You couldn't possibly imagine what was going through my mind when I popped on Facebook two days ago, and was greeted by an image of a woman in bed with a man and the most appalling message I have ever seen, and hope to never see again. She wanted to inform her lover's wife that she has been having sex with her husband "unprotected" -- and he knew that she was HIV positive.
The image had been shared over a thousand times, and I am sure is still being shared. Sadly, this is not the first post of this kind that I have seen on Facebook -- they are popular on Instagram, as well. It made my stomach turn, and just thinking about it still upsets me as I can only imagine what his wife is going through at this moment. Not only has she been publicly humiliated by her husband's cheating, but she must now worry about the very real possibility of having contracted HIV.
The Birth of the E-Affairs
Thanks to social media, cheating has never been easier. Simply create a Facebook profile and you can connect with anyone that you want. I have read an abundance of articles warning couples to stay off social media if they would like to protect their marriages, and understandably, many of my married friends have disconnected from Facebook. I have had to console many friends after the discovery of heartbreaking conversations between their spouses and the Facebook friend of the week.
No marriage is perfect, it will not always be "rainbows and butterflies"; it takes work to keep a marriage going. It takes humility, sacrifice, and a lot of energy. But when there are so many people ready to swoop in and make themselves available to your spouse with the simple click of a button, it almost feels like it is an impossible undertaking.
I cannot imagine disconnecting myself completely from the Internet, nor would I feel comfortable asking my husband to do so. Although he visits his Facebook page once a month, and has given me his password and vice versa, I don't feel the need to check in on him, and that is how it should be.
Instead, we prefer to use one rule: Don't do or say anything that you wouldn't feel comfortable doing or saying if the other was standing right there. It is a methodology that has worked well for us.
Do you and your spouse have a social media agreement?
Does he know what you do or do not feel comfortable with regarding social media?
The Mistress Empowerment Movement
Although I have not experienced an affair in my marriage, I think that what would hurt the most would be the power that is given to the "other woman." The power to humiliate, to crush me, and to have influence in the life of the man I love so much. That would hurt more than anything, which is why every time I see a message or image shared by a mistress on social media, my heart aches for the wife.
It also breaks my heart that another woman can feel so comfortable, stepping in and shaking up the life of another woman. During my single days, this was always the one thing that kept me from sleeping with a married man.
The key to protecting your marriage from the E-Mistress is not worrying yourself into an early death, or stalking your husband's online activities in order to ensure that he is not connecting with other women. The solution may actually shock you, but it is the only one that allows you to keep your sanity.
Making it Work Despite...
Unfortunately, as wonderful as the constant development of technology is, it has its downfalls too, and this is one that irks me. The solution is communication within the marriage and trying not to let challenges affect my marriage adversely. One thing I have grown to understand in the last three years of my marriage is all I can do is focus on myself. Instead of spending time thinking about what could be, and things that I have no control over (such as what my hubby does when he walks out the door), I should focus on what I can control.
I make my husband and marriage a priority, despite my busy schedule as a working mom with a full-time business and four children. It can be hard to keep everyone in my life satisfied, but making sure that my husband's needs and wants are taken care of is top of the list, not because I want to keep him from straying, but because I love him, and he does the same for me.
The power is not handed over to the other woman when she clicks the mouse. It is when we stop connecting with the man in our life, when we stop listening to what he has to say, and when we stop striving to be a good wife and person.
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Originally Published: The Indie Chicks