While most of us will be having lots of wholesome fun during
the Christmas season, there will be some who will be causing
damage to relationships and creating great emotional pain to
others with the use of digital equipment—cell phones. One
of the fastest growing methods of causing strife in
relationships is texting or text messaging. That is the
use of cell phones or online messengers to transmit secret,
sexual, romantic messages to someone you are not married to
or not in a relationship with. When the Blackberry was
first introduced, there was a surge in the number of couples
who accessed marital therapy in the Bahamas and in many
other countries. Why? Because a spouse would have
discovered, after probing his or her partner’s cell phone,
intimate messages to or from a stranger. These messages
often caused heated debates between spouses whether or not
the partner was cheating of chatting. A question often
asked was: “Why are you saying those things to that person
and you have never said them to me?”
many of today’s relationship are on a fast track to
destruction. Relationship specialist, Dr Sheri Meyers, in
her book “Chatting or Cheating: How to detect infidelity,
rebuild love, and affair proof your marriage” states
that “It used to take a long time for affairs to develop.
Not anymore. With the advent of social media and technology
at our fingertips 24/7, the pathway to cheating is fast and
practically unobstructed. It is easier than ever to meet
others, stay constantly (and secretly) in contact, get
intimate and cheat on our partners.” It is my observation
that this phenomenon is occurring in the Bahamas and the
have stated in many of my previous articles, most affairs do
not start with deliberate, intentional acts. They move
progressively slowly down to a precipice of pain and
misery. The difference today is the “slow” journey has
gotten faster—very fast. Traditionally affairs started face
to face with “innocent friendship” until it mushroomed into
a heated, passionate encounter. However, many individuals
today, with the use of cell phones, online messaging, and
emails are secretly diving quickly into intimate sharing.
The practice of openness and honesty has lost its meaning
in many relationships. Some individuals try to keep their
secret love affair hidden as long as possible thinking no
one would ever find out. It seems to be a real fantasy
world that offers some form of satisfaction, although
unreal, to the participants. The defense phrase by many is
“we are only friends.”
AVOID THE TRAP
an emotional need goes unmet, the marriage is vulnerable to
an affair. Sadly, too many people are not even aware that
their needs are not being met. Yes, that is true. Others
are aware and have been complaining for years, but the other
partner would not listen. Therefore the romantically
starved partner may innocently seek a listening ear or
someone who seems caring and understanding. Unknowingly,
the affair begins. Here is my definition of an affair.
“Whenever you say or do something to someone other than your
spouse that you should first say or do to your spouse
or only say
or do to your spouse, you are either having an affair or
you are at risk of having one.” It is a slippery slope and
cyber technology has made it easier and faster. Avoid this
HOW TO TELL IF YOU ARE ABOUT TO CHEAT ON YOUR SPOUSE
following tips are shared by Dr. Sheri Meyers and I thought
would be beneficial to share. She indicates that the key to
tell if you or your spouse is “chatting or cheating” is
whether the three points are present: shared intimacy,
secrecy and exclusion, or sexual chemistry. Read carefully
the following quiz by
Meyers and see if you are cheating or chatting.
Are you exchanging personal, intimate, and confidential
information (and/or had offline contact) with an online
"friend" that your partner doesn't know about?
Are you giving more and more time, attention and
emotional support to your "friend" and less to your
partner at home?
Are you beginning to emotionally or physically withdraw
from your partner, preferring to spend time away,
online, talking or texting with your "friend" vs.
connecting with your partner?
Are you constantly checking to see if your "friend" has
made contact and/or are continually trying to come up
with ways to connect and have contact?
Are you feeling high and happy when connected with your
"friend" and low and lonely when you've been
disconnected for too long?
Secrecy & Exclusion
Are you hiding your correspondence with your "friend"
from your partner?
Are you becoming secretive or evasive about your
activities, changing your passwords, getting new
anonymous email addresses, setting up fake profiles,
joining a dating or cheating hook-up site?
Are you avoiding getting into serious conversations with
Are you pretending you're single when you're not?
Are you spending a large amount of time (in person or
online) talking, sharing, confiding with your friend and
not telling your partner about it? Or worse, lying about
who you are with?
Are you finding yourself sexually and/or emotionally
aroused when you think about or have contact with your
Are you sending or receiving flirtatious or sexy emails,
texts, photos or videos?
Are you doing anything sexual using your webcam (or your
imagination)? Having sexy chats? Sharing your sexual
fantasies? Masturbating and/or mutually masturbating?
Are you imagining you are in bed with your "friend,"
while making love with your partner?
Are you feeling cold when it comes to having sex with
your partner? More interested in reading a book,
Facebooking, watching TV, or talking to your "friend"
then making love with your partner?
you answered yes to any of these statements, you should be
aware that you are cheating and you need to quickly make a
change in your behaviour. I encourage you to purchase the
book mentioned in this article by Dr. Sheri Meyers. It
will change your life. Have a very merry Christmas.
Barrington Brennen is a marriage and family therapist. Send
your questions or comments to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The
Bahamas; or call 1-242-327-1980, or email
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit