Internet dating is cool isn’t it? For the first time in our social history we have been given the ultimate tool for meeting people from around the world at no cost to ourselves and from the comfort of our homes. Sitting on a laptop you can be chatting away to just about anyone anywhere and the horizons that social media have opened up for us in terms of networking have tremendous benefits for business and platonic opportunities. For dating it means that it is actually possible to meet someone from another country and carry on a quality long distance relationship in ways that were never possible before.
Difficulties in Modern Times
The technology has a social downside too. Never before in the history of dating has there been more potential and temptation to cheat using social media. It has entirely changed the playing field and you can toss out concepts about detecting a cheating boyfriend by the old classic “lipstick on the collar”. No one wears that kind of lipstick anymore and few of us wear collars. What we do have however are smart phones and iPads that go everywhere with us, keeping us connected to each other at the speed of satellite. And that is changing everything.
When people were more “face to face” with their activities it was fairly easy to spot a cheater. You’d run into the person that they were having an affair with and replay that Hollywood classic “awkward moment” and the guy would know he was busted. Caught red handed and probably verbally berated until he confessed and then the relationship was done. Finished. I know very few women who are willing to continue to work on a relationship with a cheater. Quite frankly most people agree to the “once a cheater always a cheater” dynamic and further investment in a relationship with a cheater seems pointless, if they are highly likely to do the same thing all over again.
But how do we detect digital cheating? What is our stance on infidelity now when so much of flirtation can happen in the digital realm beyond what we can see and so arguably beyond social reproach? Who can criticize or reprimand someone for cheating via private text messages? Or by turning on Skype on their iPhone to have midday video conferences? What are the signs of a cheating boyfriend?
At the beginning of a relationship it seems like you can’t get enough of each other. There is no need for emotional space in the honeymoon period because sexual attraction and infatuation are powerful psychological drugs. You can’t keep your hands off each other because you are exploring and getting to know each other, enjoying the company and all the excitement that goes along with a new relationship. It is unrealistic to expect any relationship to persist in this state indefinitely however and all good long lasting relationships will transition out of the “honeymoon phase” and into something a little more relaxed where there is time apart and time for friends and family again and solo activities. But a healthy couple will maintain their designated doses of “couple time” together.
If your boyfriend suddenly needs space, it’s healthy to allow it. Some people need more space than others but it’s important to respect the other persons need for private time otherwise you’ll be accused of smothering which can end a relationship very quickly. However if you find that your boyfriend shows an increasing need for space and time away from you, particularly if this request is very abrupt and abnormal in your relationship, consider that it may be because he is having his needs met elsewhere. With someone else.
Have you ever walked up to a boyfriend while he was texting and have him cover the phone quickly or put it in his pocket? Have you ever picked up his cell phone to hand it to him and have him get angry that you touched his phone? The question you should be asking him is this. “What exactly is on the phone that you don’t want me to see?” If everything is on the “up and up” then there should be nothing top secret on his phone that your eyes can’t glance on. Not that you have the right to invade his privacy and take a peek and read all his messages (guys don’t like to feel like they are imprisoned in the relationship). But if he goes to extreme lengths to protect his phone from ever being viewed by you, it’s a loud hint that something is not right. And the same holds true for his privacy on his computer.
The Alibi Lie
You haven’t asked for references. You haven’t even hinted that you want to know where he was or what he was doing but suddenly your boyfriend is full of excessive detail using friends as references. “I was out shopping with Rob and we got lunch”. His need to provide details is a byproduct of a guilty heart. He knows he is cheating and he feels bad about it (not bad enough to stop though) and he is really fearful of getting caught. His need to account for his time is a way of proving to you that he wasn’t cheating (reverse psychology) and then validating it with a reference that he was with his friend. It’s more believable if you know that he was with someone else you trust.
It’s good to know that most single men will back each other up in a lie. Women are a little more forthcoming and many actually won’t lie for their friends. But for men in relationships it’s very common. So if the perfectly articulated alibi starts to present itself unsolicited in your conversations consider it a big warning flag.
It happens to the best of us and the periodic last minute cancellation of plans is normal. Life happens. But if your plans begin to be cancelled frequently or consistently it can be the result of a guy trying to squeeze you in around other activities such as the other girl he is dating. One of the best ways to ferret out the source of the problem is to cancel some dates yourself. Don’t address the issue but fight fire with fire. If you begin to cancel dates and he gets concerned, open up the floor for discussion. However if you start cancelling dates and he seems relieved then sadly, you have your answer. He’s found someone else he is interested in.
Many times women will ask why men cheat? If they aren’t invested in the relationship why not simply end the relationship in an honest way and then make themselves free to pursue the person that they are interested in the most? It’s because men hate awkward situations. Have you ever seen the look on his face when you cry? And they hate confrontation. Most men would rather make you angry and have you do the dirty work and end the relationship instead.
Dating is not marriage and the level of commitment is not the same. But it does require honesty from both parties and so if the relationship transitions where one or both of you are unhappy then it’s time to say goodbye with integrity and move on to exploring other relationship options with new people.
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