Overcoming a Facebook Affair

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

Social media poses a big threat to marriage, according to a Dec 11, 2012 story on ABC3340.com. The article reveals that half of cheaters admit to using social media and texts to facilitate the affair. Even if you never physically meet the affair partner, emotional intimacy, keeping the relationship a secret and sexual chemistry are red flags that signal an affair, according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

End Contact

To overcome a Facebook affair, you must end all contact with the affair partner. Unfriend her and block her access to your Facebook page. Delete her phone number from your phone and place a block on her calls if she is not willing to end contact with you. Pledge not to meet her anywhere under any circumstance. Instead, invest in your marriage, advises Therese Borchard in an article on PsychCentral.com

End Secrecy

When you end your Facebook affair, come clean with your spouse, ask for forgiveness and be accountable, writes Borchard. Agree to work on the issues that made your Facebook affair so tempting, such as a lack of physical and emotional intimacy, poor communication, marital boredom or marital conflict. Your Facebook page can hurt you during a divorce, even if you delete the messages, according to a 2013 ABCNews.com story. Being honest about the details of the affair, even if you never had sex, can help your spouse believe that you are trying to reconcile. Give your spouse your Facebook log-on information so he can monitor the account and see that you are no longer in contact with your affair partner. Ending the secrecy can help overcome the circumstances that allowed the affair to flourish, according to psychologist Barry McCarthy.

Get Busy

You can experience loneliness at the end of your affair, so fill your life up with activities that keep you too busy to have time to seek out your affair partner. An emotional affair, typical of many Facebook affairs, produces dopamine and norepinephrine, creating an addiction cycle, according to Borchard. Replace that chemical high with the endorphin build-up you get from exercise. Surround yourself with friends who will hold you accountable and fill the empty spaces left by your affair partner.

Get Help

Ending the affair will cause grief, so feel it and acknowledge that it hurts, suggests Borchard. Write in a journal to release your loneliness, sadness, guilt and anxiety. Seek out a therapist who can help you and your spouse work on healing your marriage. Take as much time as it takes to rebuild trust in your marriage. Watch for red flags that you are vulnerable to or beginning another emotional affair, such as spending too much time online or texting, being secretive or dishonest about your internet activities, setting up new internet accounts or changing passwords to screen information from your spouse. Beware of sharing emotional intimacy with a potential romantic interest instead of your spouse. If you find you can’t be trusted, delete your Facebook account and restrict your internet access to times and places where your spouse can see and monitor your activities.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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