Jealousy Advice: "How Can I Tell If
My Husband is Social Networking His Way to an
By Susie and Otto Collins
Social networking sites abound on the internet these
These sites-- such as Facebook, Twitter and
MySpace-- provide wonderful ways to get in touch
with old friends from high school or college and to
keep a large group of people up-to-date on what's
new in your life.
Troubles can arise, however, when people already in
committed relationships have deeper, intimate or
sexualized interactions with others through the
social networking sites, e-mail communications or
Where does the line get drawn?
Is it possible for a social networking relationship
to go from fun and harmless to cheating?
Questions like these rattle through Jan's mind
frequently throughout the day.
Every evening before going to bed, Jan's husband
Stewart logs into his Facebook account and then
spends hours chatting, posting updates and
commenting on the posts of his online friends.
The majority of Stewart's Facebook friends are from
his college days; they are people that Jan doesn't
Not only does Jan feel left out and ignored by
Stewart, she is also worried that he will re-connect
with a former girlfriend and have an online affair.
Jan believes that Stewart would never knowingly
cheat on her; but she fears that he could stumble
into some intimate online relationship and end up
cheating in that way.
Jan has asked Stewart to spend less time on Facebook,
but he brushed off her request and has continued.
She's even considered logging onto Stewart's account
to check up on his activities, but she worries what
might happen if she gets caught. She is also
apprehensive about what she might find.
Keep returning to what you know to be true.
When jealousy is triggered in you, take time by
yourself to get clear. Tune in to your feelings and
try to pinpoint what is leading to your jealous
It can be extremely helpful to know if you are
mostly upset because your partner is doing something
that does not involve you or if you are mostly
concerned about the time he or she is spending
with particular people.
Once you have identified what is most centrally
triggering your jealousy, ask yourself what you know
to be true about this situation.
For the moment, try to set aside the assumptions you
might have already made about what's going on.
Instead, look at what you can see, hear and
absolutely know for sure.
Jan takes some time to write in her journal about
her feelings regarding Stewart's extensive Facebook
time every day.
She realizes that, for her, the most important
concern is that Stewart will be led into an affair
by a woman from his past.
Through her journaling, Jan realizes how little
trust she has for other women-- especially Stewart's
heard stories about how wild Stewart was in college
and Jan worries that he will be lured back into a
life like that again through Facebook.
Jan also recognizes her own insecurities. She fears
that she is too mild-mannered for Stewart and that
he does not find her interesting or enticing
When Jan reads back through her journal writing, the
information that she knows to be absolutely true
pertains to her own feelings and needs.
Most of all, she needs to re-connect with Stewart
and to know that he loves her and finds her
attractive and exciting.
Create agreements together.
As you become clearer about why you are feeling
jealous and you take steps to address your emotions
and meet your needs, be sure to communicate with
You can own your jealousy and you can also request
that you and your spouse create agreements that will
help you address your fears and concerns.
These agreements can also allow you to set
Avoid vilifying social networking in general or
accusing a specific person of trying to lure your
mate into an affair-- unless you have indisputable
evidence to support your allegations.
Return to the priority needs that you discovered
when you went within. Through a cooperative effort,
come up with agreements about spending more time
together as well as appropriate ways to interact
with others online that apply to both of you.
You can either write these agreements down or speak
them aloud to one another so that you both are very
clear about what you are agreeing to.
Jan opens up and is honest with Stewart about how
she's feeling. She tells him that she is
jealous of his Facebook friends.
She shares with him her fears about his former
girlfriends (and lifestyle) from college. She also
admits to him that she feels uninteresting and
dull in his eyes.
Stewart is able to hear Jan's genuine words.
Together, they come up with a plan to add more spice
to their relationship-- this includes
spending more time with one another exploring new
ways to get closer.
Stewart assures Jan that his Facebook interactions
never go beyond joking and hearing about the lives
of old friends.
But he also agrees to spend less time online each
week and to connect in with Jan before he logs onto
the computer. He gives Jan permission to log onto
his account if she really needs to check on what
There is not a 100% guaranteed indicator to tell you
that your partner's social networking activities are
truly suspicious or could lead to an affair.
Online infidelity does happen and it can destroy
trust just as other forms of cheating do.
If you are feeling disconnected and distant from
your spouse, it is time for you to pay attention to
what's going on within you and between you and your
mate and possibly make some changes in your
Keep the lines of communication open and honest and
continue to check in with yourself to know your own
needs and feelings.