It is my contention that we are currently living in a Relationship Revolution. It is the significant advances in technology that has forced individuals and organizations to re-define and re-consider what we deem as a relationship. Therefore, in response, we are then forced to re-define, re-consider, evaluate and determine what is considered cheating in a marriage.
Yesterday, 6/11/11 on 96.9 Boston Talks – The Joe and Huggy Show, I disclosed to the listeners my theory on why the public is so fascinated by and why all of the radio and television stations are talking about; The Weiner Scandal. I contend we are currently living in a Relationship Revolution. We may not consciously recognize this is what is happening and rather just think we find this topic fascinating because it is a scandal. I believe our fascination goes far beyond that it is a scandal and am interested in placing what is within the subconscious mind or perhaps not even in one’s consciousness, to become conscious and that is; we are living in a changing time.
The advancement of technology as it currently stands is a true paradigm shift which impacts how we as a culture view relationships. Our perception of ourselves and our relationships is being re-defined in this generation. Work relationships, friendships, the exchange of thoughts, ideas, things/items, and services are all interactions that the Internet allows for. We are indeed “talking” to someone on the other end as the use of technology for dialogue is not a diary as someone is “hearing” us.
This past week the topic of cyber relationships being considered cheating was a topic that I contributed to on FOX 25 News Boston live on air, FOX News Radio for a longer piece they are currently working on, 96.9 Boston Talks weekly afternoon programming with Doug Meehan, 96.9 Boston Talks The Joe and Huggy Show, and my blog. The timing of the release of Dr. Karen’s Marriage Manual is during a genuine relational changing time where couples are in true need of help. As I had shared in one of my previous blog entries and discussed on FOX 25 News Boston, according to the U.S. Census Bureau married couples are considered in the minority at 48% for the first time in U.S. history. It is my contention that there are more that are not “married”, just not legally documented as no longer married. There are far too many couples that are separated and living separately as well as couples that live in the same home in separate rooms.
I am sharing that we are living in a changing time with regards to relationships, and unless we are mindfully aware, truly cognizant of the changes that are happening within our selves and in our interactions with others, changes will happen without our conscious and mindful awareness of the role we are playing in its contribution and we may not like the results/what we see. In front of us right now is a disturbing statistic regarding marriage. In front of us there are far too many not recognizing the long term ramifications if we are not mindful of the negative affect that cyber relationships has on the future of the definition of relationships, what is considered cheating, the mental health of individuals, and the health and well being of the marital unit and the family dynamic. Therefore, I am making it a point to share my insights so we as a culture can be cognitively aware of what we are doing, the choices we are making, and our opinion about cyber relationships.
The further we as a culture stretch our opinion of what is considered cheating versus not, what is appropriate versus what is not, the more leniency we as a cultural philosophically believe, the smaller our moral grounding becomes—- the less connected we are with those we yearn to connect with the most (i.e., our in-the-flesh relationships). This then leads us to feel a void within, a lack of relational connection that we are longing for. The irony; we then try to further connect through the means of technology to fill the void that we are so searching for and/or utilize technology as a means of escapism from the intensity of our daily lives to feel free to release and connect in a forum that holds no expectations, in contrast to our in-the-flesh relationships.
The more we connect with others through technology the larger our cyber relationship muscle becomes and the smaller our in-the-flesh relationship muscle becomes. There is much greatness and true benefits from technology, hence why I am an advocate of the use of technology. The point is to use technology wisely and be mindful of the relationships we form, how it affects our own individual self, and how it affects our in-the-flesh relationships. A healthy balance of all forms of our relationships combined with honesty with our selves and others is the key to successfully navigating through and living in this relationship revolution.
There many different forms of cyber relationships, many different kinds of opportunities to have a relationship within the cyber world. Some of which include; chat rooms, email, texting, sexting, social media websites (i.e., Facebook, twitter). All of these ways upon which a person can interact with another, connect with another, communicate with another, express one’s self to another which is an interactional exchange as someone is on the receiving end which is thus a relational interaction and thereby a relationship. Whether it is with pictures and/or typed words, the more we as a culture become more and more accepting and stretch our barometer of acceptance, the more people cross over the line of what was once deemed inappropriate to view one’s and other’s behaviors of appropriate. It is this very cross over that then becomes the new norm leading to more of a cross over which then becomes the new norm. Let us be mindful as a society what we are deciding is the new norm.
Currently as a culture we are on a journey of defining what is a; cyber relationship, and within that, what is considered appropriate versus inappropriate, and what is cheating versus flirting. It is our very judgments that will determine how we live now and what becomes of our next generation. Therefore, let us make wise decisions about our definitions and opinions, as what we decide today shall indeed affect our tomorrow and our children’s future tomorrows.
When comparing a cyber relationship to an in-the-flesh relationship do be mindful of the fact that they are both relationships, as they are both relational, interactional, and you do feel emotionally, mentally, and/or physically even if it is not in-the-flesh.
Ask yourself; Would I do what I am doing, type what I am typing, if my spouse were sitting here next to me and looking at what I am doing? This self question is a helpful litmus test to evaluate whether what you are doing is crossing over the line from appropriate to inappropriate. Cheating is lying which is a betrayal of the marriage as an entity, the marital unit as a being in and of itself, as well as a betrayal to your spouse as an individual, as well as injurious of one’s own self-identity.
We all have urges and fantasies. It is healthy to. We have an opportunity every day to either act on these urges or not. We do not have to be impulsive, we have choices. The moment we stop considering how our choices are interconnected to our spouse is the moment we have become an animal. Yes, you “heard” me, an animal. Urges, impulses, fantasies, are not wrong – it is how we play them out that can be deemed as wrong, inappropriate, and other negatives. We can control our impulses if we choose to. We will not choose to control a particular impulse if we do not consider acting on a particular impulse as wrong. Thus we must consciously decide how to interact in a cyber relationship, what is acceptable versus what is not. Therefore, first we must consider what our philosophy of interaction is. That will determine our actions. The mind, one’s thoughts and opinions is the start of what is to come, as it is our thoughts that come first which leads to one’s behavioral actions. Thus, choose to be mindful of what your opinion is as well as your spouse’s opinion. It is when we stop thinking, it is if we do not choose to place into our conscious thought what our stance is that then we act on impulse and that often leads us and those we love down a path of hurt.