  • What are the benefits of sharing passwords?

During the discussion, the clinician should help the spouses to reach a consensus on many vital issues. Through this, the involved parties will be able to agree on what is ideal for their relations.

The last clinical subject that should be emphasized when addressing Facebook unfaithfulness deals with treating the diverse feelings associated with the effect of the conduct on the nonparticipating spouse (Wysocki & Childers, 2011). The clinician should evaluate for each lovers’ opinion on whether the identified online behaviors are overpassing a social boundary.

When one spouse views Facebook performances as deceitful and the other one tone them down, it is likely that the nonparticipating lover will not feel contented to express his or her sentiments. For instance, the clinicians should ask the following questions:

  • What feelings have you had after being informed of your companion’s Facebook infidelity?
  • How has your mate responded towards these moods?
  • Do you believe that it is satisfactory to be feeling this way about Facebook infidelity?

Regulating the choice of sentiments felt and providing space for the spouse to express them in hearing will be a significant feature throughout this phase of management. The above will work best when the participating spouse believes Facebook conducts are not deceitful.

Furthermore, the likelihood that all of the couple’s Facebook friends may become aware of his or her infidelity may enhance the moods of awkwardness, annoyance, and disgrace. The above might not have been so protuberant if the event was not openly exhibited on Facebook. Therapeutic meetings can be devoted to talking about apprehensions associated with the effect of the unfaithfulness on Facebook and how to accomplish what is displayed on this website.


In conclusion, it should be noted that many studies have been undertaken on the issue of social network infidelity. Investigations have looked at the behaviors through which the use of chat rooms and pornography can harm marriages and relations between lovers. Current media attention has emphasized on Facebook as an essential medium, which can expedite Internet infidelity manners. Just like other forms of unfaithfulness, members of this website differ in the way through which they perceive cheating.

Scholars have noted that people who had engaged in Facebook infidelity were having difficulties in deciding if their conduct was unsuitable or not. Furthermore, these members recounted a variety of dissimilar Facebook-specific manners that have occasionally been unfitting. Investigations on the effects of Facebook cheating propose that these spouses are impacted in comparable ways as offline infidelity. Fundamental emotional responses to Facebook betrayal were hurt, loss of faith, tremor, suspicion, shame, and annoyance.


Cravens, J., & Whiting, J. (2014). Clinical Implications of Internet Infidelity: Where Facebook Fits In. The American Journal Of Family Therapy, 42(4), 325-339.

Helsper, E., & Whitty, M. (2010). Netiquette within married couples: Agreement about acceptable online behavior and surveillance between partners. Computers In Human Behavior, 26(5), 916-926.

Leckie, K., & Whiting, J. (2012). Facebook Infidelity: When Poking Becomes Problematic. Contemp Fam Ther, 35(1), 74-90.

Raguram, A., & Mao, A. (2009). Online infidelity: The new challenge to marriages. Indian Journal Of Psychiatry, 51(4), 302-305.

Whitty, M. (2003). Pushing the Wrong Buttons: Men’s and Women’s Attitudes toward Online and Offline Infidelity. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 6(6), 569-579.

Wysocki, D., & Childers, C. (2011). Let My Fingers Do the Talking: Sexting and Infidelity in Cyberspace. Sexuality & Culture, 15(3), 217-239.

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