‘Friending’ Your Ex on Social Media Could Doom Your Current Relationship

This Valentine’s Day, you’re likely doing one of two things: Celebrating the success of your present relationship, or ignoring the fact that you aren’t in one. (Both of these are fine positions to be in on a consumer holiday such as this one!) Regardless of where you’re at on the commitment spectrum, a new study has some solid advice for anyone using social media: Don’t “friend” your ex.

Joyce Baptist, a Kansas State University marriage and family therapy associate professor, found that crossing relationship boundaries online can cause serious damage. In a study of nearly 7,000 couples who use social media, Baptist found that for couples in which one or both partners communicated with someone they find physically attractive online, which she labeled “boundary crossing,” the more damage can be done to the relationship.

But before you go trolling your SO’s Facebook account for evidence of shady behavior, the study says there’s a difference between “boundary crossing” and what Baptist calls “boundary violation.”

A crossing is when a partner brushes a proverbial guard rail, possibly by having platonic but frequent contact with another individual he or she finds attractive. Boundary violation, on the other hand, may be emotional or physical infidelity, Baptist says.

Without an honest conversation outlining these “guard rails,” or what both partners feel is or isn’t appropriate behavior online, then someone can easily have their feelings hurt by what their partner does on social media. Furthermore, the study found that while some people accepted that their partner interacted or flirted with an ex online, it didn’t necessarily mean they were cool with it.

“Although they may say, ‘I trust you and it’s OK,’ they are not happy about it,” Baptist said. “They eventually perceive that their significant other is spending too much time connecting with others on social media rather than paying attention to their own partner.”

And that perceived threat may not be so innocent after all. “Keeping lines of communication open with former significant others can become a slippery slope,” the study found, “because relationships naturally have peaks and valleys. During a relationship’s lower points, a person may be tempted to confide in a previous partner.”

So what’s the best way to ensure your partner isn’t harboring some kind of grudge about you liking your ex’s Facebook status? Use your words. Describe what you’re comfortable with rather than what you’ll merely put up with. According to the study, Baptist says “couples ought to share not only what they are willing to tolerate but also what they would prefer so the couple can create a secure and satisfying relationship.”

The Science Of Cheating: Why Ashley Madison Had So Many Customers

The Ashley Madison hack has revealed the millions of cheating spouses who engage in online trysts, which prompts the question—why do we cheat?

Science has a slew of answers. Husbands are more likely to cheat if they have deep, booming voices. Wives are more likely to fool around if they fake orgasms or have husbands with large penises (you can’t make this stuff up). And, of course, there’s an infidelity gene (because there’s always a gene).

Between 20 and 40 percent of heterosexual Americans cheat on their spouses at least once. Men cheat more often than women, and 60 percent of Americans admit to “mate poaching” or trying to seduce someone else who is already in a committed relationship (known to the rest of us as “home-wrecking”). Infidelity statistics actually haven’t changed much in the past century. Even in the 1920s, long before Ashley Madison made cheating convenient, 25 to 30 percent of the population found a way to engage in extramarital affairs.

Meanwhile, scientists have been trying to figure out why. One of the most thorough takes on the science behind our urge to cheat is a 57-page literature review by anthropologist Helen Fisher, which dives into the biological and sociological reasons for having an affair.

It’s A Balance Thing

Imbalance of power within the relationship is often to blame, Fisher writes. One 1976 study found that wives who typically win arguments with their husbands are more likely to cheat. Other studies have shown that men are more likely to cheat if they believe their wives are less desirable than they are. These all play into the notion that cheating is more likely to happen when a husband and wife do not see themselves as equal partners in the relationship.

Income, education and religion may also influence whether or not we cheat. One 2001 study found that higher-income families cheat more often, and surmised that poor families tend to understand the emotional (and financial) value of sticking together. When it comes to education, however, the data is less clear. Some studies suggest highly educated women are more likely to cheat on less educated men, but subsequent research has called those findings into question. As for religion, it appears that people who attend religious services are less likely to be unfaithful—but that trend only holds for African Americans and Hispanic Americans. Caucasians, it seems, are less inspired by religion, and cheat even after attending services.

How Do Cheaters Sleep At Night?

With other people, clearly, but how do they live with themselves? Science has an answer for that, too.

Studies have shown that cheaters are able to clear their consciences by convincing themselves that their minor (or major) indiscretions are not representative of who they truly are. For a paper published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, participants were asked to recall how they may have harmlessly flirted with other people while in a committed relationship. Then, scientists lied to several participants and told them that those minor flirtations were especially unethical when compared with the rest of the group. Those participants first told researchers that they felt bad, but later began to downplay their unfaithful behavior and stress that it did not represent them.

Because whether you cheat because you’re rich, highly educated, have a deep voice or fake orgasms, one thing seems abundantly clear—it’s never your fault, and there’s a perfectly good explanation. Just ask the millions of Ashley Madison users now scrambling for advice on how to face their spouses.

3 Scientific Reasons We Are Psychologically Programmed To Cheat On Our Partners

There are many romantic things about monogamy. Having one person who knows you inside and out for the rest of your life is a beautiful thought. And relying on only one person makes life a lot simpler.

But how natural is monogamy?

There are many romantic things about monogamy. Having one person who knows you inside and out for the rest of your life is a beautiful thought. And relying on only one person makes life a lot simpler.

But how natural is monogamy?

Well, according to science: it’s not — and these three reasons are to blame.

1. Men And Women Lose Interest In Sex Over Time.

For ladies, the lovin’ usually goes out the door. You may try to spice things up with lingerie or toys but science shows women aren’t designed for long-term desire. Research has found that women tend to go from having passionate love to compassionate love over time, meaning the relationship turns into more of a platonic friendship.

Psychology Today found that men’s sex drives suffer in monogamous relationships. One reason being that conflict in the relationship tends to hinder sex. However, when a man finds a new partner, sexual excitement returns.

2. Monogamy Kills Women’s Best Years Of Sex.

You’ve probably heard before but men’s sex drive is in its prime in their 20s whereas women hit it in their 30s and 40s. Furthermore, science has found that women who are in relationships throughout these prime years report low sexual desire when in reality, these are the years they should be having the best sex of their lives!

3. We Naturally Want To Cheat.

According to the National Science Foundation, only three to five percent of mammals are monogamous. Studies have found that sexual monogamy also relies on hormones and receptors that the brain releases. Humans’ receptors vary from person-to-person resulting in some people leaning more towards polyamory than others. So if your partner has cheated, he might just not be cut out for monogamy. But don’t worry — he probably still loves you.