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HAS TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIAL MEDIA MADE US ALL CHEATERS?

On Friday, we were introduced to the latest single ‘Rain On Me’ from Lady Gaga [VIDEO BELOW], this time featuring the talented powerhouse vocalist Ariana Grande. If we forget the fact that it makes me want to dance around the kitchen in my marigolds like no one is watching, the track actually has some deep messages about coping with heartbreak and finding the silver lining in what seems like some very dark days.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced heartbreak in one form or another, and the truth is, it’s one of the most painful things you’ll go through, and there is no quick fix to feeling better. That being said, it can and will get better; you just have to ride the wave or as Gagas says ‘let the rain come down’. So why am I telling you this I hear you ask? I recently found out a friend of mine who has been with his husband for 4 years, is suffering at the vice like grip of heartbreak.

‘we’ve all experienced heartbreak in one form or another, and the truth is, it’s one of the most painful things you’ll go through’

After 4 years of being together, my friend came home to find his husband, pants down, with a younger guy in the back of their car behind their apartment. The story unfolded and the husband had been actively using Grindr (a gay dating app for those of you who may not be familiar), telling younger guys he was single and ‘ready to mingle’ as it were, and my friend is pretty sure there have been quite a few guys. Who knows how long this has been going on for, but lockdown proved to be a perfect opportunity to meet, especially as my friend is a key worker in a hospital so spends a lot of time at work.

So this got me thinking, if we remove dating apps and social media sites, would this make cheating harder and therefore, would people still bother? Has technology and our on-going search for ‘ultimate convenience’ made the thought of having a sexting session, quickie with a stranger, digital double-life, or full blown affair, too tempting? Cheating has always been around and you can find ways to do it by just walking out the door if you wanted to, but have we found ways of doing it with minimal risk? If we think about it, aren’t we all guilty of succumbing to the excitement of being perceived as someone that actually we aren’t? After all, we can be anyone we want to be online, I once famously said that we are all editors of our own lives, and we can choose exactly what we want people to see, and what they don’t, both on and offline. So has any flirtatious DM on Instagram, or comment on some faraway models profile, put us in jeopardy of being guilty of lusting after someone other than the love of our lives?

‘have we found ways of doing it with minimal risk?’

In all honesty, there is no right or wrong answer to this, it all depends on your own perception and what you consider to be right and wrong. For example, I believe in monogamy, and that goes beyond the physical. I want to share everything with my partner and for them to share everything with me (apart from food, as there have to be exceptions to the rule haha). That being said, I’m not unreasonable, and I know we all enjoy a little flirt from time to time, so that does not threaten me, but we both know the boundaries. Neither of us would ever take that step beyond into what could be seen as cheating, we both agreed to remove all dating apps from our phones when we got serious, and so we have both discussed and agreed what is considered reasonable behaviour. But what works for us, probably won’t work for everyone. What if you want to engage with others, but you still love your other half?

Some are very happy to have open relationships or even use apps and sites to explore sexual fantasies as a couple – and there is no judgement here as everyone is free to do as they wish as long as it makes everyone involved happy – it’s all about communication, as long as nothing is hidden from one another and you both agree with your arrangement, then there can’t be any hard feelings further down the line. Some people also have a bit of an addiction to having a dirty secret that no one else knows about, and in a lot of ways there’s nothing wrong with that so long as the secret wouldn’t potentially cause someone hurt or harm, I’m sure I speak for lots of us when I say that I’d be devastated if I learned my other half was asking someone else for things that I can and will provide for them, again, it’s all about communication and the agreements you have in place.

‘it doesn’t matter how many passcodes and private folders you set up on your phone or laptop, the truth eventually always comes out’

In my opinion, the use of apps and social media has become a bit of an addiction in society, with too many people turning to them to play out their ‘second lives’ and thinking that no one will find out (especially when the apps in question can provide you with options to change the app icon, basically hiding it from view), but the truth is, it doesn’t matter how many passcodes and private folders you set up on your phone or laptop, the truth eventually always comes out. A British study in 2014 revealed that Facebook alone was cited in a third of U.K separation cases, not surprising when the average user on Facebook spends 50 minutes a day on the platform.

So are we trapped in a world of cheaters and liars that harness technology to play out their deepest desires? Will we all one day have to dub Gagas new single as our on-going anthem for life? I certainly hope not (although if you want to dub it your anthem for life, I wouldn’t blame you as it’s a banger!)! I know plenty of people who are very happy together and are highly unlikely to want to love anyone else. Even I found a good guy after years of searching, and he’s given me the world, and don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t always been plain sailing, getting to know someone inside and out is sometimes challenging, but when you love someone, the pay out is worth it. So don’t become disheartened, technology isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, we have to find ways to live with it, and we need to have faith that our significant others will find ways to live with (or without) it also. So it isn’t all doom and gloom, but if you do find yourself trapped in a digital drama, heed Gaga and Arianas lyrics ‘Livin’ in a world where no one’s innocent, Oh, but at least we try…’

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