At least one expert thinks so. Dr. Ian Kerner is a marriage and family therapist and a contributor to the Today Show. He believes that emotional infidelity is one of the biggest issues that couples face today – and the Internet is a big factor of this. Why? Because it makes flirting, or meeting someone new so easy. So, while snooping on your spouse online isn’t a pleasant choice – he says that sometimes it’s the right choice.
Emotional infidelity often takes the form of a flirty friendship with someone, and it can have a lot of the characteristics of a face-to-face relationship, just without the face-to-face aspect. At least, not at first. The late Shirley Glass wrote a breakthrough book on the subject called Not Just Friends. In it, she described emotional affairs this way – they’re characterized by secrecy, emotional intimacy and hormones running amok. Emotional affairs can be more threatening than physical ones, because they create stronger bonds, and often, it’s only a matter of time before they move to the next level.
The number-one danger of Internet infidelity is that it easily diverts your attention away from your core relationship. With all the different social networks and chat rooms available, the Internet enables us to easily tune-out our partners, when we should be making an effort to tune-in to them. So, when your gut is telling you that something’s wrong, Kerner says snooping should be allowed. After all, if you’re in a committed relationship, there should be nothing to hide. Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t respect your partner’s privacy, but Kerner believes that respect - first and foremost - demands a foundation of trust. He says he has one password for his various email accounts, and his wife knows what it is. He doubts that she uses it, but says she’s welcome to sift through his emails and check his social networks anytime she likes. That’s what trust is all about: having nothing to hide, and being able to respect each other’s privacy. One can’t exist without the other.