Has Social Media Killed Monogamy? Here's What Experts Say

Do more choices at your fingertips mean higher likelihood of cheating?

Although people have been cheating long before social media existed, it certainly seems that the abundance of available potential partners who are accessible by a swipe, can make monogamy less appealing. (Exhibit A: Tristan Thompson who's rumored to have been cheating on Khloe with women he messaged on Instagram.) We spoke to two love experts to discover their thoughts on the matter, as well as real people who have found love online, in spite of all that.

Julie Spira is the founder of Cyber-Dating Expert (and a bestselling author), who specializes in helping singles find love in the digital age. Spira believes that social media makes it easier for emotional cheating, “especially when there’s a bump on the road in your relationship.” It’s easy to get in touch with exes, or explore online opportunities. 

She told Personal Space that “often this online chemistry can move offline.” The ease of being connected to someone you’re attracted to on social media, does make it easier for someone who was monogamous to look at other choices. Scarlett S. of OR agrees that she has noticed that the number of options definitely “hinders people” from choosing just one partner. 

However, even though hooking up in real life is easier with location-based apps, Spira maintained “there are a lot of people who still believe in monogamy.” Eli M. of NY admitted that he still looks at dating apps occasionally, but it doesn’t threaten his faithfulness to his partner of seven years. Eli said that it makes him realize he is “not missing out on anything” and makes him value his relationship even more.

Laurel House, another celebrity dating and empowerment coach, believes that social media is in fact making cheating easy. Technology allows for you to lurk at photos of “the one who got away, your college friend who you always found attractive, and just about anyone and everyone else...” and they are literally at your fingertips to contact. 

It’s not social media’s fault, but its presence preys on our weaknesses. “If you are in an argument with your partner, momentarily questioning your relationship, drunk … you can get a boost by communicating with someone else.” It’s not to say that this couldn't happen if the technology didn't exist, but House explains that the safety and freedom of hiding behind a screen, allows you to take chances that you wouldn’t normally take in real life.

Jena L. of FL told us that in her experience, “social media makes dating and monogamy 100x harder,” because “temptation is everywhere,” and it makes it so much easier to connect to people outside your existing network. She explained that people are also “constantly searching for the next best thing.” House confirmed this sentiment, “you easily compare what you have to the myriad of other options. It feels easy to jump out of your relationship and jump into another.” The ease of moving on from a person and the excitement you can get from starting something new can make relationships feel “disposable and replaceable.”

If you did meet on a dating app, House explained that just because you have deactivated your account, don't assume that your partner deactivated theirs too; it has to be “a conversation.” Jennifer S. of Texas told us that she and her husband met on a dating app and when it got more serious, he let her know that “he deactivated his account and was only interested in seeing me.” If someone that you are dating hasn't brought it up yet and you feel the relationship is heading towards exclusivity, House offered the idea of suggesting to “ceremoniously, deactivate your profiles together.” That is a fun way to cheers to monogamy while acknowledging the elephant in the room. 
House confirmed the fears that “not all who are enticed by the abundant accessibility on social media would have cheated” otherwise. Social media is “the perfect dangerous concoction of tempting, accessibility, abundance, and fantasy.” However, just because social media exists, doesn't mean you should be in constant fear of your partner cheating."Trust is key. Just because it’s accessible, doesn’t mean it has to be accessed.”

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